Elizabeth, a farmer from South Sudan. Photo: Tim Bierley/Oxfam
About 80 percent of the world’s food is produced by small-scale farming.
Women make up on average 43 percent of this agricultural labour in developing countries. They are the majority in some countries. In South Asia, more than two-thirds of employed women work in agriculture. In eastern Africa, over half of farmers are women.
A group of women at the entrance to the displaced people's settlement of Muna Garage on the outskirts of Maiduguri in Nigeria. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam
Women bear the brunt of the battle against hunger, but they’re also a powerful force capable of feeding their communities.
“As long as the senseless, costly and brutal war in South Sudan continues, its people will continue to flee to find protection, food, water and shelter. More than anything they need peace at home. South Sudan’s neighbouring countries and the international community must honour their commitments to get South Sudan’s warring parties back to the negotiating table. Until then, it will not be safe for South Sudanese refugees to return home, forcing them to depend on aid across the border.
In response to the new IPC figures that show that famine has been pushed back in the two counties of Leer and Mayendit (which have now gone from being in famine to humanitarian crisis), Sara Almer, Oxfam South Sudan Country Director, says:
Group of Seven leaders meeting in Taormina, Sicily, this week should take the lead in fighting famine and immediately fund nearly half ($2.9 billion) of the UN’s urgent appeal to avoid catastrophic hunger and more deaths, urged Oxfam today. Without an immediate and sweeping response, this crisis will spiral out of control.
Further delay will cost more lives.
Conflict has plunged South Sudan into a man-made famine and millions of people across the country are starving. In South Sudan we have been supporting over 400,000 people, ensuing they have safe access to food. We’re providing them with cash or vouchers so they can buy from local markets, and we’re distributing food with the World Health Programme (WHP).
Women arriving after walking through the swamp for hours. Photo: Pedro Mariel/Oxfam
Swamp is all that many South Sudanese mothers can see for miles. They journey through it, by foot or canoe, pursuing food. Medicine. Aid. The bare minimum to keep their children going during this time of hunger and conflict.
South Sudan has been an independent nation for five years, and has been engaged in civil war for over three of them.
A group of young, creative activists are calling for ceasefire, and are promoting peace through art with their campaign ‘Ana Taban’.
In South Sudan, the violent and brutal war has put millions at risk. Women, men and children that fled their homes in search of safety are now finding a new threat - hunger. With harvests still months away, the famine already declared in parts of the country will spread across the rest of the country, unless we act now.