Three years ago I was on a trip of a lifetime. I joined a global team of journalists for a two-week reporting fellowship in Ethiopia where we covered the progress Ethiopia has made in newborn and maternal health. The trip was life-changing in so many ways. It opened my eyes to extreme poverty and hunger. I realized how much I take for granted: Access to electricity, running water, safe drinking water, food, health care, education and opportunity. The basic necessities that people need to survive.

I made a promise to myself as a global citizen and humanitarian that I will never turn a blind eye. I will continue to advocate and use my voice on my blog to bring awareness to issues happening around the world especially ones that are not covered as much by the press. 


On July 18th, eight of the world’s leading U.S.-based international relief organizations joined forces for the first time to launch a joint fundraising appeal, the Hunger Relief Fund, to the American public to respond to an unprecedented hunger crisis and to save millions of lives. The Global Emergency Response Coalition (GERC) was formed in response to starvation threatening more than 20 million people in Nigeria, Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and neighboring countries.

The Global Emergency Response Coalition is comprised of CARE, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam, Plan International, Save the Children and World Vision. Partners including BlackRock, Google, PepsiCo, Twitter and Visa are working with the Global Emergency Response Coalition to help raise awareness and funds during the two-week appeal. The PepsiCo Foundation and BlackRock also will each generously match donations up to $1 million.

Children in Turkana County, Kenya dig for water in a dried up riverbed. Photo credit: Save the Children

Tragically, children are impacted even more by the crisis. Over 1.4 million children in these countries are severely malnourished and at risk of death without immediate help. In 2011, we faced a similar multi-country food shortage crisis and the international community failed to act in time. Over 258,000 people died in Somalia alone in which over half were children. We cannot let this happen again. Although there has been some media coverage, public awareness of this global crisis is low and there is simply not enough funding to meet the level of urgent need our organizations are facing on the ground.  

“Drought, displacement and conflict have converged with alarming consequences,” according to the chief executive officers of the organizations in the Global Emergency Response Coalition. “In the 21st century, innocent children should not be dying from hunger. People caught in this crisis are generously opening their homes and sharing what little they have, but they have run out of time and resources — they need our help now.”

8-year-old Khadar* waits for food and milk with others at the Yemeni Refugees and Returnees reception centre in Bosaso, Puntland.Khadar* and his family fled from Aden, Yemen, to Puntland, Somalia, in search of peace and better life. Save the Children is providing emergency medical assistance and referral, and provision of clean drinking water and food (ready-to-drink milk, biscuits and dates) to returnees and refugees on arrival and patients recuperating at the hospitals. Save the Children are also providing malnutrition screening and IYCF counselling for mothers and children, psychosocial support to children, child protection case management and family tracing and reunification. Photo credit: Save the Children

In Yemen, a child under five dies every 10 minutes because of the lack of food and basic resources. In South Sudan, families have been forced to flee their homes and are surviving on water lilies alone while hiding in swamps. In Somalia, teenagers walk for hours just to get enough water to last their families one day. In Nigeria, there have been reports of people eating sand to ward off starvation. Families are dying not only from hunger, but also from diseases such as cholera and measles because they lack clean water and sanitation.

Girl in Yemen fetching water. Photo credit: Photo Moayed Al Shaibani-Oxfam

The Global Emergency Response Coalition will use Hunger Relief Fund donations to help those already going hungry and on the brink of famine survive and lay the groundwork for recovery. The coalition is comprised of CARE, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam, Plan International, Save the Children and World Vision. Together, these organizations are working in 106 countries to reach millions of the world’s most vulnerable people with urgent assistance such as food, water, shelter, education and medical care, as well as resources to build resilience to future food crises.

“We can make a difference together and give people who are suffering more than food and resources. We can give them hope and show them they’re not invisible — and they’re not alone,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook.

The appeal runs through July 28th, 2017. To learn more and donate, click here

The above information was provided to me by the Global Emergency Response Organization. To learn more, please visit:





  1. My husband was listening to a sports commentator talking about a basketball star who wants to be traded. He described the player’s “problems” as “first-world problems.” In fact, most of the problems any of us reading this have are first-world problems. Thanks for making it easy to remember both how blessed we are and how many people have third-world problems, problems at the very limit of existence.


    1. Yes, I always like to say that Janet to remind myself that our problems are so small in comparison to millions. It is very important to be aware and also practice gratitude. 🙂

  2. It’s good to be reminded, even as many of us feel a growing “donor fatigue,” that these children desperately need our help. We all want to fix the underlying, systemic problems in these countries, and ultimately we have to, but in the meantime, we cannot let all these children die.

    1. Yes it is very true Lexi. I support so many charities too! But yet in cases like this where it is a matter of life or death. Thanks for reading Lexi.

  3. So heartbreaking. I wonder if we, as a species, will ever learn. Too much conflict, too much greed, not enough compassion. You do good work Nicole.

    1. Yes Alison I hear your words. It makes me so sad. Good things are being done but now our country wants to cut foreign aid which will make it even harder for people to survive in countries around the world.

    1. Yes it is horrible. So many people have way too much yet way many more have nothing and survival isn’t even an option. It is very hard to comprehend.

  4. Hi Nicole,
    Such gut wrenching images and statistics here. Thank you for doing your part in highlighting this mammoth issue.
    It’s beyond me how it can happen in this day and age, when some of us have so much and others so little.
    Having clean food, shelter and water must be everyone’s right must it?
    Thank you again,
    Di 💐

    1. Yes it is so true Di. That is why I do what I can to write about issues like this on my blog. Thanks so much for reading the post and commenting!

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