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Here’s How You Can Help These African Countries In the Wake of Recent Natural Disasters

Here’s a comprehensive list of relief efforts to support the African nations that have been affected by natural disasters this month.

Last month, catastrophic natural disasters across Africa have killed hundreds and displaced thousands. Severe flooding has plagued parts of Sierra Leone, Niger, Nigeria, and DR Congo, and these consecutive tragedies reportedly killed 25 times more people than Hurricane Harvey did.

While relief and rescue efforts and hefty celebrity donations in Houston have been able to quell calamity, support survivors, and save lives, the death toll in these African nations continues to rise. Hurricane Harvey killed 50 people, while torrential rainstorms and mudslides in Africa left at least 1,240 dead and over 100,000 displaced—where damages are exacerbated and the tragedies are propelled by years of poor infrastructure, underdeveloped weather monitoring and drainage systems.

In the face of overseas tragedies, people far-removed from sites where natural disasters strike often feel helpless. Whether it's lack of news coverage or lack of resources on how to assist, helplessness prevails when distance is in play. Prominent organizations like the American Red Cross have suspicious track records—in black and brown and impoverished nations especially—and the public trust in charities has waned because of it, spawning a vested interest in more direct, on-the-grounds efforts.

Here’s a comprehensive list of reputable and trusted charities and relief efforts to support the African nations that have been affected by natural disasters this month.

Freetown, Sierra Leone

Three days of intense torrential rains resulted in a mudslide toppling the Regent community in Freetown, Sierra Leone on August 14. It’s been deemed the nation’s most devastating natural disaster in recent years, destroying homes, burying locals, and killing more than 1,000 people while leaving another 600 or so people missing.

  • Global Giving’s Sierra Leone Mudslide Relief Fund sets out to raise $500,000 to aid survivors with food, water, medicine, and other emergency supplies in addition to longer-term recovery assistance. All donations to this fund are said to exclusively support local relief and flood recovery efforts.

The crowdfunding platform states that the long-term impact of this fund has “the potential to build stronger response capacity so that these organizations are better equipped to face future challenges.”

The Washington, D.C.-based organization provides an extensive breakdown of charity details, efforts, and expenses here, and vows to post reports about how funds have been used for the public, for donors, for and subscribers.

Kamara founded Heart Shaped Hands in 2012 to provide scholarships to students in his home country to help offset the cost of education in a direct effort.

The organization states that all donations made through the month of August are set to be matched by Kei Kamara.

  • StreetChild  has launched an emergency flood relief appeal, pledging 100 percent of all donations to be spent immediately on the ground for food, shelter and water. The organization also plans to focus on ensuring that affected children are able to restart school at the start of the school year in September.

The UK charity was established in 2008, and has reportedly helped provide educational opportunities to over 60,000 children across Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Liberia.

  • Salesian Missions set up an emergency camp to provide food, clothes, medical care on the ground in Sierra Leone. Their mudslide relief fund is for immediate support.

Benue, Nigeria

More than 100,000 were forced to flee their homes following massive flooding in the central state of Benue, Nigeria. Close to 3,000 homes have been submerged, leaving thousands of locals homeless. The exact death toll is unknown.

Here are some relief efforts to support Nigeria’s flood survivors:

  • Mission to Makurdi based in Abuja, Nigeria is currently using its Adopt-A-Camp initiative to lead a team of volunteers and medical practitioners to communities affected by recent floods. They are seeking to distribute food, clothes bedding, and housing materials. Their medical outreach effort sets out to provide basic Malaria and blood pressure medical tests, dispensing of drugs, and supply of mosquito nets alongside Benue SEMA (State Emergency Management Agency).
  • LEADBenue in collaboration with Community Links Human Empowerment Initiative is accepting bank account donations and on the grounds donations in Nigeria.
  • Sesor is a Nigerian non-profit that has worked to support survivors of emergencies and internally displaced people since 2009. Sesor also supports nigerian community-building through support for businesses, children’s education, and policy reform within local, state and national governments.

Jidenna has advocated for direct donations to both LEADBenue and Sesor’s relief efforts.

Both Sterling Bank and Lagos-based digital agency Anakle have pledged to donate 50 Naira for every retweet they receive to the Benue flood fund. Sterling Bank says it will now match contributions, amounting to a total of 3,544,300 for relief efforts.

Niamey, Niger

During the last week of August, authorities in Niger’s capital ordered thousands of locals to leave their homes because of serious flooding. In May, the UN warned that 106,000 people in the country would be at risk. Roads have been ruined, buildings have been destroyed, livestock lost, and since the start of rainy season in June, 40 people in Niger have died.

Sources have disclosed that relief efforts in Niger have been informal and organized on the local level. OkayAfrica will be following up on Niger as information becomes available for what can be done overseas. Check back for more information on how you can help.

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More South African Young Men Continue to Die in Coming-of-Age Initiation Ceremonies

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Twenty-one male initiates have already died this initiation season in South Africa, News24 reports. There are concerns that the death toll will continue to rise. While deaths have occurred across the country, the highest number of deaths has been in the Eastern Cape, home of the Xhosa people among whom the initiation ceremonies are most commonly practised.

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The Best African Memes of 2018

Laugh with us into 2019 with OkayAfrica's best African memes of 2018.

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The Black Women Who Made Big Strides in France in 2018

Yes, this was a bad year for many reasons, but we can still celebrate the black women who rose to prominence

Back in 2015, a group of Black women activists appeared in the French media: les afrofems. They were and still are, fighting against police brutality, for better inclusion in the media and to destroy harmful sexual stereotypes surrounding black women among other worthy goals. Since then, more influential Black women have gained a bigger representation in the media. And, even better, some of the afrofems activists, like Laura Nsafou and Amandine Gay, have made films and written books to bring more diversity to the entertainment industry.

2018 has, in many ways, been a year where black women made strides in France, at least in terms of culture. From winning Nobel prizes, to having best selling books and being on top of the charts, Black French women have showed that, no matter how much France wants to keep them under the radar, they're making moves. And, no matter the tragedies and terrible events that have shaped the year, it is something worth celebrating.

France's New Queen of Pop Music

We begin with Aya Nakamura, France's new queen of pop music. Her song Djadja was a summer hit. Everyone from Rihanna, to the French football team who successfully won their second world cup, sang it. Her sophomore album "Nakamura" has been certified gold in France and is still on top of the charts. She is the first French singer to have a number one album in the Netherlands since Edith Piaf in 1961. The last time a black woman was as visible in pop music was in 2004, with Lynsha's single "Hommes...Femmes".

Nakamura has received a huge backlash, mostly due to misogynoir—misogyny directed towards black women where race and gender both play roles. From a French presenter butchering her African first name despite the fact that he can easily pronounce words like "Aliagas", to online trolls calling her ugly and manly when a picture of her wearing no makeup surfaced, to people complaining that she is bringing down the quality of the entire French pop music industry, Nakamura responds to her critics gracefully. Her music is not groundbreaking but her album is full of catchy songs with lyrics using French slang she masters so well that she came up with her own words like "en catchana" (aka doggy style sex). And most importantly, many black girls and women can finally see someone like them in the media getting the success she deserves.

The Nobel Prize Winner

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Another Black French woman has broken records this year: the Guadeloupean writer Maryse Condé who won the Alternative Nobel Prize, a prize meant to replace the Nobel Prize in Literature, after the scandal that the Swedish Academy of Literature faced last year. Condé wrote her first novel at only 11 years old and has been prolific ever since. A former professor of French literature at Columbia University, she has published more than 20 books since the 1970s, exploring the complex relationships within the African diaspora. "Segu", her most famous novel, is about the impact of the slave trade and Abrahamic religion on the Bambara empire in Mali in the 19th century. Condé's work is radical and she remains committed to writing feminist texts exploring the link between gender, race and class, as well as exploring the impact of colonialism. Condé is a pillar of Caribbean literature and it's taken long enough for her work has been acknowledged by the Nobel prize committee.

The Children's Books Writers

From Comme un Million de Papillon Noir

And finally, 2018 has been the year where France's children's literature industry has finally understood how important, for the public, writers and publishers, being inclusive and diverse was. From Laura Nsafou's Comme un Million de Papillon Noir, a best selling book about a young black girl learning to love her natural hair which sold more than 6000 copies, to Neiba Je-sais-tout: Un Portable dans le Cartable, the second book of Madina Guissé published this year after a successful crowdfunding campaign, there are more and more children's and young adult books with non white protagonists. In France, there are still no stats about how diversity is doing, but in America, in 2017, only 7 percent of writers of children's literature were either Black, Latino or Native American.

There's still much to accomplish in France for the Black community to have better representation in the media, politics and all walks of life, but important strides have been accomplished this year, and it make me hopeful for what 2019 and the following years have in store.

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