• Yatsar Centre - Request for Donations

    Yatsar Centre is a nonprofit organisation that operates with the mercy of our Lord, as it provides shelter, food and employment for homeless people in Africa, as well as acting as an effective distribution agent to serve other missions to the effect of providing food and necessities on an ongoing basis.

    The Centre does not believe in street collections, but utilise a workforce of skilled people to assist it in achieving certain set goals. These people come from broken marriages, destroyed dreams and disillusionment. The organisation’s mission is to guide them back to a normal and fruitful life.

    However, an institution like ours cannot operate successfully only on what it believes in, or what it plans. It is dependent on the business community to assist it with whatever means they have at their disposal.

    It is for this reason that the Centre is taking the liberty of turning to people like you for donations of any kind.

    NPO: Welfare Charity Organisation

    NPO Number: NPO: 007-471 NPO

    Contact the Yatsar Centre: Tel: 012 335 5235 / Fax: 086 721 0124 / E-mail:

    For more about the Yatsar Centre, refer to

  • Food Rebellions: Crisis and the Hunger for Justice

    In this very timely book, two of the world’s most prominent critics of the global food system, Eric Holt-Giménez and Raj Patel, dissect the causes of hunger and the food price crisis, locating them in a political economy of capitalist industrial production dominated by corporations and driven by the search for profits for the few instead of the welfare of the many.  Here, greed has played just as destructive role as in the financial sector.

    This book is an analytical resource for anyone interested in understanding the food crisis. It is an information manual for those who wish to do something about it, including students, researcher and practitioners in the areas of food security, sustainability, public administration and development economics.

    For more information, click here.
  • Zimbabweans In Need Food Aid, Says WFP

    The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) says nearly 1.7 million Zimbabweans will require food assistance in the 2010/11 season despite the recent recovery of the country's troubled agriculture sector.

    In a report released this week, WFP’s Jan Delbaere, points out that, "Despite the improved availability of food, up to 1.68 million people will need food assistance because prices remain comparatively high for families with low incomes and little or no access to United States dollars or South African rand."

    The report states that general poverty and food insecurity have contributed to increased prevalence of chronic malnutrition in young children.

    To read the article titled, “UN: 1.7 million Zimbabweans need food aid,” click here.
  • NGO Not Affected by Cuts in Food Aid

    World Vision Rwanda says it will not be affected by cuts in food aid programmes by its parent organisation, World Vision International.

    The non-governmental organisation has curtailed its food aid programmes and rations in Uganda, Sudan, and Burundi as they react to increasing global food prices coupled with high food demand.

    World Vision Rwanda communication manager, Frank Higiro, points out that their food aid programmes will not be affected by the decision because in Rwanda the programmes are funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

    To read the article titled, “NGO not affected by cuts in food aid,” click here.
    All Africa
    Article link: 
  • Climatic Change: Torrid Times Ahead for Less Developed Countries

    Over the past few months, and in fact since the beginning of the year 2009, there has been a flurry of activities, workshops and international conference halls filled with bewildered delegates trying to craft solutions on perhaps one of the greatest challenges of our times: climatic change, and what it portends for livelihoods across the globe. More than ever before, effects of climatic change have become more apparent and those who scoffed at the warnings sounded off during the 1992 Rio de Janeiro conference and the subsequent Kyoto Protocol in 1997 have had to recoil with a sense of shame at just how much their folly and commitment to profit maximisation, no matter the social and environmental costs, has contributed to the worsening mess that is our global common. While initial concerns over climatic change were quite rightly raised by the key culprits—the Western industrialised countries—it is now increasingly evident that the Less Developed Countries (LDCs) are facing disproportionately greater threats to their economies partly due to their relatively weaker mechanisms of adapting to a changing climate.

    Yet the intensity of the problems associated with climatic change could not have come at a worse time for African countries. Although there are still tensions and sporadic conflicts that continue to ravage the continent, the past two decades have experienced a decline in the propensity of African countries to engage in battlefield confrontations with their neighbours. Most of the countries have experienced modest changes in how they are administered and indeed, quite a few are in transition to democratic governance. Moreover, many countries have been registering some gains from a sustained perch on a positive economic growth trajectory. This has partly raised hope that a few countries might actually be headed to the attainment of some of the key Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. However, events of the recent past have somehow dampened such optimism, resulting in greater emphasis on the struggle for mere survival and calls for a revision of the MDGs with the view of pushing the target date further backwards in to the future. Juma (2009) points out that the Sub-Saharan economies are projected to grow by 3.7 percent in 2010 compared with 1.3 percent for industrialised countries and 2.5 percent for developing countries, excluding India and China.

    The World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change
    , released in mid-September, warns that a two-degree Celsius warming above pre-industrial levels could permanently reduce Africa’s annual per capita consumption by four to five percent. The report urges industrialised countries, which have released most of the greenhouse gases, to lead the way in the support for new low carbon economies. It is true that LDCs generally have much lower emissions than the industrialised countries. However, many of them have larger emissions from fossil fuels due to inefficient energy technologies. Also land use/cover changes, such as tropical deforestation, often cause considerable green house gas emissions stimulated by the twin effects of economic and population growths.

    Almost twenty years ago, Rosenzweig et al (1993) had forecasted a gloomy food supply scenario in LDCs owing to climatic change. The researchers predicted that climate change induced by increasing greenhouse gases would affect crop yields differently from region to region across the globe. Their research pointedly implied that crop yields would decline considerably within the tropics or the low-latitude areas. The economic implications of the changes in crop yields suggested that prices of agricultural products would be related to the magnitude of the climate change impact, and incidences of food poverty would worsen in such areas. Available options would include massive importation of large amounts of food from regions with surplus production. However, the worst scenario would be obtained from severe climate change coupled with low economic growth and little farm-level adaptation. The study concluded that in order to minimise possible adverse consequences, such as production losses, food price increases and starvation, the agricultural sector needed to be encouraged to continue to develop crop breeding and management programmes for heat and drought conditions. These efforts ought to be complemented by deliberate control of population growth across the globe. The latter would also contribute to the slowing of emissions of greenhouse gases as well as the rate and eventual magnitude of climatic change.

    A score years later, Africa stares at real prospects of worsening state of food insecurity and the possibility of a potentially dangerous tussle for scarce water resources both within and across national boundaries. There is no credible evidence to indicate that mitigating investments and solutions suggested by previous research and conference engagements have ever been taken seriously. Granted, most of the LDCs, especially in Africa, have had budgetary constraints, which is perhaps one of the reasons why the World Development Report for 2010 calls for financial support to enable developing countries adapt to climatic change and lay the foundation for low-carbon economies. There is, however, a general dearth of political will in certain cases to make tough potentially politically risky decisions consistent with the need to conserve water catchment areas and to purposefully put in place mechanisms for judicious natural resources management.

    There are those who believe that we are approaching a population ‘breakpoint’ beyond which our planet simply cannot sustain higher levels of human habitation, consumption and emissions. Others believe that we are already there or have exceeded the threshold. These have a somewhat controversial remedy.

    Juma (2009) argues that much of Africa’s political instability is associated with the fragility of its ecosystems and low levels of technological competence to compensate for natural deficiencies. There is a heavy dependency on biomass for energy and rain-fed agriculture for food production on which 70 percent of the population survives. Indications are rife that water supply has dwindled to worrying levels. There are twenty African countries currently suffering from severe water shortage and it is projected that a further twelve will join the group in the next 25 years. This scenario already spells economic ruin and real possibilities of skirmishes over water. Indeed, the progressive drying up of Lake Chad (shared by Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger) by about 80 percent over the past three decades is clear manifestation of the seriousness of ecological changes associated with human activities. Water scarcity affects generation of hydropower, agricultural production, urban development as well as overall land-use planning.

    Climatic change is also likely to affect other non-agricultural sectors such as tourism, which is dependent on wildlife diversity, as well as investments in sectors such as fish farming and game ranching. There is also the possibility, pointed out by Professor Swaminathan, that since most of the crops that we depend on are not diverse enough to withstand climate change, a decline in production as a result of a natural calamity may end up in sharp price increases and riots in food deficient countries. Even more unnerving are projections of the emergence of new infectious diseases arising from ecological change and human mobility. Most African states are ill-equipped in terms of technologies for early detection and prevention of such emerging infections.

    On a positive note, ahead of the Copenhagen meeting last December a few initiatives indicated a resurgence in world leader’s interest in making amends to mother nature, albeit belatedly. The ‘Climate Vulnerable Forum’ comprising of Heads of State from Africa, Asia, Caribbean and the Pacific have prepared a joint declaration that, among other things, expresses their determination to show moral leadership on climate change through actions which include the commencement of greening their economies as a contribution towards the achievement of carbon neutrality. They further call upon other countries to emulate the moral leadership shown by the Republic of Maldives by voluntarily committing to achieving carbon-neutrality. They, however, require substantial external financial, technological and capacity-building support from developed countries. African countries were particularly keen on presenting a common position at the Copenhagen meeting, and were pushing not only for adequate and predictable financial resources to be availed by the developed countries, but also for a binding political agreement requiring the industrialised countries to meet their carbon reduction targets within a specified timeframe.

    The United Nations (UN) needs to encourage all the parties to take seriously their commitments to saving our planet. The upgrade of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) into a fully fledged World Environment Organisation at Nairobi as requested by Kenya’s President, Mwai Kibaki during the African Summit of the Group of Ten on Climate Change at Addis Ababa in mid-November, would be a positive gesture and a show of commitment by the UN and a reflection of a stronger focus on issues of climatic change. On their part, it is incumbent upon African countries to demonstrate their determination to institute adequate mitigation interventions in favour of safer and cleaner environmental conditions.

    • Juma, C., 2009. Climate Change a Stumbling Block to Africa’s economies. Daily Nation on the web (15 September 2009)
    • Rosenzweig, C., M. L. Parry, G. Fischer, and K. Frohberg. 1993. Climate change and world food supply. Research Report No. 3. Oxford: University of Oxford, Environmental Change Unit
    • The World Development Report 2010
    • Eldis Climate Change and Development Reporter
    Peter Kimemia is Programmes Manager at Afesis-corplan. This article was first published in the December-January edition of The Transformer and is republished here with permission from Afesis-corplan.
    Peter Kimemia
  • Unused Land a Concern - Agri NW

    The under-utilisation of agricultural land in the North West province, transferred as part of the land reform process, is a matter of concern. This is according to Agri North West.

    Agri North West president, Andries Beyers, points out that lack of ongoing economic activities on the land is contributing to the socio-economic fall in the specific rural areas and communities.

    In a press statement, Beyers states that, “This trend which is common in areas where land reform had taken place, is destroying the stability and existence of the broader community and must be addressed urgently.”

    To read the article titled, “Under utilisation of restored agricultural land a concern,” click here.
  • Molewa’s Plan to Boost the Poor

    Social Development Minister, Edna Molewa, has pronounced that the One Stop Development Centre concept is a national programme.

    The concept, which was initiated by the KwaZulu-Natal department of social development in 2008, provides a full range of social development services to children, women, elderly, youth and people with disabilities as well as families infected and affected by the scourge of HIV and AIDS.

    “This concept has already had an impact in addressing the plight of the poor, particularly in deep rural areas, because clients are afforded an opportunity to obtain a full range of services from one centre, without having to travel to another area to receive other services,” states Molewa.

    To read the article titled, “Molewa adopts plan to boost poor,” click here.
  • 175 000 Meals to Feed SA's Poor

    Press Release

    19 November 2009

    UK Art Auction raises enough money to provide 175 000 to South Africa’s hungry

    FoodBank South Africa (FoodBank SA) is able to provide an extra 175 000 meals to hungry people after a successful Art Auction held at the Foundling Museum in London, 12 November.

    South African High Commissioner in England, Zola Skweyiya, and FoodBank SA representatives welcomed more than 50 guests to the first Art Auction. By joining the auction, guests showed their support for the enormous effort of FoodBank SA to alleviate hunger in South Africa.

    Professional South African artists such as Helene Kruger, Jennifer Gray, Solly Smook, Nathan Chikoto and Ticha Nyaruviro provided us with a wide selection of pieces ranging from the typical South African art in bright and earthy colors to original paintings of ethnic culture.  A selection of ‘Street Art’ by non-professionals was also displayed and auctioned.  Additionally, we sold beautifully beaded South African Christmas decoration.

    After enjoying drinks sponsored by SAB Miller and South Africa House, the guests were equipped with giant plastic forks as paddles, and the auctioneer started the action.  The art lovers and supporters of FoodBank SA picked up bidding quickly and stakes were set early in the evening.

    Although South Africa has the potential to grow enough food to feed its population, 14.4 million South Africans do not know where their next meal will come from.  Hundreds of NGOs already work to address this, yet the lack of co-ordination and logistics for a larger scale impact. With successful experiences in more than 20 countries, the foodbanking system aims to combine the small efforts to a nation-wide network, thus working more cost-efficiently and sourcing more food than any other social organisation in South Africa.

    By fighting hunger, FoodBank SA also takes a leading role in attacking health, education and crime problems that remain a controversial topic in South Africa.

    Since the launch in March 2009, community FoodBanks have opened in four major cities, with 16 more FoodBanks to launch in the next three years.  Currently, the FoodBank network supplies 1.2 million meals a month.

    FoodBank SA has appealed to public and private donors throughout the year to keep up with the growing demand of food.

    For more information please visit

    Issued by HWB Communications
    On behalf of
    FoodBank South Africa
    Contact: Claire Winson
    021 462 0416
    074 141 8489
    Date published: 
    FoodBank South Africa
  • Africa is Hungry: How Women Can Make a Difference

    While some regions around the world battle with increasing obesity, much of Africa continues to experience severe food shortages, as millions of African people suffer daily from hunger. The reality of food shortages in Africa is well-known. So well known, in fact, that the average middle-class fast food eating person is generally unable to feel anything but blasé about it. There are many others, however, who do try to help, and countless organisations and programmes working to provide food for the hungry.

    Against the backdrop of October’s International Day for Rural Women (15 October) and World Food Day (16 October), this month’s newsletter argues that the continuous provision of food to hungry Africans needs to be systematically replaced by initiatives that will empower them to produce (and keep producing) their own food, even in the face of climate change, the global economic slowdown and conflict. Women, who form the heart of every community, represent the perfect gateway for such empowering initiatives to reach and transform communities. Simply providing food support, instead of enabling food production, creates and encourages dependency on food provision and feeds the image of hungry Africans as hopeless victims in need of care and support. Utilising and empowering women farmers by routinely placing them at the centre of food production initiatives could have long term effects that will ripple outwards from the women to their families, communities and society at large.

    World hunger

    Dr Akinwumi Adesina, Vice-President of Policy and Partnerships at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, believes that Africans cannot be fully free “until we end the chronic hunger that afflicts nearly 220 million Africans every day” (‘20 Million People At Risk of Famine’ The New Vision, 22 October 2009). International aid agency, ActionAid, released a report on 16 October entitled, ‘Who's really fighting hunger’, which questions why one billion people across the globe suffer from hunger. “Over one billion people - a sixth of humanity - don't have enough to eat. Almost a third of the world's children are growing up malnourished. This is perhaps one of the most shameful achievements of recent history, since there is no good reason for anyone to go hungry in today's world,” the organisation says.

    ActionAid’s report pinpoints the major cause of world hunger: “Hunger begins with inequality - between men and women, and between rich and poor. It grows because of perverse policies that treat food purely as a commodity, not a right. It is because of these policies that most developing countries no longer grow enough to feed themselves, and that their farmers are among the hungriest and poorest people in the world. Meanwhile, the rich world battles growing obesity.”

    Women at the heart of communities

    Women are a good starting point for food production empowerment initiatives. Many women put their families ahead of themselves, including when it comes to eating. They will therefore let their children eat the available food, and/or will be expected to eat last and thus least. Inequalities between people affect their access to food. Inequalities between men and women, whether a product of economics, ‘culture’ or both, certainly mean that women work hardest to produce food and obtain water, yet benefit from their work least because they have less power over the resources they produce, and ultimately take responsibility for.

    The crux of the matter is then that because women are considered caregivers, they should be the ones to be empowered to perform their roles even better. Women can be caregivers and responsible decision-makers at the same time. Of course men are also caregivers, but in many cases they also have beneficial defined property rights and access to credit, which makes it much easier for them to produce food than it is for women in many places on the African content.

    Sustainable solutions to food shortages

    Oxfam also released a report in October, titled ‘Band Aids and Beyond’, which details the need for sustainable solutions to food production challenges, such as recurring droughts, by using approaches that are more cost-effective, sustainable and better suited to the population (IRIN News, ‘Drought Need Not Mean Hunger And Destitution’, 22 October 2009). Referring specifically to Ethiopia, the report argues that band aid-like temporary solutions to food crises are reactionary and a waste of resources because they do not offer long-term sustainable solutions to recurring food shortages. “We cannot make the rains come, but there is much more that we can do to break the cycle of drought-driven disaster in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. Food aid offers temporary relief and has kept people alive in countless situations, but does not tackle the underlying causes that continue to make people vulnerable to disaster year after year,” said Penny Lawrence, Oxfam's International Director.

    “Donors need to shift their approach, and help to give communities the tools to tackle disasters before they strike… Drought does not need to mean hunger and destitution. If communities have irrigation for crops, grain stores and wells to harvest rains then they can survive despite what the elements throw at them,” Lawrence added. The report calls on donors to focus on programmes that manage the risk of disaster before it strikes. Such strategies include the building and maintenance of wells that harvest rain during the wet seasons, early warning systems, creating strategically positioned stockpiles of food, medicine and other items, and irrigation programmes.

    Dr Adesina notes that an African policy revolution is necessary to lead Africa to full independence - in other words, independence from food imports and food aid. Africa needs home-grown policies that correspond to its priorities, Adesina says. African agriculture needs massive investments, so that the whole infrastructure that facilitates food production is able to support the results of a policy revolution.

    Women farmers need first and foremost secure land and property rights. This was one of the important points raised by many during their celebrations of the International Day for Rural Women in October. Food Rights Policy Advisor for Action Aid, Ghana, Nii Naaku Mensah, noted that fair, friendly and favourable policies for women farmers need to be formulated and implemented as soon as possible(GNA, ‘Women still need favourable policies’, 20 October 2009). He stated that in spite of the vital role that women play in society, they lack the power to secure land rights and access to vital services such as credit, extension services, technical input, training and education. Policy changes could thus contribute tremendously to the training and financial support of women farmers and the infrastructure they need to produce food for their communities.

    Focus on women to end hunger

    Women farmers in Africa are certainly a big part of the solution to the famine that plagues the continent. They are the ones who have access to their communities and could easily distribute produce to local markets, thus minimising transport costs. These women need to be actively approached, however, before they will be able to start producing more food on a regular basis. Policy makers need to keep in mind that all processes of production and economy have gendered dimensions, and that women have the potential to transform their communities through farming initiatives. Of course, the actual design and implementation of funding and interventions are much more complicated than what can be elaborated on here, but this month’s newsletter represents the inclination, the awareness and hopefully something that will grow to a global desire to end world hunger and empowering women at the same time.

    Charlotte Sutherland is Research Manager: Gender Issues in Africa at Consultancy Africa Intelligence ( The November edition of the Gender Issues in Africa Newsletter is republished here with permission from Consultancy Africa Intelligence (CAI), a South African-based research and strategy firm with a focus on social, health, political, and economic happenings in Africa. For more information see or Alternatively, visit to take advantage of CAI’s free, no obligation, one-month trial to the company’s Standard Report Series.

    Charlotte Sutherland
  • Gates Calls for Focus on Food Security

    Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has urged for a greater focus on food security.

    Speaking at the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa, the philanthropist has argued that steps need to be taken to help the world’s poorest farmers boost their yields to not only help themselves out of poverty but also out of hunger.

    Gates announced nine new grants totaling US$120 million to support small farmers.

    "Melinda and I believe that helping the poorest small-holder farmers grow more crops and get them to market is the world's single most powerful lever for reducing hunger and poverty," he explains.

    To read the article titled, “Gates Foundation calls for food focus,” click here.
    CAF Online
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