West African Hunger Relief
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:
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Top-rated charities perform favorably in relation to CharityWatch benchmarks:
1) A charity should spend at least 75% of its budget on program services.
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, etc.
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 public’s generosity.
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.