Calling all students: A glimpse into the hunger crisis in the Sahel

Imagine a stretch of land 2,216 miles wide – like driving from one coast of the United States to the other – with lush tropical forests extending in one direction and desert in the other. Welcome to the Sahel region of West Africa.

The word Sahel -- Arabic for shore – suggests a beautiful picture of a large body of water nearby. Right now, however, the Sahel is home to a terrible drought.  From Senegal in the east to Chad in the west, 8 countries in the region are affected.  It’s the third drought to hit the region in recent years, which means people are struggling to get by. Herders can’t replace their livestock, farmers can’t grow crops, and families have run out of savings.

If we think of a shore as a place where people from distant lands arrive and interact with new cultures, the Sahel is true to its name. A meeting place and mixing pot for the people of West Africa, it’s a region characterized by diversity. People of different religions and ways of life and cultures call it home, from farmers to nomads and Christians to Muslims.  Despite these many differences among the people of the Sahel, they all have one thing in common:  they need your help. Lots of people are going hungry and they need you to tell their story.

WFP is currently working to get food to over 9 million hungry people in the region. It takes a lot of muscle to deliver that much food assistance. We’re calling on our logistics team and building up our fleet of trucks to make sure that food gets to those in need quickly.

Helping communities in the Sahel get stronger is at the heart of the work we’re doing in the region. Communities where mothers can feed their families and students like you have the nourishment to learn are strong communities. Here’s a glimpse of some of the students in the Sahel who continue to receive a daily meal at school through our School Meals Programme andsome of the women we’ve empowered to develop solutions to hunger in their communities through a programme that gives individuals cash in exchange for work.

How you can help families in need:

 woman smiling as she weighs a babyWe need students passionate about solving hunger to help us bring hope to millions in the region. Here’s how you can help us respond to the hunger crisis in the Sahel:
• Hear what WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin has to say about boosting the nutrition of mothers and children in Niger and thenshare the video with your friends
• Find WFP Students on Facebook at and on Twitter @WFP_Students for outreach tips and to engage with other students raising awareness on the crisis
• What are we doing on the ground and how can you help? Check out the WFP Sahel crisis page for news and multimedia from our operations and then spread the word.
• Get creative and collaborate with students in your community to host a fundraiser for families in the Sahel.
• Check out our Schools in Action pack for inspiration and advice on how to get your community involved in the fight against hunger.