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Today in the Mission Yearbook

One Great Hour of Sharing gifts save lives and livelihoods in famine-stricken countries


The PC(USA) and its partners are making a difference in Somalia, Yemen, South Sudan and Northern Nigeria

June 24, 2020

One Great Hour of Sharing gifts save lives and livelihoods in countries stricken by famine. (Photo courtesy of Kaalmo Relief and Development)

Before a hunger emergency struck Somalia, Hawo Abdi and her husband were successful herders near their country’s border with Kenya.

However, two years of intensive drought parched the land to the point that they could no longer raise the camels, cattle, sheep and goats that supported their pastoralist lifestyle. The country’s civil war added further complications to the situation. As her family faced economic ruin, Abdi’s husband died, and at the time of his death, she was two months pregnant with the couple’s fifth child.

Desperate to feed her children, Abdi, 29, decided to leave her home in El-Wak, Somalia, and walk to the Tulia-Anin Camp for internally displaced people. She felt she had no choice but to make the high-risk two-day journey and try as best she could to look out for the safety of her four young children and her unborn child. People who make this trek face the possibility of attack from armed groups, and food and water are scarce.

“We had nothing to take with us, and we had to beg for water,” she said. At the camp, located just outside Beled-Hawa, Somalia, they found refuge, water and food. Abdi and her children receive a monthly allocation of rice, beans, cooking oil and sugar that One Great Hour of Sharing gifts helped provide.

While life is difficult, Abdi and her children, including her baby, are safe and nourished. “The food aid has improved the living conditions of my family,” she said. “I was able to feed my starving children.”

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) partners with Kaalmo Relief and Development to provide food aid to people in the camp. “We are very grateful for your contribution,” said Mohamed Ahmed Iriri, Kaalmo’s director. “It will help us a lot in fighting the hunger and poverty affecting our people in Somalia.”

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 5.4 million people in Somalia are food insecure, and another 2.6 million people are internally displaced.

The U.N. has declared that Somalia and three other countries — Northern Nigeria, South Sudan, and Yemen — are experiencing famine. The causes of famine in the northeast region are driven by political strife, including the Boko Haram insurgency and a conflict between farmers and herders, extreme weather conditions, especially flooding, and a dearth of agricultural infrastructure from years of little to no investment. A famine declaration means that at least 20 percent of people in an area face extreme food shortages and large numbers of people are dying from hunger.

One Great Hour of Sharing gifts are helping to address this crisis through PC(USA) partners in each of the famine-stricken countries. These partners are helping with emergency food assistance and addressing the underlying causes of hunger.

In Yemen, One Great Hour of Sharing gifts are helping to restore the livelihoods of fisherfolk. Their catches provide both income and meals for their families. The Offering helped replace equipment for fisherfolk who lost the tools needed to practice their trade when civil war violence reached their communities.

One-third of Yemen’s population lives along its 1,200-mile coastline, and fish is a nutritional staple for them, says Salah Nehmi, program officer for PC(USA) partner Generations Without Qat, a non-governmental organization based in Yemen.

Nehmi praises the PC(USA)’s commitment to sustainable development and expressed gratitude for the people whose gifts make the church’s work possible. “The Yemeni people appreciate your support and prayers,” he said. “Your support helped some very vulnerable people in Yemen and saved lives.”

For 71 years, One Great Hour of Sharing gifts have been giving a hand up to vulnerable people. The Offering provides support to the Presbyterian Hunger Program, Self- Development of People and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.

 Pat Cole, Special to Presbyterian News Service

Today’s Focus:  One Great Hour of Sharing gifts

Let us join in prayer for: 

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

John Glenn, Administrative Services Group (A Corp)
Edwin Gonzalez-Castillo, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Let us pray:

Almighty God, feed us today with the presence of our risen Lord Jesus Christ and the breath of your Holy Spirit, that we may be bold witnesses and bear abundant fruit in all we say and do to the glory of your Holy Name. Amen.