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Sudanese Women Farmers Mobilize to Support Women Facing Famine in Neighboring Somalia

Posted on: Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Keywords: Africa, Emergency Relief, Kenya, Climate Change, Sudan, Environmental Justice

MADRE: Rights, Resources and Results for Women Worldwide
CONTACT: Stephanie Küng, MADRE (212) 627-0444,

Sudanese Women Farmers Mobilize to Support Women Facing Famine in Neighboring Somalia

Wednesday, September 7, 2011—New York, NY—This week, the United Nations declared that the famine in East Africa has spread to a sixth region in Somalia. As the crisis escalates, MADRE today announced a vital example of locally-sourced aid.

When MADRE Executive Director Yifat Susskind recently traveled to Kenya, she met with Hubbie Hussein al-Haji of MADRE’s sister organization, Womankind Kenya. This grassroots organization of Somali pastoralists, based in northeastern Kenya, is providing emergency aid to Somali famine refugees who have fled across the border into Kenya.

During the meeting, Ms. Susskind delivered a contribution for food aid from the MADRE-supported Women Farmers Union in neighboring Sudan. These women farmers have long fought drought and the threat of famine in their own communities. The union was co-founded by MADRE and Zenab for Women in Development, MADRE’s Sudanese sister organization. The contribution, raised from the proceeds of the women’s last harvest, was accompanied by a letter, which MADRE released today. The text of the letter is linked below.

Hubbie Hussein Al-Haji of Womankind Kenya, said, “Thank you to the women of Zenab. They have many needs in their communities, many malnourished children, pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers that need their help. But they said our problem is greater than theirs, and that is really touching. And thank you to MADRE for sharing our story with other women like Zenab. It is a beautiful connection – Zenab, MADRE, Womankind.”

Yifat Susskind, MADRE Executive Director, said today, “Womankind Kenya and the Women Farmers Union were able to come together through MADRE’s network, providing crucial aid to women and families in crisis. That women from different countries are able to share their experiences and support one another in difficult times is more than inspiring. It points towards a more sustainable model for food aid: sourcing food locally from small-scale, ecological farmers instead of from giant, heavily-subsidized agribusiness halfway around the world.”

To read the letter from the Women Farmers Union to Womankind Kenya, click here. To watch the video of Hubbie Hussein Al-Haji receiving the gift, click here.

Available for interview:

Hubbie Hussein Al-Haji, Executive Director of Womankind Kenya, a grassroots organization of Somali women pastoralists, works to provide emergency aid to refugee women and families in northeastern Kenya and to improve the living standards and decision-making capacity of women and girls from pastoralist communities in Kenya.

Yifat Susskind, MADRE Executive Director, works with women’s human rights activists from Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East, creating programs to address violence against women, economic development, climate change, armed conflict and more.

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