African youth want food stamps during droughts

19 Aug 2016 12:20pm
WINDHOEK, 19 AUG (NAMPA) – Young people in Africa are calling for the introduction of food stamps to subsidise vulnerable households during the outbreak of disasters such as drought, the junior speaker of the Fifth Junior Parliament in Namibia has said.
This, Norman Ndeuyeeka said, will not only ensure food security, but will potentially lessen illegal activities in affected communities where theft and trade of illicit substances becomes a way to survive during such times.
Ndeuyeeka made the proposal during the high-level session of the African Drought Conference here on Thursday, where he noted that mass migration to urban areas in search of a better life is also exacerbated by natural disasters.
“Drought also forces people to move and many relocate from rural to urban areas and these are mostly young people with little skills and qualifications,” he said.
He said a lack of employment opportunities coupled with food insecurity during and after disasters forces young people to engage in unlawful and unethical acts to make a living.
“We thus call on African leaders to protect these vulnerable groups of society. In times of [a] state of emergency and when drought periods have reached a natural disaster stage, we the youth recommend giving food stamps and subsidising essential household products such as nutritious food to the families from areas affected by drought.”
The amount of food stamps given to a household would depend on the household's size, income, and expenses and they can then redeem these for the amount of food needed.
Ndeuyeeka also urged policy makers to establish infrastructure such as tribunals around water fertile areas and fertile land to reduce the impact of drought in future.
The African Drought Conference involves a technical and high-level session, with the technical one formulating a strategic framework to enhance the resilience of nations to drought through early warning systems, which will then be interrogated by the high-level session before its eventual implementation.
He reiterated that mitigating drought should be seen as a collective responsibility involving all stakeholders, including the youth.
This, Ndeuyeeka said, can be achieved by ensuring early public awareness of issues relating to drought through advocacy programmes spearheaded by the youth to mitigate land degradation.
Vulnerable communities should also be trained and involved in decision-making relating to disaster management.
“These communities on the ground should also have the opportunity to provide their input and not just receive instructions on what to do, in order to work on both a conceptual and operational drought [management plan].”
The conference that started on Monday ends Friday and is being held under the theme of ‘Enhancing resilience to drought events on the African continent.’