In focus: a food photographer explores chronic hunger in the Sahel

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Today is World Food day – a day of action dedicated to tackling global hunger.

To mark the day, the Red Cross teamed up with the food photographer Yuki Sugiura. She usually photographs food and cooking for companies such as Waitrose, House & Gardens magazine and The Guardian.

But for us, Yuki turned her lens on a huge issue that is seldom talked about in the news – chronic hunger in the Sahel, a region of Africa that borders the Sahara. Across the Sahel, 7 million people don’t have enough food and 1.5 million children are acutely malnourished.

The result is a collection of photography mixing food, cookware and portraits from Niger, a country in the Sahel. Together they combine to tell a very different food story from the beautiful meals Yuki is used to.

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MapSwipe 2.0: How a mobile app can help save lives

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Three people smile as they work at laptop computers at a mapathon sponsored by Missing Maps.

A Missing Maps mapathon, © Mile91/Ben Langdon

In 2015, MapSwipe began as a solution to a complex question: how do we better identify where communities and people are, allowing mapping to be more efficient and effective?

Using a simple mobile app, volunteers can swipe through a series of satellite images, tapping in areas where they find features.

MapSwipe can be used anywhere, at any time, which provides an easy access point for individuals to contribute to the Missing Maps project without being restricted to their laptop.

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An hour in the life of a charity shop volunteer

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British Red Cross charity shop volunteers Sue, Mellissa and Rachel stand with their arms around each other .

British Red Cross charity shop volunteers: Sue, Mellissa (centre) and Rachel© British Red Cross

As a recent volunteer at my local British Red Cross charity shop, I want to share my experience. Above all, I want to encourage others to join me in volunteering for a fantastic cause!

Like many, I work full time so finding the time to volunteer can be challenging.

Fortunately, the British Red Cross is extremely accommodating and there is no minimum commitment time-wise. For example, I volunteered on my lunch hour at my local furniture and electrical shop in Redhill, Surrey.

As a passionate writer, I also blog for the British Red Cross. Through my writing, I help to connect readers to the cause and what the British Red Cross does.

I have always loved writing, and it’s great that I can use my passion to contribute towards something so important.

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Dreams and hard work: refugee journalists share their stories

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Ahmad accepts his Scottish Refugee Journalism award.

Ahmad accepting his award, © Paul Chappells/British Red Cross

A life lived without a voice is like a bird without wings.

            – Mada, VOICES Ambassador, Glasgow

Refugees know better than anyone what issues they face. Recently, the Refugee Festival Scotland Media Awards gave refugees the chance to celebrate their own experiences in their own words.

Many were members of the VOICES Network, a British Red Cross project that helps refugees speak out for change.

Here are some of their stories.

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How tackling loneliness at its core could reduce the burden on public services

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A man sits alone at an empty table in his kitchen with a hot drink. He has been helped by the British Red Cross loneliness service.

© Simon Rawles/British Red Cross

Zoë Abrams is Executive Director of Communications at British Red Cross and Co-chair of the Loneliness Action Group

At the Red Cross, we believe that connected communities are most resilient and able to withstand crisis. In these times of political uncertainty, it is positive to see the new civil society minister prioritising building more resilient communities.

With an astonishing one in five people in the UK saying they feel often or always lonely, this is a huge issue. The negative impacts are not only felt by individuals who are lacking meaningful connections, but it also influences the wider health and wellbeing of communities.

Through our leadership of the Loneliness Action Group  – a network of over 50 civil society organisations and businesses  – we’ve worked in partnership with the UK government and held them to account for the commitments they’ve made to tackle this modern epidemic.

It’s in that spirit that we have today published a report on progress made against the government’s loneliness strategy.

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Knowing first aid helped Scarlett save her father’s life

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It was a peaceful day in Gloucester. Richard was working out in his home gym. His daughter Scarlett and her friend were hanging out in the living room.

But when Richard became unresponsive and stopped breathing, Scarlett used the first aid skills her dad had taught her to save his life.

“I complained to Scarlett about feeling ill. She offered to fetch me a glass of water so I went upstairs to lie down,” Richard said.

“When she returned, I’d collapsed on the bed and I wasn’t breathing. She said my face had turned blue.”

Luckily, Richard and his wife are both paramedics. They knew the importance of first aid and taught Scarlett how to do chest compressions when she was young.

“Scarlett began by moving me off the bed and tilting my head back to clear my airway.

“After looking, listening and feeling for breath, she called 999. An operator helped her by counting out a rhythm for her to perform chest compressions.

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Listening to the voices of the people we help

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A mobile cinema in Uganda provides a unique and engaging way for communities to get more information about Ebola and how to prevent and protect themselves from the disease.

A mobile cinema in Uganda provides information about Ebola.

Question: How do you know what someone really needs in a crisis?

Answer: You ask them.

Community engagement and accountability is an approach to delivering aid that emphasises the importance of participation and communication with communities.

Now the Red Cross have launched a new tool to help humanitarians become better at listening to the people they help.

Funded by the UK’s Department for International Development, our new Community Engagement hub brings together information and expertise from across the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement as well as other humanitarian organisations. It is available in English, Spanish, French and Arabic.

We thought we’d celebrate the hub’s launch with a quick potted tour of our community engagement work around the world.

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I want my pictures to help refugees from Myanmar

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Dil Seher, who fled violence in Myanmar and now lives in a refugee camp in Bangladesh, holds a photograph of her husband and child.

Dil Seher, a widow, holds a picture of her missing husband, © Farzana Hossen/British Red Cross

Tragedy, hope and ordinary days: photographer Farzana Hossen reveals what life is like in the world’s largest refugee camp. It’s now home to 740,000 people who fled Myanmar for Bangladesh two years ago.

I have visited the camp many times. At the beginning of the emergency, what I saw horrified me. People were just lying on the street and dying in front of my eyes.

There were dead bodies with children standing to one side watching, crying. Many had lost their parents, whether through death or when they fled.

I was left feeling helpless, a situation where you are exposed to so much suffering that you feel there are just too many people to help. Of course, I wanted to, and did in the way I could.

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