Mormons are providing an additional $11 million in assistance for victims of famine in eight countries in Africa and the Middle East. The humanitarian effort was recently approved by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to provide assistance to troubled parts of the world experiencing drought, civil conflict, disease and other challenges.
LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of the Church, is partnering with 11 global relief organizations to support 25 projects in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen, Niger, Kenya, Uganda and DR Congo.
"During our recent visits to Africa, we have seen firsthand the importance of helping to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters who face great challenges and difficult circumstances,” said Bishop Gérald Caussé, Presiding Bishop of the Church.
“Contributions from our faithful members provide funding for food, shelter, clean water, medical care and other life-sustaining supplies for nearly three-quarters of a million people — including severely malnourished children."
The Church’s donation of cash and commodities will benefit more than 1.1 million people for up to one year.
LDS Charities is partnering with key nongovernmental and faith-based organizations, including CARE International, Catholic Relief Services, Convoy of Hope, International Rescue Committee, Islamic Relief USA, Rahma Relief, Real Medicine Foundation, Save the Children, UNICEF USA, USA for UNHCR and the World Food Programme.
“With 20 million people on the brink of starvation and 5.7 million children dangerously malnourished in Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen and northeastern Nigeria, it’s more important than ever for the international community to take action to prevent people from dying,” said David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme. “Our brothers and sisters in these countries need our help to beat back famine and stop the suffering of innocent people.”
"What a wonderful opportunity we have to give of our substance to those who are suffering, to lighten their burdens and let them know that we care. And how grateful we are for partners of like mind who help us serve those in places we cannot reach on our own," said Sister Jean B. Bingham, president of the Church's Relief Society.
“LDS Charities has consistently stepped up to help those who need it most in times of emergency,” said Prerana Issar, World Food Programme (WFP) director of private sector partnerships. “Their trust in WFP and their compassion and drive to help those who cannot help themselves has made a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition around the world.”
An estimated 20 million people in South Sudan, Somalia, northeastern Nigeria and Yemen are facing famine conditions due to prolonged drought and civil conflict. Another 10 million people are in crisis and struggle to feed their families.
LDS Charities partners with the Real Medicine Foundation on relief projects in eight countries, including South Sudan, Somalia and Uganda, where thousands arrive daily at the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement.
"It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with LDS Charities,” said Dr. Martina Fuchs, a pediatrician and founder of Real Medicine Foundation, who praised the organization and Church for its “high level [of] integrity.”
Efforts are made in Bidi Bidi to put the children back in school and to provide the refugees with medical care. "We will implement all of the health care at Bidi Bidi in the course of this year, and we are already planning 30 health care centers and hospitals," said Dr. Fuchs.
Real Medicine Foundation hires and empowers nationals in the countries where they serve because they are familiar with the needs of the community. "This is absolutely supported by LDS Charities, and that is why it’s so fantastic," Dr. Fuchs explained.
In June 2016, the Church’s First Presidency and other world religious leaders and scholars joined the World Food Programme in releasing statements in support of ending hunger around the globe.
“Our hearts are filled with compassion … for the many of God’s children who suffer from lack of daily sustenance and who therefore cope with the devastating effects of hunger and malnutrition. We invite people everywhere to open their hearts and minds to this growing need and make resources available to the effort of eliminating hunger where they live,” said the First Presidency.
LDS Charities has provided nearly $2 billion in assistance to millions of people in 189 countries since 1985. The Church is committed to continue to provide assistance in Africa and wherever needs arise in the world. The Church’s humanitarian effort first began when members responded to a famine in Ethiopia in the 1980s. For more information, visit the LDS Charities website or Facebook page.