Capturing the Faces of Famine

Kenyan photographer Amanda Koech is raising awareness on behalf of those struck by famine in Somalia

Somalia lost more than 4 percent of its total population in a famine in 2011. More than half of the lives lost were children under the age of five, and photographer and writer Amanda Koech was there to witness it firsthand.

"Hope is what the families in Somalia need," Koech says. "I know because it was what my family once needed too."

When the famine hit Somalia in 2011, she was reminded of the plight she and her family faced when Kenya suffered a drought when she was five. Although her parents were farmers, money was scarce, and they often had to rely on the support of charities that would bring food and water to her and her six other siblings. Much of her childhood was spent indoors in order to conserve body energy and avoid dehydration.

"Hope is what the families in Somalia need. I know because it was what my family once needed too."

"I remember the long, hot days during the drought because we were stopped from going outside to play. This made my days very long and empty," Amanda says.

Today Amanda serves as a World Vision communications officer, using her love for photography, writing (follow her blog), and video to help gather information about life-threatening situations and send it out to readers around the world.

When Amanda moved to Somalia to work with World Vision, she was also trained in Emergency Response communication so she could be equipped with security, first aid, and stress management skills, which is something she believes that Somalians are in need of to get through this time of hardship.

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