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How can an individual help fight the current food crisis in East Africa?

The worst drought in 60 years puts 10 million East Africans at risk of starvation[1]. How can an individual best help fight this crisis? Is donating money to the World Food Program the quickest and most cost effective way an individual can help here? Or are there any other organisations that are better to donate to at this moment.

Would it help to try to get people to repost these two background stories [2], [3] and this link to the WFP donation page [4] on facebook, twitter, and blogs?

Share your thoughts.

[1] http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/07/08/east.africa.hunger/index.html?iref=allsearch
[2] http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/inpictures/2011/07/2011781567358646.html
[3] http://blogs.aljazeera.net/africa/2011/07/08/inside-worlds-biggest-refugee-camp
[4] https://www.wfp.org/donate/hoa_banners

Edit: A facebook page has been created to help spread awarness of the situation, "like" and "share" it:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Horn-of-Africa-food-crisis-2011/146663032074810?ref=ts

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  • Jul 29 2011: Interestingly, none Africans suggesting solutions to problems they don't understand, so let's start there. The issues of hunger, inferior healthcare, education etc in Africa stem from broken government systems. Most African countries are plagued with poor infrastructure / amenities that are critical in efficient trade, education, and all essential functions of a sustainable society. The people you see on TV, especially kids are purely victims of a broken system. Chances are, you wouldn't be in any better shape if you were born in such conditions of dire poverty, so let's not draw swords and claim it's wiser to let 'them' learn by dying out of hunger. This could be you. If we can keep this simple human element in our quest for solutions, we'll stay on track.
    How do we help them , armed with a better understanding of the history/ nature of these issues? Well, for those who still have compassion, we have to take time and research. I find that smaller NGO groups are more reliable. Look up by country, then by town. Ask your african co workers, friends, etc about how we send help down to our villages. We are everywhere in the world. If you really want to help, please grease up your compassion elbows and look a little further. technology is a great tool to create awareness too. Thanks all for showing concern over our continent of Africa.
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      Jul 29 2011: Thank you very much for trying to explain the background Chris! Would you like to expand on it, maybe you can link to some background material?
    • Aug 1 2011: Chris, I do agree very much (see my previous comment) that the root cause of poverty in Africa is bad governance. It is inexcusable that a continent with so much natural resource could be so poor. As an Ethiopian I know that the country has an incredible amount of water resource (80% of the water Egypt gets comes directly from Ethiopia, the source of the Blue Nile). However we have been cursed with the most brutal, corrupt and inefficient governments, including the current one. No amount of foreign aid will fix that country as long as we have the current mafia style thugs in power. Of course you can not watch people starve. In the short term I do absolutely support providing food aid directly to the affected people, and if WFP can deliver aid directly to the people then it should be supported as SHORT-TERM relief. However a line needs to be drawn in the sand that starting NOW, there will be zero tolerance for corrupt and brutal dictatorship and this is where the real work is and where the focus should be. Compassionate people in the West can do the most good by working with their local elected officials to put a stop to hundreds of millions of dollars that are sent with no accountability to these petty dictators that abuse their own people. US and European tax payer money has kept the current unelected (they won 99.6% of the votes in the last "election") dictator in power for 20 years and he is destroying the country. In return he pledges his support on the "War Against Terror" and in the meantime he is destroying a nation of 80 million. I think friends in the West are more effective lobbying their governments against such aid than in seeking out and helping villages in Africa. Africans themselves (both in Africa and living in the West) should be doing the work to organize themselves to find and help such villages
      • Aug 1 2011: I especially underscore the significance of what I call a form of post-colonialism ie developed governments continue to collaborate with these dictator style African presidents and leaders in the name of maintaining 'world peace' which in a large way perpetuates the issues they turn around and spend billions of tax payer dollars to curb. If a zero tolerance policy was adopted by the West, these corrupt, inefficient leaders would not last as long.
        This 'silent' support to corrupt African leaders must stop in order for the root of these symptoms we are fighting to be truly eradicated. I am not convinced that this post colonialism is an unknown problem. It is very well structured and an intentional strategy by developed governments , only adding to the complexity of these issues.
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          Aug 3 2011: Which African countries do you reffer to? Which countries need to be put much more preassure on, and how?
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        Aug 3 2011: Do you have any idea about how corruption could be countered? If I remember correctly I once read or listened to Paul Collier who described an effective policy once applied in Uganda. The minister of education decided to counter corruption by anouncing in the local news papers how much money each school would get. This meant that the middle hands not could get away with taking some of the money for themself. Do you have any similar proposals for how corruption could be countered?
      • Aug 10 2011: what about people putting names of corrupt officials and their actions on twitter? Since the problem is the governments, perhaps there arent that many like that minister of education.
        THe more transparency the better
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          Aug 10 2011: This may be a good idea. I am a little concerned that innocent people easily could be targeted just because of suspicions though. But it's an idea worth thinking of.

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