As the hunger situation in Africa gets compounded by the imposed lockdown resulting from the ravaging COVID-19, 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 programmes.
In Abuja, Kaduna, and Imo states and several other communities in Nigeria, Ecton and When In Need Foundation have engaged four million people in a sustainable food security programme.
Using her own resources and the agricultural seeds inputs from organisations and people of goodwill in the US, Ecton has donated seeds that will grow stable food to feed millions that are spread across different communities in the nation.
On why she has taken this step and risk in the wake of COVID-19, the president argued 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 virus, little attention is paid to millions of people that die of hunger daily in Africa, and Nigeria is no exception.
Her words, “While the entire world is paying attention to COVID-19, I am strongly appealing to the local governments in Nigeria, and governments from the developed world and the international community to pay undiluted attention to hunger as a pandemic that has never been declared as a global state of emergency.”
In order to cater to that niche, her foundation alongside its partners in the US are willing to provide more agricultural inputs and feed more people through this sustainable food security initiative.
“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 UN World Food Programme (WFP) gave a significant contribution of about $100m from the US. According to the report, that guaranteed continued life-saving food assistance in northeast Nigeria through early 2018,” she recalled.
Speaking, she appealed further to the World Food Program and the When In Need partners in the US and 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 COVID-19.
“I appeal to the UN and the rest of the international community and the developed world to double their efforts in working with the When In Need Foundation as we engage the Nigerian government to help in providing logistical as we engage four million people from vulnerable communities into a sustainable food security programme,” Ecton charged.
Noting that it has not been an easy road to secure farm inputs to feed the targeted four million people in Nigeria, the president says that figure is just a small percentage of the overall population.
She added: “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.”