View Full Version : Helping Somalia: Organize African Version Of “We Are The World”

15th August 2011, 11:34 AM
The Somalia situation is dire and though efforts to raise money to help them have had very good responses, most of the responses are pledges that will take some time to be honored. Meanwhile, children are dying today for basic things like water and food.

These are the items that are very difficult to collect and ship in bulk to them in their times of need. Therefore, the best item that will be necessary now will be quick money. If we can lay our hands on some money it can be used to buy the necessary food and water from around Somalia or from some corporation that has the means to transport them. Whiles we are, as usual, waiting for the world to respond to us, let us for once make an effort to start something ourselves from our schools, community and countries.

Despite the call from Ex-President Rawlings to Africans and other people to help, the African Union has up to now not been able to organize a meeting to discuss the Somalia situation because of what the secretariat calls “scheduling problem”. They are now looking for a free slot in their schedule for such a meeting. Whiles America, Europe and other foreign countries and continents are already there to help, we are looking for a time to meet. Meanwhile, it has been about three weeks since I saw Ex-President Rawlings, the African Union's own High Representative in Somalia weeping on CNN. What will make Rawlings weep should make us all sit up. Since then he has been trotting the continent to get our leaders to act but all he has got is for them to now schedule a meeting for August 25th which is two weeks from now.

Meanwhile, Somalia women and children in dire need are still making perilous journey through the harsh Ogaden deserts to reach refugee camps where they can get some crumps of bread and drops of milk and water for the kids. These desperate mothers have arrived in these camps with fewer children than when they set off from their homes and hundreds, perhaps thousands, will die no matter what the aid agencies do - it is already that bad. What is needed now is individual and collective action to take the initiative to help our fellow Africans now. The Action should be NOW.

I just read on the BBC news of an 11 year-old Ghanaian boy called Andrew Andasi who launched a campaign last week after watching footage of Somali people walking in search of food. This little boy has raised $500.00 and has already met the UN World Food Program Director in Accra for advice as to how to go about getting help to his fellow unfortunate kids. What an inspiration? Here in my school, the African Students Union led by Esi Yeboah has launched a fund raising activity to send help to our fellow Africans and are making efforts to involve students of other schools.

But relying on individual Africans to raise enough money for the massive problem facing our brothers in Somalia may not be enough. In view of this, I suggest that fund raising through organized activities will be the best way to have access to substantial quick cash, whiles we wait for the pledges to come in.

Some years ago when we had the same situation in the Ogaden region in Ethiopia and recently during the earthquake disaster in Haiti, musicians around the world came together under the banner of the “We are the world” to organize songs and concerts to raise money for them. The African Union should ask the musicians and film actors and their associations on the continent to come together to stage concerts all over the continent to raise money. The popular and large selling artistes should come together to compose unique songs organize group concerts that will sell quickly and massively. This is the time to put the Nollywoods and Ghallywood to use for the benefit of the people of the continent. It is time to leave the dream world of witchcraft and juju money films and come to the real world of Africa and help solve this precarious situation. If they are able to do that and invite their popular colleagues in Europe and America to help, I believe they will eagerly response positively.

The African Football Associations should also ask their national and regional associations to organize friendly matches between their clubs and national teams to raise money. Africans love their football and they will come in droves to watch the Drogbas and Eto’o play anywhere whiles contributing to just causes. We can start by reorganizing the just postponed Ghana-Nigeria match , whiles local friendlies that don't cost too much to organize and can be done very quickly should be organized. How about a friendly match between the political parties of Ghana? NPP vs. NDC with Nana Konadu as the referee with Ursula and Samia man the lines. Just make Ex-Presidents Kuffour and Rawlings the goalkeepers. I am serious. People will pay to come and watch. We will make fun and insult ourselves but at the end of the day, we will be coming together to raise money for a just cause.

The Church is one organization that is good in raising money for the “work of God”. They can be called upon to have special collections for these poor infant Lazaruses who are perishing because of our collective sins. This is the time for the Christian Council, the Catholic Secretariat, and the Pentecostal Associations to come out with a program to help. If we can raise monies form every church through diocese and districts to the national level we will have enough to start with. Being the good Samaritans as they are, if the church wants us to love our neighbor like ourselves, this is the time.

The Muslim community in Africa is a very generous society that has no problem giving out Saraka. The community is made up of very well-to-do people who when called upon to help will gladly do so. Just after the on-going Ramadan, most of them are going to raise money to go on pilgrimage to Mecca to fellowship with their fellow Moslems. The Muslim Council should be asked to come out with a program from the level of every mosque to help solve this unfortunate problem facing the Somalis and I know they will.

The Muslim organizations should also call on the rich Muslim countries to help out. It is amazing how much money they usually raise to fight propaganda and other anti-Islam causes when the need arises. They are singularly responsible for supporting the Palestinian people for all these centuries. Let's call upon them to help their fellow Muslim women and children who have been affected by circumstances beyond their control. This is what the Prophet will have called for if he were to be around.

During the Haiti earthquake disaster, phone numbers of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the respective Christian and Muslim humanitarian organizations were made available to the population which we could call and make donations. The system was set up such that you did not need to talk to anybody, so we did not need to know any other language apart from ours. The moment the phone rings an amount say five dollars is automatically deducted from your accounts. With millions of African now owning cell phones a successful campaign that will ask them to make a call and donate one Ghana cedi will go a long way to help.

Lastly, the African Union should set aside some money from their dues to take care of emergency situations like this. As people who have not been able to take control of our life situations, natural and self-imposed disasters like this have always been part of our lives. For the past few decades, we have dealt with refugees from every corner of the continent due wars and natural disasters. Drought and famine are not new to the middle belt of the continent but we have done nothing about it. Until our individual countries can develop to take care of our individual problems, the collective continental government that the African Union is, should have programs that will alleviate the suffering of our people when the need arises. This will show the world that we are putting our house in order.

Let's surprise the world for the first time and save our brothers and sisters.

Source: Kwame Yeboah