Roger Thurow interviews a small farmer in Kenya for his book, “The Last Hunger Season”.
Travis Roberts, a member of the Faith team at ONE, recaps ONE’s recent conference call with agriculture expert and activist Roger Thurow.
When the harvest runs out, before the next one begins, smallholder farmers in rural Kenya face “the hunger season.” It is a season marked by difficult choices – do families use the little money they have for food or school fees? Can a father choose between his own meals and his son’s medications?
Guided by Heather Larson from Willow Creek Community Church, ONE spoke via phone with agriculture expert and activist Roger Thurow about these harsh realities and how people of faith can help their brothers and sisters abroad. We started by looking at food aid reform.
When a nation like Kenya faces a famine, as it did in 2011, America sends millions of dollars’ worth of food aid abroad. Packing up literal tons of grain, the American government saves lives but often disrupts local economies. But according to Thurow, by buying food locally, America can help support local farmers and save more lives more efficiently.
Thurow also talked about how the energy poverty affects hunger. The hunger season isn’t only caused by external factors, like weather patterns and crop yields. The lack of infrastructure in many African countries also prevents farmers from bringing in crops that will last until the next harvest.
Currently, only 14 percent of rural Africans have regular energy access, limiting their ability to safely store food and medication, study outside of school and even walk safely at night. Today, 26 African countries have made firm commitments to improving energy access, a goal ONE personally supports.
Together with a diverse community of private and public partners, ONE has committed to see universal energy access for Sub-Saharan Africa by 2030. We are doing so in solidarity with the voices of three million ONE members around the world – including hundreds of thousands of people of faith.
When asked what people of faith can do to fight hunger in Africa and why they should, Roger answered: “We need to raise the clamor.”
“When I was in Kenya, I asked the farmers how they knew it would rain. They told me it would because ‘God knows who we are.’ It made me think. Do we?”
Inspired to help fight hunger and energy poverty with our African brothers and sisters? Sign up to join Faith at ONE by emailing Travis Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org.