Fifteen million people are affected across West Africa from the food crisis. Sadly, it is expected to only get worse in the near future. Some of the factors affecting the availability of food include:
- Low rainfall
- Forced migration
- Climate change
- Poverty rising food prices
- Declining food stock
An additional problem exists due to malnutrition in the steadily increasing rate of illness in the region.
Another factor affecting the region is the increasing rate of school drop outs. The majority of students leave school by the age of 12 and the rate is much lower for girls. This statistic is further hindered by the cost of private secondary schools and vocational schools being higher than the average yearly salary.
The people of West Africa, especially children, are in need of your help. Agile International is working to provide a helping hand so that independence and self-sufficiency is the key factor to getting people back on their feet. We ask that you be that helping hand.
Land of West Africa
The concept of land “ownership” is not native to Africa. In the past, people traditionally farmed the lands they occupied and customarily a father’s land was split up among his male heirs. This traditional concept of land tenancy is now being abolished in the 21st century due to multinational groups seeking to purchase Malian land to fuel giant agribusiness operations who want to produce food for export.
Families that have worked their parcels of lands for generations are being forced off the lands from governments that are making deals with foreign interests in the name of investment and debt reduction. It is these actions that are leaving farmers uncertain about the legal status of their lands that they believed to be theirs under their customary system of land tenancy.
Agile International seeks to remedy this situation by purchasing land and holding clear title to it. This allows us to assign land to farmers that are willing to use it as their own. The more land we can purchase, a greater sense of security will be created throughout the region.
Food And The Culture In West Africa
The nations of West Africa boast many vibrant cultures. This is shown through the following:
- World-renown musicians that have influenced jazz, blues, rock, and gospel music
- Traditional clothing, including regal kente cloth robes, that contain colors representing virtues such as peace, purity, healing, and renewal
- Great institutions of education
- Centers of trade and commerce
- International crossroads
The region also has a strong oral tradition. This is represented through the griot, which are traditional storytellers, poets and musicians located throughout the region. It is through them that history is kept, legends live and harmony is promoted among the diverse population. In countries where literacy is high, knowledge, wisdom, and cultural traditions are verbally passed down from the elders to their children. The time to connect generations has always been when the work stopped and families gathered for meals.
The lack of abundant food is now playing a major part in how often the people of Mali, Senegal, and other nations in West Africa gather to eat. It is also affecting how much opportunity there is for families to come together and share their stories. Agile International’s mission is to keep the connection between family members thriving. By working to increase the abundance of food, we are helping to keep family bonds strong, and keep culture and history alive.
Women of West Africa
Women make up the vast majority of agricultural workers in the region. While they act as the muscle behind food production, cultural rules and traditions prevent them from having land under their control.
Through Agile International’s efforts women in the region can:
- Control plots of land purchased by us exclusively for them
- Directly benefit from the food they harvest
- Use profits from their surplus to pay for school tuition for their children
- Experience increased autonomy and have greater control over their lives
This is a step towards equality for women and creates a further evolution of women’s rights in Africa. It also provides them with options that they can take advantage of in the future. Pregnancy rates are also reduced among young girls who lack other choices in their lives.
Help Us in Our Mission
If you’re interested in learning more about the troubles facing West Africa and how you can help us make a difference, contact Agile International today for more information.