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West Africa campaign success: Determination not dreams

21st Jun 2012

"The world is full of dreams that became a reality when people had the determination to make them so." These were the words of Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, on Monday as she addressed an urgent meeting on the Sahel food crisis. 

And determination was behind Oxfam supporters taking action over the last two weeks calling on the Government to increase the UK's response to the crisis.  You spoke, and the Government listened - first by increasing funding by £10 million and then on Tuesday by committing a further £5.4 million. This new funding, combined with UK aid channelled through the European Union, means the Government has now reached its fair share of the money desperately needed to respond to the crisis.  The sustained pressure shown by Oxfam supporters and the wider UK public made all the difference.     

The British public and UK Government have taken a stand, but we need governments around the world to do the same.  An international petition promoted by Avaaz, Oxfam, and Africans Act for Africa has so far been supported by over 400,000 people and we hope that it will soon reach one million.  When it does it will be delivered to urge and inspire international decision makers to further action.

We are almost half way there but the world must move faster to save lives in the Sahel

During Monday's international meeting the EU announced approximately an extra $50 million in aid for the Sahel.  The UN office for Humanitarian Affairs has increased the total appeal for the Sahel to $1.6 billion. These funds are desperately needed to provide immediate assistance to the 18.7 million people currently going hungry in the region. Right now that UN appeal is less than half funded. This is because, unlike the UK, several governments are not yet giving their fair share. We all need to keep the pressure up to make sure this crisis does not tip over into a catastrophe. 


Meeting immediate needs while investing in the long-term

The crisis in the Sahel is part of a wider food story that affects us all. While it is vital that the world respond to the suffering being felt right now by families in the region, the roots of this larger crisis must be confronted. We call the larger story GROW and it's at the heart of what we do. It highlights the need to invest in small-scale food producers and tackle rising food prices. We hope the success of this action will encourage you to get involved and join us as we work for a future where everyone always has enough to eat.

Supporters have taken action and the Government has listened.  It will take plenty of determination on a global level to build the future we want to see - but it is possible.