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Millions in the Sahel can’t wait – Speak up now!


The food crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa is growing worse – leaving more than 18 million people at risk, struggling to find food each day. With the next harvest still months away, we can’t wait any longer to take action and break the hunger cycle.

Governments around the world aren’t doing enough to help – they’re pledged less than half of the funds needed to fight this crisis and a vital pledging conference for donor countries has been postponed. Standing still in the Sahel isn’t working – more and more herding and farming families are going hungry while world governments are dragging their feet.

With your help, we can pressure the US government to lead the efforts for this urgently needed donors conference – can we count on your voice?

Be heard: Urge Secretary Clinton to schedule an emergency aid conference for the Sahel.

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Message

Dear [Decision Maker],

I write to express my concern about the humanitarian crisis in the Sahel region in western Africa. Humanitarian experts have estimated that more than 18 million people are currently in need of assistance, including 1 million children who are at risk of acute malnutrition.

I greatly appreciate your deep concern about this emergency and demonstrated US leadership on the crisis. However, I remain concerned that donor governments have responded unevenly to the crisis: less than half of the estimated $1.46 billion needed to fight this crisis has been pledged.

The African Union has proposed a conference to mobilize funds, resources and political will to address the immediate needs and chronic challenges of food insecurity and malnutrition in the Sahel. We urge the US government to press both the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to hold the conference as soon as possible; the actual date still has not been set, despite weeks of discussion about such a conference. Because of the severity of the crisis and large numbers of people affected, we hope the US will send a high level delegation, including you, Madame Secretary, to send a strong signal that the US is addressing the situation at the highest levels.

For the conference to have immediate and lasting impact for communities affected by the food crisis, I urge you to demonstrate strong US leadership to ensure the Conference:

- Is held as soon as possible. Past experiences have taught the international community that a late crisis response, even if at large scale, has meant that fewer people were reached and at a much greater cost.

- Is high-level and inclusive, inviting potential new donors. Active ministerial level (or equivalent) engagement from all relevant actors, including governments in the Sahel region of West Africa, donor governments including those of the Gulf States, UN and other multilateral agencies, and civil society is needed.

- Delivers specific funding for both immediate emergency response and longer-term resilience programs that can break the cycle of hunger.

The Sahel donors conference should be the beginning of a discussion about the importance of the international community's long-term strategy to address chronic food insecurity in the Sahel based on national country plans and regional leadership.

Thank you so much for your attention to this humanitarian emergency and the needed longer-term solutions.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]