2017 fall newsletter

The politics of famine is explored in the latest issue of CJI’s newsletter. It is available in PDF format here: Mission News, vol. 52, no. 3.

Early in June 2017, Canadian Jesuits International was one of three Catholic agencies to participate in a national inter-faith appeal called “Pray–Give–Speak Out” in response to hunger and famine in northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Since then, CJI alone has received more than $460,000 to support humanitarian work in the region. The compassion of Canadians has been remarkable.

Lelia prepares food for her family in Gendrassa Refugee Camp in Maban, South Sudan. (Photo: A. Wells/JRSEA)

Lelia prepares food for her family in Gendrassa Refugee Camp in Maban, South Sudan. (Photo: A. Wells/JRSEA)

Coordinated responses to emergencies like this are very important. At CJI we want to respond to such emergencies, but we also want to understand why these situations arise and what can be done to diminish their frequency and address their root causes. We feel that this is important to our supporters as well. That is why in the wake of the recent famine relief appeal we decided to look at “the politics of famine” in this newsletter. We want to explore what role human behaviour has in these events and what political solutions might help to mitigate them.

In the cover article, Fr Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator draws attention to the political dimensions of underfunding, climate change and institutional dysfunction and their impact on marginalized peoples in eastern Africa. In the second article, Fr Lalit Tirkey describes how food is used as a political tool in India; and in the third article, partners highlight the adverse politics of land use and food in three Latin American countries. These articles not only identify root causes of food insecurity and famine, but also illustrate the kinds of actions and political decisions that can bring real change and hope.

In her editorial Jenny Cafiso writes: “As people of hope, we not only respond generously to immediate crises, but, as Pope Francis urges, we commit ourselves to the common good.” We hope you enjoy the issue and are encouraged in your own praying, giving and speaking out on behalf of food security for everyone. Blessings of the fall season!

If you would like to contribute to the work of CJI highlighted in this issue, please

(Banner photo by A. Wells/JRSEA: Food distribution in Doro Camp, Maban, South Sudan)