Photos and Text Samuel Hauenstein Swan – www.sambronx-photo.com
Part X of the Descendent of the Hyena Series. Full Story
Food aid has traditionally been the dominant form of assistance to people suffering from hunger. In the past decade, however, support in the form of cash transfers has become increasingly popular as an alternative to food aid, especially in Africa. The advantages of cash are many. Cash gives people more choices to the recipient than food, enabling them to meet a range of food and non-food needs, including health expenses, clothing, and – even in emergency situations – the purchase of livestock and other critical assets needed to build livelihoods. Herds small to big not only provide food directly, but they also guarantee an income flow, can act as a store of value enhancing risk-bearing capacity, and often have an inherent value linked to the status they confer to their owners. Farmers like Zara ideally invest there harvest surplus profit to gain animals which the resell if they face financial hardship, such as an illness, prolonged food deficit etc.
The nomadic communities around where Zara lives had once abundant and diverse herds. The “dry” years of the late 1980s and the first decade of the 21st century severely reduced the numbers and composition of the animals. Trying to recover in the aftermath of severe droughts is a long and tough process: buying young and healthy animals is beyond the means of all but the wealthiest. Losing their strong camels signifies diminishes the ability to move from place to place in search of water and pasture. In turns that result in heightened conflict between the villages and the nomads as the prolonged presence of animals and humans around limited water-points leads to increasing overgrazing, deforestation, and disputes over the usage of extensive plains.
Almost all evidence available highlighting positive effects of cash transfers, on livestock and inputs. The impacts on savings, ownership of animals were consistent highlighting positive results of giving distressed communities cash on hand at times of seasonal hunger.
Cash also has ‘multiplier effects’ in the economy: spending cash transfers will generate income and employment for others that not got the cash directly. Capital can help farmers protect their belongings and their production systems. prevent distress sales of animals and livelihood stimulate local food economies.
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Photo and Text: Samuel Hauenstein Swan http://www.sambronx-photo.com
Part III of the Descendent of the Hyena Story.
The vast majority of small-scale farmers in Subsaharan Africa depend on rain feed agriculture. Yet, around Zara’s village the rivers dry up, as soon they have swelled in the short rainy season, and water becomes scarce.
Most of the world’s economic weak families live in rural areas and work in agricultural and livestock economies. For these households, poverty, hunger and illness are highly dynamic phenomena, changing dramatically over the course of a year in response to production, price and climatic cycles.
As a result, most of the world’s acute hunger occurs not in conflicts and natural disasters but in that annually recurring time of the year called the ‘hunger season’, the period during the year when the previous year’s harvest stocks have dwindled, and little food is available on the market, causing prices to shoot upward.
Employment and economic opportunities are often scarce during the hunger season, and to make matters worse, in many countries this period usually coincides with the rainy season, when severe illnesses like malaria strike hardest.
Despite the importance of seasonal cycles throughout the rural developing world, development response is often homogeneous in type and amount throughout the year.
Seasonality is one of these leverage points. Interventions like pre-positioning nutrition and health resources, providing employment during the hunger period, and indexing benefits to prices will cost-effectively reduce poverty, hunger, child mortality and illness.
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Part II of the Descendent of the Hyena Story.
Photo and Text: Samuel Hauenstein Swan – www.SamBronx-Photo.com
The few months after harvest in September, are comfortable for the community of Guidan Koura. Food is readily available. The water holes are replenished and full. The time of plenty is short-lived
Zara’s husband is missing, from the picture, he is coming only for the short rainy season to help with the agricultural season and harvest. they all know there will not be sufficient work or food for all and he is leaving for the rest of the year to work in the faraway coastal countries the rest of the year.
Soon the supplies reduce, the mothers have to think of the months to come and start to ration. Orientate their thoughts to the long months ahead. Survival to Zara’s family will depend on her forward thinking and her ability to balance her household economy and care duties as a mother.
2005 was a terrible year the harvest was small, no one in the village had much grain. The social fabric of the community began to unravel; neighbours hid food from each other, knowing that dividing food into even smaller portions would mean starvation for all. Hunger drove them all mad. It was then when Zara’s big sister fell ill and died; she left two daughters to look after. With no food in the home and two more mouths to feed her second born boy fell behind. He too died during the 2005 hunger season.
Zara now calls three daughters and two boys, one born in 2007 her children.
Photo: Samuel Hauenstein Swan www.sambronx-photo.com
Malawi’s HIV epidemic remains generalised and feminised. Although the country has recorded a significant reduction in new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths; adolescent girls, young women and other key populations, particularly in urban areas, continue to bear the highest burden of the epidemic.
The HIV pandemic is worthing the poverty experienced by elderly. Orphans witnessing the death of one or both of their parents may be exhausted emotionally have no choice than turn to their grandmother and fathers for protection and upkeep. Not only does this increase the cost of running the households also the elderly grandparents must compensate for the loss labour on the frames for to the foreseeable future. The old have watched and grieved with dignity and dismay as one after another of their children died, leaving them without a traditional family support. ADIS left some families with only the old and the very young.
Malawi is a nation living in grief. Malawi’s communities are upholding human dignity and respect in circumstances that would daunt the most stout-hearted. Or as this woman told me the pandemic make everyone realises that strength lays in mutual community support and solidarity.
In 2016, Malawi had 36 000 (31 000 – 45 000) new HIV infections and 24 000 (20 000 – 31 000) AIDS-related deaths. There were 1 000 000 (970 000 – 1 100 000) people living with HIV in 2016, among whom 66% (62% – 70%) were accessing antiretroviral therapy. (UNAIDS 2017)
World Children Day
Today it is World Children Day lets give them what they most deserve dignity!
Behind each growing up child stands a loving mother, parents and the broader community, to give them the means to succeed.
Often I hear development for good change is about boosting agricultural technology, maximising value chain beyond the farm gate, better cash or food yields, etc. While I do not doubt any of these development focuses, first of all it is about sharing dignity throughout society. This must start with the weakest in society children.
This mother in Malawi told me how she has to struggle to manage her triple tasks: working on one of the large commercial tobacco farms for cash, tending to her plot of land for food and looking after her children’s needs.
Much of the commercial farmers produce nonfood items or maize destined for expert and getting foreign currency into its economy. This mother is no exception paid poorly the cash she earns is mostly drained for expenses such as transport, housing, schooling, health, and food. What she pays for full-time agrarian about is not nearly sufficent to feed the family. She as many smallholders has to cultivate on steep hillsides and other marginal lands, often with inadequate soil and water conservation, to substitute her purchased food from the mear day labor.
When her little boy fell ill with diarrhea, she had to make the impossible desition to drop either her wage labor or neglect her plot or both to tend her child and bring him to hospital. What should be the happy end to a worrying childhood disease quick moves on to the next concern, now she has missed a day at the commercial farm; her boss might have fired her meaning she lost her income.
Investing in peoples lives not merely a functioning of economic outcomes that results in growing exports and fancier technologies, but most of all must change the balance of social justice, hegemony and leading to dignity for all. No child should grow up in a household and community that is exploited to the great good of a few pushing the dignity of many in to second place
While choices in the political world are painted in shades of grey, the consequences of those decisions are often irreversibly black and white: the joy of a healthy childhood and family or the violence of poverty and hunger. Conceiving of and the implementing mechanisms to transfer control over peoples lives from the powerful actors to the families themselves is no small goal: above the technical obstacles, voluntary giving away dominance is not something that human beings do well. Development, defined as “good change (Robert Chambers)” must strive for nothing less than a real will for justice accessible at all levels even where it is in direct conflicts with the will to power and the few that hold this power.
Scenes of poverty are inescapable in a country like Bangladesh, where Western media and charities use them to generate outrage, sympathy and — sometimes — donations. That bothered Shehab Uddin, a former newspaper photographer in Bangladesh who knew there was more to the story than downtrodden people victimized by poverty, not to mention photojournalists.
Mr. Uddin not only asked permission to photograph poor people. He also moved in with several families and later had them help select the images that he would exhibit in their neighborhoods. read more
Some photos that caught the attention of Christian Aid’s Communication Team in 2014 featuring the people and a glimpse of their story. See and Read more here
Wondering why you should care about a conference on nutrition? We’ll explain…
On November 19, ministers from 193 countries will meet in Rome for the first time in 22 years to look at ways to tackle malnutrition.
At the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), they’ll be asked to adopt two documents: the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and the Framework for Action on Nutrition.
Progress in tackling malnutrition since the first ICN in 1992 has been weak and patchy because of inadequate commitment and leadership, financial constraints, weak human and institutional capacities, the depletion of natural resources exacerbated by climate change, and a lack of appropriate accountability mechanisms.
The good news is that today the world is much wealthier than it was 22 years ago, and the knowledge of what works and what action is needed is far more advanced. As momentum on nutrition builds internationally, this conference presents an historic once-in-a-generation opportunity for strong political commitments that could help end child hunger.
Read more: link
photographer Daniel Berehulak visting Inpatient Therapeutic Feeding Centre (ITFC) wards, at the Bost Hospital, a Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) assisted hospital in Lashkar Gah, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Read more: Daniel Berehulak the Freelancer’s Way
A South Sudanese child displaced by the fighting in Malakal, and suffering from malnutrition, cries as he is washed by a nurse at a feeding center run by Medicins sans Frontiers (MSF) in Kodok, Fashoda county, on May 28, 2014. (Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)
This series on the Action Against Hunger Webbed, has been developed off the back of a Trip I posed on this blog earlier I travel across the region to determine how many children are malnourished and how many of those are able to access treatment. We walked house-to-house visiting families, to find out what barriers mothers face and what solutions could work. See the resulting pictures and video by following this link as well as full report following here. All material
Copyright S Hauenstein Swan
West Pokot, at the edge of the Rift Valley in Kenya, is a vast county where luscious green mountains meet scorched savanna. Action Against Hunger and the Kenyan Ministry of Health are supporting families with malnourished children across the county, as well as addressing some of the difficulties they face in accessing treatment. Photo by: Samuel Hauenstein Swan link
Seasonal hunger in the Sahel has once again escalated into a major food crisis. In Niger, shortfalls in food production, rising food prices and on-going poverty have pushed tens of thousands of families into food insecurity and thousands of children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. copyright http://www.sambronx-photo.ch Samuel Hauenstein Swan link
Victims of ethnic violence in Jonglei, South Sudan, waited for emergency food rations at the World Food Program distribution center in Pibor. The International Organization for Migration said Friday that a convoy of four trucks carrying supplies is en route to Pibor. (Michael Onyiego/Associated Press)
If it’s true that we humans learn from our mistakes in life then I should have been a genius at the age of 14. That’s according to my wee mum, who it must be said has had more than her fair share of worries since bringing me into the world. It was impossible for me to understand this until I had kids of my own.
I can still remember vividly the births of both of my sons and the overwhelming emotions that pulsed through me. The desire to keep them safe, to protect them, to teach them and give them better experiences and opportunities in life than I had. All of these emotions grow as your child grows, they develop as they do and become stronger.
It’s with this in mind that I want to write about the story behind a photograph I took in Malawi in March 2006.
I was spending a few weeks there with the charity Concern to make a photo story about dreadful food shortages which were blighting the country. Myself and a writer Alan Martin lived in a village called Mgwindhi, in central Nkhotakota, where we slept on the floor of the chiefs hut. It was an incredible experience where we were shown the most amazing hospitality and kindness by everyone we met. As part of our work we visited a clinic where we met a young woman called Enifa Banda. Enifa was 30 years old and had walked for days to attend the clinic with her 6 month old twin babies. The babies were called Mercy and Memory.
Even as I type this now I can’t make sense of the unbearable pain Enifa must have endured. Herself malnourished Enifa was producing hardly any breast milk for one child let alone two hungry babies. She had been forced to make an unthinkable decision. Enifa had to pick which child she should feed in attempt to keep one of her children alive. She named the child she fed Mercy, and the second child who was given no milk whilst she tried to find help was called Memory.
When Enifa made it to the clinic it was already too late for poor little Memory. In the photograph below Enifa cradles Mercy as Memory struggles for breath on the bed at her mothers side.
We heard later that Memory lived for a few hours after we left the clinic and then passed away at her mothers side.
Halima Hassan holds her severely malnourished son Abdulrahman Abshir, 7 months, at the Banadir hospital in Mogadishu on Aug. 14.