Humanitarian Bazaar | FOCUS: Preventing Famine in Somalia & African Horn
Humanitarian Bazaar produces projects focused on how peope survive war and disaster.
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HB 3.12 | Environmental and aid pioneer Fatima Jibrell, who founded Adeso Africa, explains the troubles of desertification while filming with HB and Drewstone's Seth Chase in Somalia. Photo Daniel J Gerstle.

Photo: Environmental pioneer Fatima Jibrell shows HB filmmaker Seth Chase in Sanag, Somalia. Daniel J Gerstle.

FOCUS  |  Preventing Famine in Somalia & African Horn

Humanitarian Bazaar partnered with Adeso Africa and others working in Somalia and Kenya. Part of the work was to travel deep into the Sanaag and Puntland regions of Somalia to learn from nomadic herders and local shopkeepers how they survive harsh drought conditions. HB’s founder, Daniel J Gerstle, worked out there three times and conducted deep research on how local restoration and protection of pasture for livestock and mitigating conflict between competing groups was key to preventing famine conditions. Meanwhile, international and local traders who dominate the market and control labor and pricing have a tremendous social responsibility to prevent barriers to fair distribution of food and work. Choose your mode and price, and let us know at humanitarianbazaar@gmail.com.

Choose your mode and price ===>

A. Online Rapid Course Webinar

$40 = Webinar (2 hours) |  $80 = Webinar+ (2 hrs plus personal call with instructor for personal consultation or to call in to talk to your organization)  |  Free for past HB team.  |  We are currently rewarding donors to our War Survivors Advisory civilian protection project and past HB team members with attendance to our webinars! HB team members of the past can attend online for free. WSA donors who donated $40 or more are invited to choose one webinar as a reward! WSA donors who supported with $80 or more can choose one webinar and also get a direct consultation call with our trainer or a team member for personal advice, solve a question for your career, or call in to give a talk to your class room or organization. Let us know your interest and we will schedule a session with you!  Donate and then let us know which course and your best time frame so we can confirm with the trainer, or you can also plan the webinar first and then donate the day of the webinar session. Let us know at humanitarianbazaar@gmail.com and go here to donate. ===> WSA

B. Full Intensive Training Workshop

$120/person = Weekend Rapid Course with Short Simulation (12 hours, minimum 6 people) or $240/person = Week-Long Intensive Course with Simulation (24 hours, minimum 10 people)  |  Request a full-scale in-person training workshop with practicum at your location! Ask us if there will be a training near you! Sometimes we have a number of people in key places–namely Berlin, Amsterdam, Sarajevo, Nairobi, Istanbul, Kabul, Beirut–who have put in a request and we just wait until we have enough of a group and we can write to you and plan a date, so just let us know your interest at humanitarianbazaar@gmail.com.

C. Contract 

$400/day+ transport & lodging for Expert > $150/day+ expenses for local Field Worker/Fixer (depending on location) for Project Implementation, Private Intensive Training, or Field Research. | Hire a trainer, consultant or implementing team to run a full intensive course designed for your organization, or have us build a consulting team on this topic to implement projects with you.

Review Our Curriculum ===>

Part 1  |  Global Plenty & Global Hunger

  • Amartya Sen’s book, Poverty & Famines, and Alex de Waal’s book, Famine Crimes, presented what was at first quite a controversial theory, and sequel, that famines were not simple caused by shortages, but poor distribution of existing supplies, and that aid agencies would fail if they did not recognize this and act accordingly.
  • Today, although many governments are still debating how much responsibility they have for preventing starvation they blame on a natural disaster, most humanitarians, development professionals, and economists agree that famines are not caused by failure of crops alone.
  • Globally, whether it is Somalia or Afghanistan or California, when the preexisting economy keeps wealth concentrated in a minority, with part of the population clinging to low paid labor jobs with almost no savings, that means any shock to the system, like livestock dying from lack of grass and/or whole fields drying up, will cause three sudden reactions: People who have resources buy and hoard stock in the stores to protect themselves, business owners sensing losses layoff laborers who lose their income, and then traders drive up the prices on food as they anticipate the supply will shrink. That means wealthy and middle class people often continue living normally and pay higher prices to have food shipped in from neighboring regions while the poor lose their money and can no longer afford to buy food.

 

Part 2  |  Somalia’s Traditional Response to Drought

  • Somalis, like many who have strong nomadic herding traditions, have dealt with severe drought cycles for centuries: Two long dry seasons punctuated by two short rainy seasons.
  • Nomads who live in arid and semi-arid areas cannot grow crops, so they migrate with camels, goats, and sheep to green grasslands over traditional routes which shift seasonally. That means their entire life–all food, drink, housing, communications, tea–must be paid for by trading animal products.
  • Traditional pastoralism sustained them through drought cycles for centuries, but when demand for firewood grew into larger populations demanding charcoal that created a traders market in charcoal. In Somalia, especially in the northern Sool and Sanaag regions, did not have government protection over forests and grazing areas for many years, so Yemeni traders who did not want to deplete Yemen’s forests and grasslands came to buy charcoal cut in Somali areas. Clear cutting forests pushed the green lines back, removing roots that held grass seed, so that less and less grass grew back each season. That’s how desertification reduced grasslands, leading to normal droughts hitting harder and leaving less grass for livestock. Animals perish and the herders have nothing left to trade or survive on.

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Part 3  | Restoring Local Coping and Disaster Preparedness 

  • In the 1990s, while the UN and international aid agencies were still focused primarily on food distributions to fill gaps, aid researchers like Sen and De Waal were promoting a change. That is, not to kill off local markets by flooding them with free food brought in from far away because this causes local traders to lose money and close and local farmers to find less incentive to keep producing grains they fear they won’t be able to sell when there is free grain available.
  • Meanwhile, local pioneers like Fatima Jibrell, founder of the aid agency Adeso Africa (formerly known as Horn Relief), were exploring stronger local solutions. That ranged from (1) preventing the charcoal trade forest cutting from expanding desertification and reducing grazing areas, (2) ask local people to shift from charcoal fuel to solar cookers which were much more sustainable using just sunlight and reflection coils, (3) start micro-farms and tree-farms, (4) use foreign aid as cash response, so that people could pay workers to rebuild protective infrastructure or irrigation and buy their own choice of products from local markets, and (5) enhance the Somali tradition of rotating funds and no-fee loans, so that those with resources could save the lives of those without by sharing a shared pool of funds like a rudimentary form of drought insurance.

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Part 4  |  Changing political and social structures

  • Similar to the global challenges of economic inequality, the Somali community also has the capacity to have enough resources for all, but the poor distribution, partly caused by colonialism in the early 20th century, but sustained by foreign and local traders, has locked wealth into a few hands while too many are trapped in poverty.
  • International aid pioneers have often sought to change this economic structure trapping many people in vulnerable poverty, but with lack of success tend to fall back on simply responding to emergencies again and again.
  • Many now see the new government of Somali President Farmaajo as a new chance to try some policy changes to shift these balances, but with global and regional trade structures refusing to budge, only time will tell how hunger can be reduced.

Meet Our Trainer ===>

Daniel J Gerstle  |  Founder & executive director of Humanitarian Bazaar, has served as a filmmaker, humanitarian aid worker, human rights researcher, and war journalist in Africa, West Asia, the Middle East, Caucasus, and the Balkans. More recently, he created Humanitarian Bazaar, formerly known as HELO Media, to produce projects focused on how people survive war and disaster. With Humanitarian Bazaar, he produced the Mogadishu Music Festival (Somalia 2013), Journey of Peace Kenya music festival in Dadaab refugee camp (Kenya 2013), and co-produced the first Afghan rock fest, Sound Central Festival (Afghanistan, 2011). Live from Mogadishu, his first feature length film as director, premieres in summer 2014. Find him at Humanitarianbazaar.org  |  humanitarianbazaar@gmail.com.

Arrange Your Training ===>

  1. Check here if we already have a webinar or workshop scheduled which you can attend. ===> Training Schedule.
  2. Write us to reserve your space for an existing training or to ask for a training which could be scheduled with you. In the latter case, just let us know what windows of time would work best for you and we will see whether it is best to have others attend together or to have a training personalized for you and/or your organization. ===> Humanitarianbazaar@gmail.com 
  3. Right now we are accepting all payments for training as a donation to our War Survivors Advisory civilian protection project, and offering webinars as rewards for such donations, so you can either go right away to donate and let us know that you have done so, or schedule your training and then pay once you are satisfied with the training. The payment/donation button to support the War Survivors Advisory, along with a description of the project, can be found here. ===> Training Payment via War Survivors Advisory.