Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, has appointed the former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi as special envoy to the Sahel region, which covers parts of Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Algeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan, South Sudan and Eritrea.
I think we can all agree that we would have done whatever was in our power to prevent the 2010 Haiti earthquake or the 2004 Indonesian tsunami. Yet, today, three times as many people are at risk of famine in Africa than those who perished in both those disasters combined.
Infrastructure development projects like the Alatona Irrigation Project can help foster food security and alleviate poverty through economic growth. And the components that led to the program's success in a time of such scarcity are replicable.
We are painfully aware of one cruel, ironic fact of the Sahel food crisis: many acres of fertile fields are littered with landmines and explosive remnants of war, rendering them too dangerous for seeding.
Only time will tell how the poorest of the poor will fare throughout this crisis. What we do know is that aid to this ultra-poor population is critical to their survival and that steps need to be taken to ensure that the poorest in these affected areas do not get overlooked.
In Niger, NCBA CLUSA's Moringa VC project is taking full advantage of the benefits this plant has to offer to the people of Niger. The Mission of Moringa VC was to rapidly expand the production of moringa and the marketing, processing, and consumption of moringa leaves in Niger.
Though we can now clearly see the patterns of increased frequency and severity of droughts in the Sahel region, for years we've responded to each drought as if it was a discrete crisis, and treated the symptoms rather than the disease.
Unfortunately, drought in the Sahel region is a reality that is not going away. But drought does not need to lead to hunger. Prevention is key, and this means effective early warnings and community resilience.
The reason for my travel to this remote location of just a few hundred people is simple: As the UN World Food Programme (WFP) Niger Country Director, I am on my way to Touqfine to find out exactly what the villagers are eating this hunger season to survive.
Each of Nigeria's 158 million people has hopes, dreams and aspirations. Each and every one wants to achieve his or her goals to make a better life for themselves and their families. That is why Books For Africa is in Nigeria.
There is strong evidence that supporting rural communities to invest in agroecological approaches makes them less vulnerable to natural hazards -- including drought -- that threaten their lives and their livelihoods.
The success of school-based feeding programs even in relatively good times can be dramatic. It's not just that they can erase malnutrition, they help reduce illiteracy. Well-fed children do better in school and miss fewer days.
After my recent trip to Niger, however, I was so struck by the state of the land and the spirit of the people I met that I wanted to do something I've never done before: tell you about the photos I took.
The crisis in the Sahel has gone on for far too long, with far too little coverage from media around the world. This means that women and their families have been suffering silently while the situation continues to worsen.
I was recently in Mauritania, and I have rarely seen anything that has left me as frustrated and saddened as what I saw there. There's a severe drought in the Sahel region of West and Central Africa that is putting more than one million children's lives at risk.
The ability to predict seasonal changes in rainfall and temperatures, if effectively applied, could be one of the best adaptation strategies to climate variability and climate change in the Sahel and across sub-Saharan Africa.