Do NGOs have a role in food distribution?

This post is also part of the #30 day blogging challenge series and today we are looking at creating catchy headlines. In the last post I asked you what  topics you would like me to cover on this blog and whilst I wait for your ideas I thought I would revisit this question as someone has already asked it

If you have been following the news you would have come across 2 news headlines

  1. News of the World and the phone hacking scandal
  2. Famine at the Horn of Africa

The second headline has almost faded from front line news but is the subject of today’s post.  Folk in East Africa or more preciously the Horn of Africa are facing the worst famine in 60 years and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Charities are appealing to us to donate whatever we can to support their efforts to get food to these folk

So what is the role of NGO’s in food distribution?

The answer is it all it depends on their terms of reference as NGOs get established for all manner of reasons.

A different question- do NGOs have a role to play in food distribution?

The simple answer is YES and


A qualified answer is Yes but perhaps only in emergencies such as the one we are currently witnessing in East Africa.


In my mind it is because the role of ensuring that citizens are fed primarily rests with leaders of a given country. They ought to plan and manage food distribution- put simply this involves

  1. getting food from where it is to where it is needed
  2. planning for hard times- e.g when the rains fail
  3. supply and managing the infrastructure that enables 1 and 2 to happen

Am I being naive here- well that much depends on your point of view. But there are some things that I would  like you to bear in mind please

  1. One of the countries that are listed amongst those facing severe famine is Uganda, but as you can see from my previous post- there is no shortage of food in Uganda and that being the case why is Uganda included on this list.
  2. granted Somalia- does not have an effective government to speak of but even then, are those in charge in Somalia starving like the millions we have seen trekking across East Africa in search of food. What does this tell us?
  3. these countries are in close proximity to each other- could leaders of these countries get together and plan this out, I am not suggesting here that they should plan for good rains- but we do know that rains in this part of Africa do fail but do the East African leaders have a strategy for dealing with this? Or is it easier to wait and cry for help from the NGOs? I also know that most homes have more food than they need- for instance my mother has more Avocados than she knows what to do with and if someone asked her to donate it to starving people she will part with it easily. The only catch would be that you would need to get it off the trees yourself
  4. why was Kenya’s initial reaction to the catastrophe to deny those fleeing the famine in Somalia access into Kenya?
  5. Uganda has sent her military to rid Somalia of a terrorist cell Alshabab could they send some food to the folk they are trying to protect- chances are these folk are more likely to die of hunger than Alshabab bullets at this rate. Do you agree?


Whilst some want to know what the role of NGo’s in this is some like my twitter buddy @mugumya want to know

Patrick MugumyaWhy is it #Africa that is always starving? is it that God is against us, do we sin too much or have we refused to learn from our past?

I am not  so sure about God being against us but I have covered some of the reasons why Africans are always starving in this post some of which include disease and severe weather, you can’t work the land if you body is ridden with parasites. have we refused to learn from our past. It would appear that way seeing us we are aware or at least leaders are aware of what is required but fail to implement or take the necessary steps to secure food for everyone

Another issue that has been bugging me- where is the African diaspora in all this? What aren’t we doing something collectively to aid folk at the horn of Africa?

Whilst we ponder and debate this folk are dying of hunger and they continue to trek to safety


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