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Action Against Hunger Calls on African Union Summit to Prioritize Conflict Resolution and Gender Equality

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Action Against Hunger, a global leader in finding sustainable solutions to world hunger, is calling on African Heads of States and Governments to prioritize regional conflict resolution and gender equality at the Feb. 18th AU Summit. The AU Heads of State Assembly, Africa’s supreme policy and decision-making body that determines AU policies, programs, and priorities, will meet for the 37th Ordinary Session under the theme, ‘Transforming Education in Africa; A Gender Perspective.’

This year’s Summit occurs against a backdrop of growing challenges throughout the continent, including droughts and floods fueled by climate change, increasing food insecurity, widespread conflict, and a rise in gender-based violence. Action Against Hunger urges leaders to take action, especially as food prices spike following the aftermath of global events including the war in Ukraine, the Rea Sea crisis, and the conflict in Gaza.

Conflict-Driven Hunger

Conflict is the primary driver of hunger in Africa. An estimated 149 million Africans face acute food insecurity, and 82% of those impacted live in conflict-affected countries. Women typically bear the brunt. Conflict disrupts agriculture, destroys key infrastructure, and prevents people from accessing markets, schools, and hospitals. It forces people to flee their homes, leaving lives and livelihoods behind. Humanitarian workers are unable to deliver assistance in areas with increasing violence.

Many families in Ethiopia, like Loko Diba Boru and her 10-month-old son, lack sufficient access to nutritious food and clean water.

At a time when conflict is rampant and hunger is rising, Action Against Hunger calls on African leaders to take a stronger stance and commit to resolving conflicts across the region.

“We’re pleased that peace and security issues are high on the 2024 AU Summit agenda and urge leaders to focus on the link between conflict and hunger—both of which are preventable,” says Michelle Brown, Associate Director of Advocacy for Action Against Hunger. “The alarming resurgence of hunger goes hand-in-hand with the growing number and intensity of armed conflicts and warring parties’ flagrant disregard of international humanitarian law.”

Addressing Hunger Hotspots

In January, Action Against Hunger released its 2024 Hunger Funding Gap report, which revealed a significant gap in funding for humanitarian assistance in African countries dealing with crisis levels of hunger. The report found that, globally, only 35% of appeals from countries dealing with crisis levels of hunger were funded, resulting in a hunger funding gap of 65%, up 23% from 2022.

Drought is particularly hard on herding and farming families, who depend on land and livestock to survive.

Toby Madden

Action Against Hunger, Ethiopia

Climate shocks in Ethiopia, like the recent drought, make it hard for families to find clean water.

One in 10 people go to bed hungry every night. Still, the world is not responding to these hunger crises with sufficient funding. African countries in the report included Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan.

The Gender Nutrition Gap

Globally, more than one billion adolescent girls and women suffer from undernutrition, according to The Gender Nutrition Gap Report released by a coalition of partners, including Action Against Hunger. In Africa, nearly 60% of women are experiencing moderate or severe food insecurity.

“By failing to close the gender nutrition gap, Action Against Hunger believes we are jeopardizing the lives of women and girls and our collective future as a continent,” says Alvin Munyasia, Action Against Hunger’s Advocacy and Communications Specialist for the Horn and Eastern Africa, who is attending the AU Summit.

Women meet for their weekly gathering of their community savings and loans group.

Lys Arango

Action Against Hunger, Ethiopia

Action Against Hunger teams are working to facilitate savings groups for many women in Ethiopia.

Through Action Against Hunger’s partnership with the Gender Is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC), the organization is advocating for the full participation, empowerment, and enhanced leadership role of women and young girls in Africa, guaranteeing full gender equity, equality, food security, and social protection for all.

Action Against Hunger will participate in several pre-summit events to provide tangible recommendations before leaders convene during the Summit.

  • In partnership with Right2Grow, GIMAC, and the Dutch Embassy in Ethiopia, Action Against Hunger will organize a session on Financial Literacy for Improved WASH and Nutrition Services on Feb. 15. This session aligns with the 2024 AU theme: ‘Educate an African fit for the 21st Century: Building resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality, and relevant learning in Africa’.
  • On Feb. 14, Action Against Hunger will host a round table discussion on Nutrition Centric HDP (Humanitarian Development & Peace) Nexus — A Link To A Sustainable Education And Health For All. The Humanitarian-Development-Peace (HDP) Nexus idea highlights the connections between humanitarian assistance, development initiatives, and peacebuilding initiatives to address complex crises and conflicts on the continent effectively.
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