USD4.75M granted to Save the Children and CARE to relieve African food crisis exacerbated by HIV/AIDS

from Save the Children
Published on 26 Nov 2002
SEATTLE - Save the Children and CARE have received grants totaling $4.75 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help avert famine in southern and eastern Africa. More than 22 million people - 14 million in southern Africa and at least 8 million in eastern Africa - are at risk of disease, malnutrition, or starvation resulting from severe droughts and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
"With this scale of investment, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is acknowledging the urgency of addressing hunger in Africa with major resources," said Peter D. Bell, president and CEO of CARE. "We hope this action motivates other donors to help CARE, Save the Children, and other humanitarian organizations save lives and assist people in securing their futures."

The scarcity of food in southern Africa is a result of multiple factors, including lack of rainfall, depleted supply of grain reserves, and low production levels of maize and fertilizer. A high incidence of HIV/AIDS in most of the region also has contributed to the crisis. The majority of grant funds will support efforts by Save the Children and CARE to meet immediate human needs and lay the groundwork for rebuilding assets and livelihoods.

"A potential humanitarian disaster is staring us in the face," said Charles MacCormack, president and CEO of Save the Children. "With the financial backing of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and our other supporters, Save the Children and CARE will continue to work tirelessly to avert famine by providing food and other emergency assistance to children and families most in need."

Save the Children and CARE used foundation funding earlier this year to distribute food and to develop a surveillance system that helps determine nutritional and food supply needs in Malawi. With this new grant, the organizations will continue to work together to identify the nutritional needs of families already weakened by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. By training community health workers and volunteers in recognizing nutritional deficiencies, Save the Children, and CARE hope to limit the number of individuals at risk of disease and death.

Save the Children's food distribution programs in the region target children and families that need help the most, including AIDS orphans, internally displaced people, and those in extreme poverty. The organization is providing meals to children in both school and non-school settings in Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, where attendance has suffered as a result of the food crisis. Seeds also are being distributed to families for the next planting cycle. To reduce the threat of famine in the future, Save the Children continues to work with communities on long-term solutions, including improved access to health care, education, and job opportunities.

CARE will scale up its efforts in southern Africa, already underway, to meet the immediate needs of communities 3/4 such as food, cash-for-work projects, and seed distributions to boost the next harvest -- as well as help those affected by the crisis to rebuild their assets and help generate alternative sources of income. In addition, CARE will strengthen crucially needed food security surveillance and monitoring systems and promote cooperation among humanitarian organizations in eastern Africa.

The drought in eastern Africa has been triggered by the very late onset and sporadic summer rains, following premature cessation of the spring rains earlier this year. While poor rainfall has caused drought in Ethiopia and Eritrea, the crisis is underpinned by chronic and worsening poverty. The grant will be used to address immediate food needs and help establish monitoring and surveillance of the crisis for humanitarian agencies operating in East Africa.

Save the Children has begun providing assistance for water tankering in Shinile Zone of Somali Region of Ethiopia as well as reinforcing early warning systems to better predict and respond to emergencies. The foundation also has supported CARE's emergency water provision efforts over recent months in South Gondar, Borana, and West Hararghe - as well as emergency animal feed projects in Oromiya.

Save the Children and CARE are also working in Angola where an estimated 200,000 people are on the verge of death. The severe food insecurity is caused, in part, by the aftermath of war.


Save the Children/USA is a leading, global nonprofit organization working in more than 40 countries, including the United States. Its mission is to make lasting, positive change in the lives of children in need.

CARE is one of the world's leading humanitarian organizations, working in 68 countries, fighting global poverty. With CARE's help, people in the world's poorest communities achieve lasting solutions to their most threatening problems.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to improving people's lives by sharing advances in health and learning with the global community. Led by Bill Gates' father, William H. Gates, Sr., and Patty Stonesifer, the Seattle-based foundation has an endowment of approximately $24 billion. More information may be found at:


Colleen Barton, Save the Children: 203.221.4187
Lurma Rackley, CARE: 404.979.9450
Annemarie Hou, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: 206.709.3265