Glastonbury veteran Baaba Maal has become Oxfam’s newest Global Ambassador. The Senegalise singer will be joining Oxfam’s other high profile Ambassadors to campaign, fundraise and generate publicity for Oxfam around the world.
And Baaba Maal wasted no time in speaking out with Oxfam on the food crisis which is affecting West and Central Africa. He said: ‘I am truly honoured to be taking up the role of Oxfam Global Ambassador having seen the work that Oxfam is doing in West and Central Africa to try to avert the crisis in the region. And I will continue to add my voice to their call for an urgent response to the food crisis in the region. Nobody should die from hunger in the 21st century.’
Eighteen million people are threatened by the food crisis in the Sahel region of West and Central Africa, 850,000 of whom live in Baaba Maal’s home country of Senegal.
Earlier this month Baaba Maal visited Matam in Northern Senegal with Oxfam where the effects of drought have hit hard. He said: ‘Three months ago I travelled to Mauritania with Oxfam and was shocked by how bad things were. But I have just returned from a neighboring region of Senegal and found that already things are so much worse. As well as the acute lack of food we saw children struggling to find water to drink. Everywhere is dry, wells have dried up and dead animals are littered everywhere.’
The food crisis which has been brought about by low rainfall, poor harvests, a lack of pasture and rising food prices, is only set to escalate. The UN estimates that already 6 million people are already living in severe food insecurity across the region, and that one million children are at risk of severe acute malnutrition.
Claire Lewis, Oxfam Global Ambassador Programme Manager said: ‘We are so fortunate to have Baaba Maal as an Oxfam Global Ambassador speaking out on this crisis. He is hugely respected as an artist, both in Africa and across the world, and we hope that his words will help to galvanise governments into action. Funds are urgently needed now to prevent the situation in West and Central Africa turning into a catastrophe.’