Posted by: Bob Payne | August 31, 2011

Horn of Africa Needs Water Justice

Recently, I had the honour of speaking at a fundraiser for the victims of the famine in the Horn of Africa, organized by local health care providers, Dr. Farook Hossenbux and his nurse/partner Geri Hossenbux. Speakers included a representative from Doctors Without Borders, local groups raising money for the cause and local artists. Several mentioned the phenomenon of “donor fatigue” in this case and puzzled about why it was so hard to raise money for a crisis threatening as many as 12 million people, many of them children, while other recent disasters have been met with an outpouring of generosity. When I spoke, I addressed this question and said that the reason might be related to the narrative upon which most people in the global North assess this situation. Most Westerners see the crisis in the Horn of Africa as a combination of a large population, chronic poverty, corruption on the part of African government officials, failed states and no rain, and that none of this will ever change so giving money to this self perpetuating crisis is throwing it away. But I offered another narrative that I believe is closer to the truth.

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