Eugene Chrinian’s foundation is driven by a desire to make a tangible impact at home and abroad. In addition to supporting local organizations such as Jericho Road Men’s Home, Eugene Chrinian and his wife offer substantial support through the foundation to nonprofits that are working to address some of the most pressing issues around the globe, such as World Vision. Operating in nearly 100 countries, World Vision is driven by the Christian mission to help those in need with a strong focus on children. The organization believes that the best way to improve the lives of children in the long-term is through sustainable, community-based change.
The Hunger Crisis in East Africa
One of the major challenges addressed by World Vision is hunger and famine. Millions living in Africa are struggling with hunger on a daily basis and are constantly threatened by famine due to droughts, conflict, and the rising prices of food. East Africa in particular is struggling, and the situation is only expected to become worse unless more people around the world begin to pay attention. In Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and South Sudan, 3.5 million children struggle with severe malnutrition, and 25 million are in desperate need of food. The United Nations estimates that 1.4 million children in this region could die as a result of famine.
In the humanitarian community, famine conditions are defined by three conditions. The first condition is that at least 20 percent of households must face acute food shortages, the second one is that more than 30 percent of children must experience severe malnutrition, and the third condition is that hunger must cause two deaths daily for every 10,000 people affected. Under famine conditions, the situation is most dire, and immediate intervention is required. In the beginning of the year, South Sudan declared famine in two counties, but these areas have both been downgraded due to aid.
World Vision’s Work to Feed East Africa
In response to current conditions, World Vision has increased its outreach in Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, and Kenya. So far, the organization has impacted the lives of 2.2 million people living in this region with food, clean water, medical assistance, sanitation services, and more. World Vision was able to respond quickly to the hunger crisis due to child sponsorship programs in Ethiopia and Kenya. The staff of these programs saw the crisis looming last year and responded by purchasing drought-resistant seeds, giving farmers more training, and developing cash-for-work programs.
World Vision staff members in South Sudan and Somalia were already helping communities to combat malnutrition and food insecurity when the food crisis manifested earlier this year. Efforts have continued in recent months. The organization also has staff members in Niger and Chad that are working to preempt serious issues and provide assistance to individual who need it the most. This important work will keep the food crisis from expanding and worsening.
In some areas, refugee situations have made the situation even more complicated. Conflict in South Sudan has driven nearly a million refugees to Uganda. The majority of these refugees are women and children who desperately need food and clean water, as well as psychosocial support to deal with their displacement. World Vision maintains a presence in Uganda in order to help register new arrivals and connect them with hot meals and other core relief items. In addition, the organization provides unaccompanied minors with additional support, such as emergency foster care and family services.
The World Vision Approach to Ending Hunger
World Vision focuses on providing a sustainable solution to problems around the world. While acute situations such as famine demand immediate food assistance, the organization continues to develop solutions that provide food for weeks, months, and years. To that end, the organization focuses on teaching farmers and providing drought-resistant seeds so that weather conditions have less of an impact on the final harvest. In addition, World Vision helps families to gain access to markets where they can sell excess crops. The approach ensures that all families in an area have access to adequate food at affordable prices, as well as a means for earning money.
Essentially, the organization takes a two-pronged approach to the hunger crisis. While families receive immediate help, they also receive the training and support they need to become more resilient so that these situations become less frequent.
Through World Vision, families also learn about nutrition. Many of the families served by the organization live in rural areas and grow their own food. Relying only on hyperlocal crops and recipes can lead to unbalanced meals, which can prove especially dangerous for expectant or lactating mothers, as well as children under the age of 5. At this young age, malnutrition can have a long-lasting impact. Nutritional training helps communities to ensure that everyone receives the nourishment they need and, importantly, have the ability to identify and rectify malnourishment by bringing in new crops, animals, and recipes.
Individuals can learn more about World Vision’s work in East Africa and how they can become involved in ending the food crisis at WorldVision.org.