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USAID Launches 'FWD' Campaign To Raise Awareness Of Famine, Drought In Horn Of Africa

The PBS NewsHour blog “The Rundown” features an interview with USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, in which he discusses a new website initiative called “FWD,” “aimed at giving viewers a better sense of the scope of the famine in the Horn of Africa — its worst in more than 60 years.” The site includes infographics and data maps “intended to contextualize the problem by showing the recent increase in food prices, where internally displaced peoples camps are located, and where various aid groups are operating,” according to the blog (Epatko, 9/20).

“FWD” stands for famine, war and drought, “[b]ut it also stands for our call to action — that people get informed, get engaged and forward this information on to their friends and families,” Shah said in a USAID press release. The website is part of a national awareness campaign developed with the Ad Council that also includes traditional media ads, an “extensive social media program via USAID’s Facebook and Twitter channels, as well as blogs and other sites,” according to the release (9/19).

In “The Rundown” interview, Shah also addressed non-communicable diseases (NCDs), saying it is appropriate for the international community to address the issues surrounding treatment and prevention. “But I also believe that it’s important that we stay focused, and the challenge and opportunity largely comes from communicable disease management. If we’re going to save four million kids’ lives a year and do it at a very high degree of cost-efficiency and effectiveness, that’s HIV, malaria, communicable diseases and respiratory and diarrheal illness. So we need to maintain a focus on that to get that job done,” he added (9/20).