Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is one of the places in the world where the impact of the climate crisis is being felt most profoundly. In a recent report, the World Food Program identified SSA as an area in which escalating hunger will be seen in the first half of 2020, with millions of people requiring life-saving food assistance to avert the risk of famine. Twelve countries in the region have been identified where widespread hunger is already evident. The current situation is the result of prolonged drought combined with conflict and instability in some countries, and economic collapse in others. In recent years the seasonal rains are either shorter or absent, and in some places, when the rains do come, they have been so violent that flooding washes away the newly planted crops.
It is evident that the climate crisis is having a significant impact on the grandmothers of sub-Saharan Africa. The increasing intensity and frequency of extreme weather events has had a multiplier effect on the many challenges that they face, and especially those within the areas of GRAN’s focus: health, education, violence against women, and poverty. There are reports from across SSA of children leaving school, especially girls, to help find food or care for their siblings, and of men and boys leaving for employment in urban centres and leaving the women, many of them older, to tend to the farms. Food insecurity has been found to be related to increases in both early marriage and gender-based violence and also in the prevalence of infectious diseases.
Given the broad impact of the climate emergency on all the work we do, GRAN will be pursuing advocacy actions directed at the climate crisis. A small Climate Strategy Group is being set up to create an advocacy action plan, develop partnerships, identify and produce resources, and provide support and coordination. It will be important to identify GRAN’s niche in climate crisis advocacy and maintain our focus on grandmothers in SSA and those in their care.
Please stay tuned for further GRAN developments related to climate justice.