Right to Food and Housing: a Southern Africa Perspective

Quoting the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate Dr Akinwumi Adesina’s “Vision Statement”, economic diversification and lasting wealth creation begin with sustainable food production, vibrant agriculture sector and decent housing for all.

The right to food and decent housing as enshrined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should address the plight of women, children, homeless people, person with disabilities, displaced persons and migrants. For this reason, international human right law recognizes everyone’s right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate housing and food.

To achieve these principles, volunteers can provide their valuable contributions. Volunteering in projects related to food, housing and sustainable lifestyle enables communities to establish productive environments, by providing food and promoting healthy lifestyles and economic integration. In the workcamps of our movement, we have used food gardening as a transformational tool to meet environmental challenges in our communities. The volunteer community-based activities help, protect and restore ecosystems; furthermore, they address the climate change that we are currently facing.

Sustainable food and housing is advocated in SDG’s goals of the United Nations. SDG goal 1 (No poverty), SDG goal 2 (Zero hunger), SDG goal 12 (Responsible production and consumption), all highlight that, as responsible global citizens, we have to ensure that all development goals be addressed all around the world. Climate change and its impact ought to be taken into consideration by anyone who participates in sustainable food production in order to preserve and protect the environment for future generations. Information and communication technologies must be factored in, as they guarantee food and decent housing especially in our Africa region at large.

In South Africa, the support for local economy is a crucial priority. There is a need to have a deliberate strategy for youth and women development in agriculture, building initiatives that address everyone’s right to food and decent housing.

In conclusion, the right to food and housing, especially in Africa, has to be approached from all angles. We, as volunteer workcamp movements, are not able to do this alone; companies and governments, too, have to set their priorities on behalf of the whole community. Nobody should go to bed on an empty stomach or be deprived of decent housing. We have to continue addressing all these issues through awareness campaigns and advocacy.

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