As the hunger situation in Africa gets compounded by the imposed lockdowns resulting from the ravaging COVID-19, Chief Dr. Chetachi Ecton, a global humanitarian philanthropist and president of the When In Need Foundation is on a mission to rewrite the hunger narrative by engaging millions of people in food security programs.
In Abuja, Kaduna, Imo State, and several other communities in Nigeria, Dr. Ecton, and WIN Foundation have engaged 4 million people in a sustainable food security program. Using her own resources and the agricultural seeds inputs from organizations and people of goodwill in the United States, Dr. Ecton has donated seeds that will grow stable food to feed millions that are spread across different communities in the nation. Asked about why she has taken this step and risk in the wake of COVID-19, Dr. Ecton argues that while she respects the global awareness that the developed world and the international community at large have given to the people affected by the deadly virus, little attention is paid to millions of people that die of hunger every day in Africa, and Nigeria is no exception. While the entire world is paying attention to COVID-19, I am strongly appealing to the local government here in Nigeria, and governments from the developed world and the international community at large for them to pay undiluted attention to hunger as a pandemic that has never been declared as a global state of emergency.
The WIN Foundation partners in the US are willing to provide more agricultural inputs and feed more people through this sustainable food security initiative. As this sustainable food security program changes the lives of the vulnerable in Nigeria, the WIN Foundation is appealing to all levels of governments across the country to be receptive to these tireless efforts by Dr. Ecton and the WIN Foundation. ‘The kind of humanitarian aid I am advocating for at this time is not a conflict-driven food donation like the one that the UN gave to Nigeria. For example, in 2018, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) gave a significant contribution of nearly US$100 million from the United States. According to the report, that guaranteed continued life-saving food assistance in northeast Nigeria through early 2018.
It has not been an easy road to secure farm inputs to feed 4 million people in Nigeria. That’s just a small percentage of the overall population, the partnership from the developed world, private foundations, the international community and the Nigerian government will triple our food input donation per capita and together, we shall cover the rest of the country.
The UN World Food Program did well to guarantee nearly US $ 100 million to the northeast of our beautiful country that was laden with conflict. To the contrary, I have an appeal to the World Food Program and the WIN partners in the US and around the world, in the wake of COVID-19, including in the post-COVID-19 world, communities in this highly populated country are going to be hardly hit because the factors of production have been crippled by the coronavirus. The same way that the UN donated $100 million worth of food to the people who were living in conflict infested zones, I appeal to the UN and the rest of the international community and the developed world to double their efforts in working with the WIN Foundation as we engage the Nigerian government to help in providing logistical support and we engage 4 million people from vulnerable communities into a sustainable food security program.