Bright Idea: Donating to the famine relief in Somalia

On Wednesday, July 20th, 2011, the United Nations officially declared a famine in two regions in southern Somalia, southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle, making it the worst drought since 1991 – 1992. According to the UN, “Famine is declared when acute malnutrition rates among children exceed 30 per cent, more than two people per every 10,000 die per day, and people are not able to access food and other basic necessities, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).” Mark Bowden, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, goes on to say that “malnutrition rates in Somalia are currently the highest in the world, with peaks of 50 per cent in certain areas of the country’s south.”

(Source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=39086&Cr=Somali&Cr1=)

It is reported that approximately $300 million dollars is required in order to reverse the current situation.

Some of the organizations you can look to do find out about the situation, about aiding or to offer donations:

UN (United Nations) http://www.un.org

Human Concern International http://www.humanconcern.org/

World Health Organization http://www.who.int/en/

Oxfam International http://www.oxfam.org/

Save the Children http://www.savethechildren.org

The Humanitarian Coalition http://humanitariancoalition.ca/

These are only a few resources out of many to look into. You can always check news sources as well, for direction. A reminder to do your research and due diligence when finding a legitimate organization to donate to.

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Ben Affleck: Eastern Congo Initiative

We all know what an arguably amazing job Ben Affleck did in “The Town”, the film he both directed and starred in last year. We’ve recently heard he’s rolling his sleeves up to dive into another film project (called “Tell No One”) as Director. We also know he is half of a Hollywood couple (with A-Lister Jennifer Garner) with serious star power. But, behind the flashing lightbulbs of the red carpet madness and the intrusive images of the paparazzi lies a deeper side of Ben Affleck’s attachment to the human experience that starkly contrasts the superficiality that can come with fame. It’s no secret that countries in Africa have faced colonialism, war, pain, poverty, rape, and often times, neglect. The general health of the continent is unstable.

Ben Affleck’s attention to charity hits close to home for me. He is the founder of an organization called the Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI).

(http://www.easterncongo.org)

The ECI was born in 2010 and is the “first U.S. based advocacy and grant-making initiative wholly focused on working with and for the people of eastern Congo.”

(Source: original video source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwJ7snTLoqU&feature=channel_video_title)

Their initiatives include the following (from website):

  • Increase the quantity and quality of public and private funding that supports the communities and citizens of eastern Congo, providing local organizations and leaders with the necessary resources to heal and sustain their communities
  • Raise public awareness about the tremendous need in the region through highly targeted media and advocacy activities
  • Drive policy change that increases United States government engagement in Congo

Ben Affleck and the ECI work with Congolese organizations with the mission to make positive changes in the areas of support for victims of rape and sexual violence, support for vulnerable children involved in war-related activities, community, health care and economic opportunity.

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