Famine Relief Appeal

More than 20 million people in northeastern NIGERIA, SOMALIA, SOUTH SUDAN and YEMEN are experiencing severe food shortages and are at risk of starvation. A prolonged drought in Eastern Africa and ongoing conflict and political instability in all four countries have left millions with inadequate food supplies.

Two partners of Canadian Jesuits International (CJI)—the Jesuit Refugee Service and the Jesuit Eastern Africa Province—are present in the region and working to serve, accompany and advocate for those experiencing food insecurity and hunger.


In Canada, CJI is one of three Catholic agencies identified by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops as part of an inter-faith coalition to raise awareness and funds for this food crisis. The Famine Relief Appeal is called “PRAY-GIVE-SPEAK OUT.”


Please support people living with acute food shortages …
and double your impact!

The Canadian government is matching donations made by Canadian individuals to an eligible registered Canadian charity (like CJI), supporting famine relief efforts from March 17, 2017 to June 30th, 2017.



KEY FACTS about the three countries whose people CJI is seeking support through this appeal:

South Sudan

More than 1.8 million South Sudanese people are internally displaced and an additional 1.7 million have left the country as refugees. On 20 February 2017, famine was declared in Unity State. Approximately 7.5 million South Sudanese are currently in need and 5.5 million will be food insecure by July – at the peak of the coming lean season. Over 1 million children are estimated to be acutely malnourished.


Over 50% of Somalia’s population are in need, including 1.7 million people who have been displaced by war and/or drought. The number of people requiring immediate humanitarian assistance continues to rise, with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reporting that 3.3 million people are currently facing food insecurity. Young children are among those hardest hit by acute malnutrition.


Yemen is facing the largest food insecurity crisis in the world, considering access to humanitarian assistance and the percentage of the population and areas the country affected. Prolonged conflict has led to the displacement of 2 million people, with a further 183,000 fleeing to neighbouring countries. An estimated 18.8 million people (70% of the population) are in need, including 6.8 million people experiencing severe food insecurity.



The famine in South Sudan and food shortages in Somalia and Yemen have regional implications. In addition to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in these three countries there are refugees who have gone to other countries in the area. Canadian Jesuits International (CJI) has partners on the ground in South Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya who are providing food and other necessities to IDPs and refugees from the impacted countries. Specific programs include:

South Sudan:

  • In Rumbrek, the Jesuit Eastern Africa Province is purchasing food and distributing it from St Peter Claver Centre to those in need
  • In Wau, the Jesuit Province provides all students and some neighbours of Loyola Secondary School with a daily meal (often the only meal they get) and safe drinking water. The neediest also receive medical assistance and psychosocial counselling. Some transport is provided to students living in nearby IDP camps
  • In Maban, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) provides emergency food relief and other services to IDPs and refugees
  • Together with partner humanitarian agencies, the Jesuits have reached about 48,500 beneficiaries in Leer County; 28,600 in Mayendit Country; and are now targeting over 29,000 in Panyijiar


  • In Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar and Debre Zeit, the Jesuit Province is working with the needs of refugees from Somalia and/or Yemen in their schools
  • In Dollo Ado, near the Ethiopia-Somali border, JRS provides humanitarian assistance to Somali refugees, including some who went first to Yemen and have now returned to Ethiopia due to the conflict in Yemen. Assistance in the Dollo Ado camps includes psychosocial support, education and youth programming


  • In Nairobi, JRS provides food assistance to urban refugees from Somalia
  • In northern Kenya, JRS provides assistance to refugees from South Sudan and Somalia living in Kakuma Refugee Camp
  • In Baringo, the Jesuit Province is providing food aid through the Jesuit Hakimani Centre

Other voices

Read the Jesuit Provincials’ letter appealing for famine relief

Media coverage of the Famine Relief Appeal:


(Banner photo by M. Lopez-Villegas/CJI)