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Sahel Crisis: It Matters to Me, I Hope it Matters to You

Posted by Sara Cowan Campaigns and Activism Co-ordinator

8th Jun 2012

Oxfam has just launched an urgent campaign action in response to the Sahel crisis. We only do this occasionally when there is a situation where peoples' lives are at risk and where there is an opportunity for us in the UK to influence how our government responds. This time the action is closer to home for me than usual.

I spent two years living and working in The Gambia, West Africa. I also travelled through Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso. During my time campaigning with Oxfam Scotland some of our campaign topics have been too close for comfort to the issues faced by my friends over there.  The current urgent action is one of them.

Many people in The Gambia work hard to earn a living and to grow enough food to eat. There is a reliance on the land, and the weather, to ensure a steady food supply. You know what season it is by the fruit in the market and, coming from Glasgow, I never quite got used to the fact that for the majority of the year you could confidently leave the house without worrying about being rained on - but that's not necessarily a good thing. Even during the good times, some lived close to the margins of whether they had enough food to feed themselves and their family.

Since I left The Gambia there have been several years of erratic rains, increasing food prices and meagre harvests.  Across the Sahel region a crisis is growing, but this crisis doesn't have to mean pictures of starving children on our TV screens. Not if we act now.

There is a chance to change the course of this crisis, a window of opportunity, and we can be part of it. Our Government can take action but we need to tell them that this issue matters to us.

It matters to me, and I hope it matters to you.

Take the action

Read the press release: "UK Government must pay 'Fair Share' for Sahel"

Blog post written by Sara Cowan

Campaigns and Activism Co-ordinator

More by Sara Cowan