Jon Self is a Program Coordinator on World Renew's International Disaster Response team. He oversees the communications about international disaster response programs and manages the International Relief Manager program.
Prior to World Renew, he lived in Burkina Faso for one year, working with a local international development organization as an adviser on strategic planning. Originally from Orangeville, Ontario, Jon holds an undergraduate degree in International Development, with a French Language Certificate, from the University of Waterloo. Jon lives in Burlington and loves music, traveling and French cuisine.
“Like the four countries facing extreme hunger crises today,” writes Jason Patinkin, a reporter with IRIN, “the famine that gripped Ethiopia from 1983 to 1985 struggled for attention until it was far too late.”
In the end, nearly one million Ethiopians died during that famine.
Striking Haiti’s southwestern coast on October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew left behind a trail of devastation. Enormous trees uprooted. Homes toppled to their foundation. Bridges collapsed. Streets flooded. It was nearly a week until some of the most remote mountain communities were accessible. Six months later, many families are still putting the pieces of their life back together.
Heavy rain and mudslides are having deadly effects throughout Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. For weeks, these South American nations have been inundated with rainfall which has caused severe flooding and mudslides, affecting over 1 million people.
Over one million South Sudanese families have already escaped the violence and famine and are taking refuge in northern Uganda. While the government of Uganda is welcoming these refugees, the infrastructure needs are great. Bidibidi is a refugee camp that has been created in Uganda since the outbreak of fighting last year. In the span of just 6 months this camp, which now stretches 22 kilometers, has become a home for nearly 300,000 people. One of the greatest needs in Bidibidi is proper sanitation.
Can you imagine the upheaval of being forced to leave everything familiar—friends, family, and all that gives you comfort—for a completely foreign environment? And even though years pass, you are still unable to return home. Before you were forced to move you had a steady income and were able to provide for your family. Now you don’t know if you’ll even have enough for your next meal.
Conflict in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen has resulted in over 20 million people facing severe hunger. In parts of north-central South Sudan, famine has been declared. This is the first famine that has been declared since 2011, when a quarter of a million people died during a famine in Somalia.
This week we travel 12,000 km to Nazaret, a community in north-eastern Nicaragua. Lucia Méndez, a mother of four, is part of World Renew’s food security project in Nazaret, in partnership with Accion Médica Cristiana (AMC) and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Through this project, Lucia is learning how to rotate crops, make better use of her land, and prepare her own organic fertilizers, compost and pesticides.