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Year in photos: 2018

Photo: A woman washes her hand at a latrine built with support from Global Affairs Canada. Photo by Fardosa Hussein for Action Against Hunger, Somalia.

To wrap up this year’s International Development Week, we chose some of our favourite photos that celebrate how Canadian aid is making a difference around the world. These photos inspire us to find a better way to fight hunger around the world. These photos keep us #DevInspired!

Kenya


Photo: Clementine, 45, and Benjamin, 41, are community health volunteers in West Pokot, Kenya. They trained together, and they still like to team up. They go from home to home, finding support in each other to double check cases of malnutrition. They walk long distances, crossing the hills of North Pokot to reach the scattered families in their area. Photo by Lys Arango for Action Against Hunger, Kenya.

Much of their work involves assessing health and nutrition among children under five and pregnant women. If they find a case of malnutrition, they refer the family to the closest health center for treatment.

Photographer Lys Arango on why she admires Clementine, Benjamin, and other volunteers she has met in her work: “Thanks to these volunteers, messages can really reach the communities. They do this work to improve the quality of life of their neighbors. They are aware of how malnutrition can affect their community and have decided to eradicate it — with the support and training from Action Against Hunger, but also thanks to their will.”

Yemen


Photo: 2018 marked another devastating year of conflict in Yemen — causing what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Despite restricted access for aid workers, our teams reached hundreds of thousands of people in Yemen last year. We run vital nutrition and health programs in Aden, Hodeida, and Hajjah. Photo by Action Against Hunger, Yemen.

Our emergency response team met Hasan, a 34-year-old father of five, in a small, hand-built shack in Al-Garrahi. He is one of many displaced by the ravages of war in Yemen, trying to regain some semblance of a normal life. The conflict has caused an extreme shortage of affordable food, fuel, and medicines. Health centres lack resources and lose power frequently, too often resulting in tragedy.

“[My wife] Sumaya always gave birth at home, but when she was nine months pregnant, I took her to a healthcare centre because there seemed to be something wrong with the baby,” said Hasan. “There was not enough specialized medical staff and there were several power cuts during the birth. They could not save her or the baby.”

“My neighbors call me the ‘Loyal Man’ because, after Sumaya died, I decided that I would devote myself to my children and play the role of mother and father at the same time. I have looked everywhere for work, without success. We are able to survive thanks to the support of our neighbors and aid from humanitarian organizations.”

Niger


Photo: Dr. Maryam Abouacar, 38, has treated 4,500 cases of acute malnutrition in just the last two years in Mayahi Rehabilitation Centre. Niger’s Maradi region is one of the hardest hit by drought and food insecurity. Using a holistic approach to treatment, Maryam helps children not just survive, but thrive. Photo by Lys Arango for Action Against Hunger, Niger.

When Dr. Maryam Abouacar first graduated with a degree in child psychology, her colleagues did not see her the value of her speciality. One day, she had a revelation. A child, thought to be terminally ill, opened his eyes wide and said, “Mom, I want milk.”

These four words made a big impact on the psychologist: “I saw in him the desire to live and I understood that the fight does not end until the last second,” she says.

In this photograph, Maryam smiles at three babies recovering from acute malnutrition. The triplets’ mom is Aisha, a woman who was forced to beg so that her children could survive. Maryam met them on market day, and saw that the babies’ lives were in grave danger. She immediately referred them to the hospital and then worked for weeks to help the children recover not only their nutritional status, but also their psychomotor development.

“The day I took the picture, Maryam was exultant and so proud to see those children come out of danger, as if they were her own children,” writes photographer Lys Arango. “That day they were discharged and Maryam personally took charge of accompanying them back home.”

Bangladesh


Photo: In August 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people fled persecution and violence in Myanmar, seeking safety across the border in Bangladesh. Traumatized and malnourished,he newly displaced men, women, and children joined 200,000 additional Rohingya people already living in Bangladesh, who had been displaced by violence in previous years. Photo by Gonzalo Höhr for Action Against Hunger, Bangladesh.

Today, it’s estimated that nearly one million displaced Rohingya live in the area known as Cox’s Bazar. Though access to water, food, sanitation, medical care and other basic services have improved over the last year, living conditions are still appalling.

In 2018, the threat of monsoon season loomed large — many of the temporary shelters are built in low-lying, deforested areas that face a high risk of flooding and landslides. At the same time, overcrowding, poverty, lack of access to resources, and poor sanitary conditions all contributed to the spread of diseases such as diarrhea, dysentery, respiratory illness, and malnutrition.

Action Against Hunger’s team of nearly 900 staff and more than 1,300 community volunteers work tirelessly to provide aid to vulnerable people. As of August, more than 700,000 people had benefited from our programs, which provide nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, mental support and care practices, food security and livelihoods.

Somalia


Photo: In Hudur, Southwest Somalia, Luley works in her garden – she keeps some of the produce she grows for her family and sells the rest for additional income. Photo by Fardosa Hussein for Action Against Hunger, Somalia.

Hudur was heavily impacted by the state of “pre-famine” declared in 2017. Prolonged drought and conflict have killed off many livestock in recent years — causing vulnerable communities that are dependent on herding to lose their sources of income.

Action Against Hunger provides nutrition, health, livelihoods, water and sanitation programs to help women like Luley to get back on their feet.

Senegal


Photo: “Livestock is our family. If we have water, we share it with them. If we lose our cows, we lose our prestige, our essence,” says Malick Abdud, participant in one of Action Against Hunger’s food distributions in Podor, Senegal. Photo by Lys Arango for Action Against Hunger, Senegal.

Northern Senegal and other countries in the Sahel region have become increasingly inhospitable due to the effects of climate change. In 2018, drought killed half of this area’s livestock, causing food insecurity for thousands of herders.

Malick, pictured here with his young daughter, learned how to use a Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) tape to measure his children for malnutrition from one of our volunteers. In the foreground, his wife receives enriched flour to help ensure their children receive the necessary nutrients.

Typically in this region, fathers do not participate in these activities — traditionally, mothers care for children, food, and household issues. That’s why our photographer, Lys Arango, was drawn to this family: “I liked seeing this father so committed and paying so much attention to instructions for using the MUAC tape. I also find the evolution of Action Against Hunger in the response to humanitarian crises admirable. Each day, they adapt better and faster to prevent the worst from happening.”

Guatemala


Photo: María Josefina Roque, 30, is a pioneer in her community, La Ceiba Talquezal, in Chiquimula, Guatemala. María grew up in a culture dominated by machismo and deep-seated patriarchy. A single mother of four, María Josefina now serves as secretary of her local seed bank, an Action Against Hunger project that aims to promote diet diversity and stabilize food prices. Photo by Lys Arango for Action Against Hunger, Guatemala.

María Josefina explains the local seed bank has been “A great help. Now I have a little garden where I grow chard, beans, and medicinal plants. Today we eat much better — my youngest son has even been named a model child for his good nutritional status,” she adds proudly. “What I most want is a better future for my children.”

Action Against Hunger Roving Communications Officer Lys Arango explains what is happening in this photo:

“María Josefina is doing the accounts of the seed bank. Until recently, this indigenous woman was illiterate. But thanks to her strength and determination, she has managed to overcome many barriers and is today an example for all. Action Against Hunger has given her an opportunity and she has proven to everyone that she can lead. She is doing wonderful work.”

Nigeria


Photo: For nine years, the conflict between the Nigerian government and local insurgency groups has been tearing apart Northeast Nigeria. More than two million have been displaced in Adawama, Yobe, and Borno. Resources are scarce, and much of the population relies on humanitarian aid to survive. Photo by Sébastien Duijndam for Action Against Hunger, Nigeria.

Action Against Hunger reached millions of displaced Nigerians last year with nutrition, food security, and livelihoods programs. One of our programs, known as “The Porridge Moms,” consists of groups of about 15 mothers who meet daily and make nutritious meals for themselves and their young children. As they cook, the mothers and our staff share tips about nutrition, healthy childcare practices, and good hygiene. The group receives a monthly stipend to pay for food and other items.

Beyond the more tangible benefits, the Porridge Moms have found comfort, emotional support, and comradery with each other. Many have been through trauma to escape conflict — the mothers groups are a way for them to share their experiences in a safe place.

One mother says: “Porridge Moms gave me a sense of belonging. I can relate to my fellow mothers. We have been through similar painful situations. We visit each other often for chatting or simply sitting and listening to the radio together.”

South Sudan


Photo: Forget paved roads. Our teams in South Sudan just hope for dry land on some days! One of Action Against Hunger’s newer bases in the world’s youngest nation takes many hours to reach: by plane, truck, boat, and eventually just two feet. But our staff doesn’t hesitate to go the distance. Photo by Action Against Hunger, South Sudan.

Here, Sulaiman, Head of Logistics in South Sudan, shows what it takes to get supplies — including everything from building materials for health centers to boxes of lifesaving treatment — to the hard-to-reach communities we serve.

“This is the best part of my job…on my way to serve humanity,” says Sulaiman.

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