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Self Help Africa

Self Help Africa works with rural communities to help them improve their farms and their livelihoods.

Its mission is to empower rural Africa to achieve economic independence - and on a continent where up to 75% of people rely on small-scale agriculture for their survival, Self Help believes that it is only by tackling the challenges faced by rural farming communities that real and sustained economic progress can be made across sub-Saharan Africa.

For more than 25 years, Self Help has sought to strengthen agricultural systems, improve access to services and inputs, and provide rural African communities with the opportunities to market and sell their produce.

Self Help works with local staff and partners in nine countries, supporting communities to grow more food, diversify their farm production, develop new off-farm enterprise, and sell their surpluses.

It supports rural micro-finance programmes, assist producers to organise into farmers associations and co-operatives, enable farm families to access markets and add value to their produce, and promote low-cost sustainable solutions to the management of natural resources, to community adaption to a changing climate, and to the challenges of gender inequality.

Self Help Africa is also committed to advocating in support of the interests of African smallholder farmers, to ensure that there is a long-term commitment to aid and investment, to ensure the sustainable development of agriculture and food production in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa.

What is happening in East Africa?

385,000 children in Kenya alone are malnourished. 385,000 children are starving to death. 385,000 children could die because they do not have anything to eat. 12 million people in the Horn of Africa need food aid. 12 million people are hungry and about to begin to starve. Numbers shock and are invariably emotive. They can sadden and anger, fill you with energy and fill you with a sense of futility. Sadly, however, such figures often overwhelm.

What's the point? It is only by removing the deluge of figures that reality is visible. A child will today spend his last few hours on earth in agony as his tiny body consumes itself. He will die because he has no food. Drought, war, political corruption and disease may help bring about this day but, in the end, a child will die because they have nothing to eat.

You truly can help. There is no silver bullet that will right these wrongs overnight, but apathy will surely make this present the future. Know your principles, do your research to find people and organisations who share these principles and then get involved. We believe strongly in the ethics and principles of our partner, Self Help Africa, and would encourage you to show your support by supporting this expedition or in any other way you can.

Why is this happening now?

Drought and other difficult weather conditions in many of the affected countries have resulted in low harvests, thus the price of food has increased dramatically.

The debilitating impact of HIV/AIDS, which leaves those infected less able to stave off the ravages of hunger and weakens local farming systems by killing off millions of Africa's most productive farmers.

Armed conflict or political strife have caused people to flee their homes and farms further increasing the demand for food.

Inadequate economic policies, particularly in agriculture, which in many affected countries have brought too little investment in farming inputs, rural infrastructure or essential social services — problems compounded by the poor prices African farm exports fetch on the world market.

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