BEST WAY TO SUPPORT RELIEF EFFORTS IN WEST AFRICA
The UN estimates that 18 million people in the drought-prone
Sahel region of West and Central Africa face food insecurity this
year. The Sahel region, south of the Sahara Desert, includes Burkina
Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and the northern parts
of Cameroon and Nigeria.
Slowly developing crises like droughts don't attract
the media attention or contributions that earthquakes and tsunamis
can, even when the number of people in need is greater. According
to UNICEF, the hunger crisis in Sahel has put 1 million children
under age 5 at risk of deadly severe acute malnutrition.
"To avoid the food crisis in the Sahel region becoming
a catastrophe we need strong leadership; comprehensive response
plan; coordinated and speedy action; and continued generosity from
the regional and international community," said UN Under-Secretary-General
for Humanitarian affairs, Valerie Amos.
CharityWatch announces its top-rated list of charities
involved in efforts to provide relief to victims of the hunger crisis
in the Sahel region of West Africa. CharityWatch, a leading charity
watchdog that issues letter grade (A+ to F) ratings of nonprofit
groups, identifies the following charities, which are providing
aid to the victims that receive an A or B
grade based on the portion of their budget going to program services
and their fundraising efficiency:
Note: Links will open in a new window
Top-rated charities perform favorably in relation
to CharityWatch benchmarks:
1) A charity should spend at least 75% of its budget on program
2) Charities should spend no more than $25 to raise $100.
Contact your favorite charities to find out if they
provide the specific types of aid that you would like to fund, e.g.,
emergency relief, health care, infrastructure development, education,
As with any charitable contribution, Americans wanting to help African
relief efforts should send contributions to only those charities
with an established track record of helping people in this region.
Though these crises are not highly publicized, disreputable, fly-by-night
charities always exist to take advantage of the publics
SEND A CHECK, NOT GOODS
The best way to help is by sending a check. Cash donations enable
charities to buy the most needed type of food, medicine, clothing,
shelter materials and other supplies. By buying relief products
locally or regionally, charities can reduce shipping costs and more
rapidly deliver assistance. Before sending any goods, first contact
the charity to find out if they are appropriate and if it will be
cost effective to distribute them. For example, after the tsunami,
boxes of donated winter coats, scarves and fuzzy hats, completely
useless items in tsunami stricken nations with tropical climates,
were sent to these nations.