The Tragedy of African Famine: Why People are Starving and How You Can Help

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There are currently many regions in Africa that are suffering from famine, poverty, and drought. While these things may not be new, they’ve reached such a horrifying scale that they’re no longer considered localized disasters – the entire continent is affected, and countless people are dying every day. Let’s find out why this is happening, how you can help, and what Ubuntu Village plans to do to help stem the tide of this devastating crisis.

photo of a hungry and homeless man sleeping on the floor
Photo by Timur Weber on

Parts 1 & 2 – Overview

Africa is a continent fraught with poverty, drought, and famine. It’s hard to imagine that there’s enough food grown in Africa to feed the people who need it. But when you take a closer look at the situation, you’ll see that while there is plenty of food grown in Africa, it isn’t reaching the people who need it most. Some of the three hardest hit regions by drought- Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya- are some of Africa’s poorest countries. They rank 175th, with no accurate data, and 152nd out of 191 countries on the Human Development Index.

When these regions have high levels of poverty combined with low access to resources and unpredictable rainfall patterns (causing crop failures), they’re more vulnerable to hunger than other areas in Africa. These conditions make it difficult for families to have the stability needed to produce their own food, leading to even higher malnutrition rates. Read Part 5 for more information about how Ubuntu Village can help take a bite out of tragedies like these in parts of Africa!

Part 3 – Region by Region

According to the UN, 10% of the population in Southern Africa is starving. Even though South Africa has abundant food, it does not have enough money to distribute it. In Central Africa, the effects of civil wars have caused this region to be one of the hardest hit by famine, abject poverty, and drought. The UN says that 15% of the population there is going hungry. The next region on our list is East Africa, which includes Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. The World Food Program reports that 14 million people here are currently at risk of starvation from a combination of drought, disease (malnutrition), and conflict.

In West Africa, we find Burkina Faso as one of the worst-hit countries, with over 1 million people who will die if they don’t get immediate assistance due to extreme hunger and malnutrition. Chad also faces similar circumstances. Across sub-Saharan Africa, 24 million children under 5 years old suffer from stunted growth because their diet lacks key nutrients, such as protein and iron. Lack of clean water for mothers and babies is partly responsible for infant mortality rates three times higher than those in industrialized nations.

Part 4 – Solutions

One possible solution is to increase agricultural production. There are many ways to go about this, but the most successful method seems to be combining improved seeds with better fertilizer. This strategy has been applied all over Africa, with great success in countries like Ethiopia and Malawi.
Another potential solution is increasing food imports. But as this increases a country’s food bill, it will also lead to increased poverty rates unless the country can find a way to offset the cost or make up for it in other ways.

Part 5 – Media Coverage (including resources from Ubuntu Village)

Reporting on the famine in Africa is essential for bringing awareness to the problem, so we’ve compiled a list of the top articles written about these crises in the past below. We hope that by reading these, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about how best to help those in need. If you’re feeling helpless, there are many ways to help! One option is donating money – Ubuntu Village is a 501c3 Public Charity. We are on the ground in Kenya and Uganda. If you want to donate your time instead of money, consider volunteering!

Part 6 – Final Thoughts

Ubuntu Village is a platform that wants to make it easy for people like you to help feed the world. We’ve been working on this platform for six years. In that time, we’ve used our knowledge to create livelihoods for those who need it most – starting in Africa first – so that no one will ever go hungry again.-MM


Michele Mitchell Blog Writer for Ubuntu Village

Hi, I am Michele Mitchell, also known as Neftalia2017. I am the President and Founder of Ubuntu Village and the author of this blog post. I have been writing for ten years as a pastime.

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Ubuntu Village will be traveling to Africa soon and we would like to document this trip and any other trips taken in a blog format.

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