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Setting Up A Children’s Feeding Programme…

When my husband, Doug was called up to return to Africa as an Emergency Aid Consultant with a well-known Overseas Aid and Development Charity, I decided I would blog about it. Some of you might be interested to learn about the ins and outs of how someone enters an unknown country to set up something such as this. I hope to elucidate some of the pit-falls, successes and touching stories experienced when engaging in the plight of children and their families facing daily starvation, displacement, and abject poverty.

I begin this journey by offering a brief background to the feeding programme that Doug is setting up in Niger…

The city of Niamey, capital of Niger, seems peaceful now, safe and ready to move forward with ‘Democracy’ (after a short civil war). Primarily, Niger is sahel, which means it is within a belt that spans Africa all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. The Sahel forms a transition between the Sahara desert in the north and the Sudanian Savannas in the south. The Arabic word, sāḥil ساحل literally means ‘shore, coast’ and is derived from the appearance of the vegetation that grows there and which, delineanates sand from savanna.

The people are pastoral and eke their existence from growing a few crops. As with all sahellian peoples and regions in east and west Africa, they are affected by Climate Change, which means that droughts are more frequent. Recurring drought undermines natural, traditional coping mechanisms. Locals no longer have sufficient animal herds to trade for food during their ‘poorer’ years, as having had fewer ‘good’ years, they have been unable to rebuild herds. This has been the situation in Niger for at least a decade. This means, the situation an already poor country is facing is now serious. Niger is home to 25% of all African children who are acutely malnourished.

Africa

Central Africa
Western Africa
Eastern Africa
Southern Africa
Northern Africa
Sub‑Saharan Africa
Black Africa
Horn of Africa
Maghreb
Greater Maghreb
Sahel
The Congos
Sudan (region)
Gulf of Guinea
Great Lakes
Mediterranean Africa
Red Sea Africa

Sahellian countries: Burkina Faso,ChadDjiboutiEritreaEthiopiaMaliMauritaniaNigerNigeriaSenegalSomalia,Sudan.

More soon!

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About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books. www.drniamh.co.uk

19 comments on “Setting Up A Children’s Feeding Programme…

  1. JLBCreatives
    May 16, 2012

    This is really a worthwhile post. Thanks Niamh for taking the time to share this amazing task, I’m looking forward to “More soon!” 😉

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      May 16, 2012

      Thank You Tonia and Janet!

      Like

  2. Tonia Marie Houston
    May 16, 2012

    You and your husband are both remarkable people. Thank you for sharing this information. I’m one of the readers who wants to know more about programs like this. Like JLB, I look forward to “more soon.”

    Like

  3. OptyMyst
    May 16, 2012

    We will be watching, Niamh. Please let Doug know that there are many who appreciate his contributions. Those who do are very valuable. We who care but can only watch are humbled by people like you and Doug.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      May 16, 2012

      Doug will be heartened by our words of support and will carry our good wishes with him to infuse the work in the field.

      Like

  4. Patricia Tilton
    May 16, 2012

    Niamh, I am very excited about your posting his journey. He is doing such important work. It reminded me of a NF book I reviewed, The Mangrove Tree, about how Dr Sato figures out a way to help the peope Eritrea in a Village called Hargigo, along the Red Sea. He plants Mangrove trees along the sea and virtually which began to produce leaves fo livestock, shade, with the ulimate goal of feeding families. The entire village helped and has become self-sufficient. Now Dr Sato is finding ways to use his ideas to held other desert communities. You may be familiar with this story, but I’ll include the link to my post: http://childrensbooksheal.com/2012/01/27/the-mangrove-tree/. Doug will certainly be in my thoughts and prayers.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      May 16, 2012

      Yes I am familiar with it. I would Love to work more closely with you Patricia, as we are of like mind. I will try to do the story justice. At present, I have little communication with Doug as the Internet server is not good. And he is so busy that he hasn’t had a moment’s break. It is hard being separated like this. I used to work with him. We were always flying in and out of various airports and saying hello on the tarmac. I hope he will get a chance to think! That is the nature of Emergency.

      Like

      • Patricia Tilton
        May 16, 2012

        Yes, I have realized that too. I ordered your Orange Blossom book and plan to read it when I leave for a wedding/vacation in Florida next few weeks. Have scheduled posts to release. I need the break, so won’t be responding much. But, you will be on my mind as I read your story. It must be hard being separated like this.

        Like

      • ontheplumtree
        May 16, 2012

        I will miss you, but we will definitely be linked through my story. And you need the break so much. TY for your kind soul and gentle spirit.

        Like

  5. Patricia Tilton
    May 16, 2012

    Sorry for the typos. Typed too fast! 🙂

    Like

  6. patriciasands
    May 16, 2012

    Thank you for sharing this with us. It’s a rare opportunity to understand what truly occurs in these situations and gives everyone a chance to see how they might help.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      May 16, 2012

      Thank You, Patricia. I am hoping it will be an ‘insider’ view.

      Like

  7. Betty Dravis
    May 16, 2012

    What a very humane thing for Doug to do. I know you’ve both worked side by side on various overseas causes in the past, Niamh. Blessing on both your works.

    Hugs – Betty

    Like

  8. tomdharris
    May 17, 2012

    What amazing work Doug is doing, Niamh. Phenomenal stuff! There are some truly wonderful people out there, doing some incredible things and you and Doug are among them. Look forward to the future insight.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      May 23, 2012

      Thank you, Tom. As I said to The secret keeper who has also posted a comment: when a child dies of starvation, it is to our collective shame. It is so unnecessary and so preventable.

      Like

  9. the secret keeper
    May 23, 2012

    your post gives me more of a perspective of your life. you are truly a generous person. giving your husband Doug the support and strength he needs to carry on in such an impoverished place. helping the children and their families. I’ve always worried about the malnutrition in the many places that haven’t the climate to grow an adequate food supply and clean water to drink. for both of you to help in your own ways is incredible. damn the internet. it would be nice if that would cooperate. i will visit more often and follow this as it develops. as you have been so generous with your caring. good luck to Doug and his endeavors. my thoughts are with you both. jennifer

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      May 23, 2012

      Thank You, Jennifer. It really means a lot to me and to Doug that we have people concerned and involved in what is going on outside of their lives. World disasters will always happen. But as long as there is breath in our bodies, the mark of our humanity is to do what little we can to intervene. When a child dies of starvation, it is shame on us all. It is so preventable.

      Like

      • the secret keeper
        May 23, 2012

        i agree with you that a child should never die of starvation. there is plenty of food in this world to feed everyone. it is those who prevent the resources from getting to those who need it. the governments. the petty battles that keep those who want to help out. it’s the lack of generosity of those who have and could care less if someone doesn’t have enough to eat or drink. those people who look away should feel ashamed. if they can’t or don’t want to see it then it doesn’t exist. but then there are those who struggle to spread the word and get in their like you did and your husband is doing to help those in need. there is so much harm all over the world done to children and so many that don’t care. how can you not care? the probem that is going on in Niger sounds so difficult to resolve when the soil will not cooperate. the world needs to help. a chain of help needs to be created to help support those who are helping. this chain should reach around the world. to lose one child is far too many. i resound your words: “It Is Preventable.”

        Like

      • ontheplumtree
        May 23, 2012

        These days, there are many ways to encourage the soil to cooperate. But when the men migrate n search of work elsewhere, the soil cannot be tended. These people are amazingly resilient. But when the pot runs dry, there is simply nothing more they can do without resources and help. Nothing, except watch their children die or grow deformed through starvation, and fail as adults because of being to0 hungry to attend school; thereby, losing their future and repeating the endless chain of poverty which is passed on, in turn, to their children.

        Like

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