Responding to the pandemic


The growing climate crisis                  continued to wreack havoc in 2021. 

Doughts, floods and cyclones hit African communities, economies and ecosystems hard.

The Horn of Africa region experienced its third consecutive year of failed rains, prolonging the worst drought in several decades.

This drought saw crops fail, livestock die and fishing waters deplete, all of which had a severe impact on food security.

The consequences were terrifying for millions of people who experienced extreme hunger in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia as income and food sources withered. In Somalia alone, one million children were reportedly ‘acutely’ malnourished – the most severe and deadly form of malnourishment.

Climate emergencies also contributed to the spread of crop-threatening pests. In Southern Africa, heavy rains exacerbated an African migratory locust outbreak in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe while Eastern Africa saw a desert locust upsurge that was gradually reduced due to control operations and limited rainfall.

These factors all combined to mar humanitarian progress. As families saw their crops fail and income reduced, for example, they were forced to make difficult decisions about which children could access education, with young girls often losing out. And where resources are scant, the risk of conflict over access to them grows.

Self Help Africa continued to work with its local partners across Africa and beyond to help families on both a short term and longer-term basis – providing emergency supplies and vouchers to help families buy the essentials for survival and ensuring farmers, often women, had access to climate smart farming methods that help nourish soil, conserve moisture, harvest water and use available water resources most efficiently. We provided training, inputs and information ahead of the next planting season, developing and distributing drought-tolerant seed varieties, promoting alternate crops and supporting tree planting schemes.

The Horn of Africa region experienced its third consecutive year of failed rains.

Our response

Working with our local teams, partners, government ministries and UN agencies, Self Help Africa supported efforts to disseminate information and promote safety measures to curb the pandemic in the countries where we work. 

Covid-19-related awareness-raising was embedded into our programme activities, while handwashing, sanitising facilities and masks were distributed to our staff, partners and smallholders. Mobile phone services were also used to disseminate information on Covid-19 prevention measures. 

In Kenya and Uganda, we supported farmers and agricultural cooperatives to overcome market disruptions by securing new markets for their crops during lockdown. While in Malawi, Self Help Africa distributed information leaflets, soap, jerry cans and other vital equipment. 

Self Help Africa has worked to protect vulnerable communities during this pandemic


the Irish Emergency Alliance (IEA)


RAISED IN the first appeal of


Self Help Africa is a founder member of the Irish Emergency Alliance (IEA) – which in September launched its inaugural appeal in response to the pandemic amongst vulnerable populations.

More than €300,000 was raised by the IEA’s first appeal

Self Help Africa used funds to purchase and distribute masks, soap and information, together with food and other assistance to affected communities in northern Kenya.

Self Help Africa has worked to protect vulnerable communities during this pandemic