You certainly won’t need an umbrella in South-West Zambia outside the month of January. While many places in Africa have plentiful rainfall and lush soils (central Uganda for instance), many rural farmers, after only one brief rainy season each year, must attempt to cultivate enough food for their families in extremely dry and sweltering conditions.
This means that families have only one small window of opportunity to grow food and sell any surplus to earn income. Often that window is not great enough to last the entire year, and so not only does poverty persist, but something even more brutal occurs: hunger. Most of us who would read this entry have never experienced true hunger. Perhaps we’ve had to go without lunch because we were too busy at the office. However, true hunger is a reality for the people of this area of Zambia, most of whom survive on cornmeal porridge once a day.
And what’s more unfortunate for the people of Luangwa, Zambia is that most people in the West are tired of hearing about hunger. For this assignment for ChildFund New Zealand, I had to think of new ways to make hunger personal, to show the ways it affects families, but also to show that it is something that can be alleviated.
The video above, which I shot and produced, illustrates the problems and effects of hunger on a small-farmer family. It also demonstrates concrete steps that ChildFund NZ can take, with proper funding, to mitigate hunger in the community. In fact, many of the shots for the “solution” half of this video were of ChildFund agricultural programs in other parts of Zambia that are already successfully running. The potential for hunger alleviation is there. It’s now up to donors to respond.