In Senegal, and in much of Africa, every year there is a season that we do not experience. It is the time in between when last year's food supply runs low and there are still several months to wait for the next harvest. The Hungry Season. In many rural villages, families are reduced to one meal a day, some not even that. This hardship goes largely unnoticed because it is not a widespread famine like the kind you see on the evening news. It is just a slow, gnawing, debilitating hunger that robs people of their energy and strength at the hottest time of year, and makes young children especially susceptible to disease and vitamin deficiency that will affect their development for the rest of their lives.
In the areas of Senegal where we work, this is a fact of life this year. Last year's harvest was not great and farmers did not receive a good price for their crops, resulting in almost empty storehouses and no ready cash for emergencies.
We consulted with our local partners about what Andando could do to help. Teachers at local village schols were consulted and they identified around sixty families that were particularly needy. Each of these families received 50 kg of rice which will help see them through until harvest time. Fortunately the rains have been plentiful and this year's harvest looks more promising. In another area we work in, the local church is coordinating a food distribution for us.
The lack of food security in Senegal is an ongoing problem. We at Andando hope we can be a small part of the solution. We are working at creating an environment in rural villages where people have enhanced abilty to grow their own food, through micro lending, water security and education. There are no quick solutions, but village by village we hope to make a small difference along the way.