06/12/2012 03:08 pm ET Updated Jun 21, 2012

Sahel Crisis Blogger Series: Share Your Stories

A humanitarian crisis looms in Africa's Sahel region, as drought, war, a food shortage and government corruption have the populations of this sub-Saharan swath braced for disaster.

The U.N. estimates that about 18 million people could be affected in nine countries, from Senegal in the West to Chad in the East.

Others note that the crisis extends even further east, as tensions escalate between Sudan and South Sudan.

The U.N. is appealing for some $146 million in relief aid, especially for the nearly quarter of a million children under 5 suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

HuffPost Impact plans to focus a spotlight on the Sahel region beginning Monday, June 18.

As with any humanitarian crisis, at Impact we want to raise awareness as to how people can help. But this time, we're also looking to celebrate the people and cultures of the area.

By looking to capture not just updates on the humanitarian crisis, but also indelible images of the individuals who live there, we're hoping to paint a vivid portrait of life in this challenged region. In that spirit, we are asking organizations that have presences or individuals who have traveled to any of the 14 countries that comprise the Sahel to share their stories with us. And if you have friends in your social network who have traveled to or work or volunteer for organizations that have connections to these countries, please forward our request to them.

We'll publish news on efforts being made there to stave off the crisis or to improve the lives of those living in the area, as well as positive examples of development, cultural advancements, tech initiatives and signs of promise in general.

The countries that comprise the heart of the Sahel are: Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, and Sudan. Others note that the Sahel extends to include parts of South Sudan, Eritrea, the Gambia, Algeria, Cameroon, and Guinea-Bissau.

Please help us tell the story of the Sahel by contacting HuffPost Impact at