The hunger crisis in East Africa

In 2022, levels of food insecurity continued to increase in Eastern Africa, with 82 million people suffering from hunger.[1] Levels of malnutrition and food insecurity have kept increasing with over 7.3 million children in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia likely to be acutely malnourished. A report by the Uganda Human Rights Commission shows that the food crisis in Uganda has also continued to escalate, with over 2000 deaths registered in Karamoja in 2022 due to starvation and hunger associated illnesses. Between June and August 2022, around 1.8 million people in Karamoja, Teso sub-regions, and refugee-hosting districts of Uganda experienced high levels of acute food insecurity (Integrated Food security phase classification (IPC Phase 3 and above), including over 250,000 people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). Between October 2022 – February 2023, about 964,000 people which is 11% of a population of 8.7 million people in Tanzania Mainland are estimated to be experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity. The multiple shocks and insecurities the region is facing could further deteriorate an already fragile food security situation.

[1] Eastern Africa Region: Regional Food Security & Nutrition Update 2022.


In constructing the future’s food systems, it’s imperative to place young individuals at the forefront. Their active involvement and leadership play an intrinsic role in various facets of ensuring food security for everyone. The diversity of voices brought forth by young people contributes to policy alterations and spearheads sustainable transformations in food systems, ultimately addressing the food crisis. The collaboration between Hungry for Action and Restless Development emerged from the necessity to facilitate meaningful youth engagement in tackling hunger. Through the Hungry for Action Restless Youth Campaign, leveraging Restless Development’s network and the potency of the Youth Collective, there’s an opportunity to mobilize young individuals and shape the agenda, amplifying their voices to instigate a pivotal shift in the ongoing regional food crisis.

In November 2023, a collaborative initiative between Hungry for Action and Restless Development was established to conduct a campaign engaging young individuals from East Africa. The campaign’s primary aim is to combat the global food crisis by fostering public awareness, with the ultimate goal of influencing decision-makers. 

We identified and enlisted 30 young leaders from civil society organizations (CSOs), encompassing 15 individuals from Kenya and 15 from Tanzania between the ages of 18 and 28. These selected individuals comprised a diverse cohort, including young advocates proactively addressing hunger-related challenges and comprehensively studying food security dynamics within their communities amid the pressures of climate change. The recruited participants represent a spectrum of stakeholders, namely:

  • Youth leaders affiliated with CSOs
  • Climate activists
  • Media representatives
  • Farmers, particularly those involved in cooperatives.

Tanzania Restless Youth Team

Kenya Restless Youth Team







Key Activities
  1. Engaging in a three-day training workshop focused on advocacy skills development.
  2. Arranging an X Space reflecting post-COP28 on the Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action and the role of youth.
  3. Hosting an in-country meeting aimed at dialoguing with policymakers regarding the significant challenges young individuals encounter amidst the global food crisis. This is to be conducted in January 2024
  4. Identifying and nominating two food champions within the East African Legislative Assembly. This is to be carried out between January and March 2024.

Three-day workshop

We organized a comprehensive three-day training workshop, assembling members of the youth campaign team to fortify their skills and knowledge in advocacy.

Day 1:

  • We conducted an orientation session detailing the scope and objectives of the Hungry for Action global campaign.
  • We collaborated with young activists to co-create and contextualize the campaign, strategizing its implementation in Kenya and Tanzania.

Day 2 and Day 3:

  • We delivered tailored capacity-building sessions focusing on advocacy techniques encompassing digital and traditional campaigning.
  • We provided media training to equip participants for potential interactions with media outlets.

Training Outcomes:

During the sessions, participants collectively devised several advocacy concepts, reflecting the imminent food crisis in their respective communities. In Tanzania, the teams developed advocacy asks around addressing child wasting and access to finance for youth. In Kenya, their advocacy plans centered around the high cost of food and the poor participation of young people in agriculture.



X  Space

Restless Development will host an X Space on 18 December 2023 with five speakers from diverse backgrounds. They will reflect on commitments made during COP28 and the role of youth in the transformation of food systems. These include members of the Hungry for Action youth campaign team from Kenya and Tanzania, a policy maker from Tanzania, and a representative from the SDG2 advocacy hub.

About Restless Development

Restless Development is a non profit global agency. We support the collective power of young leaders to create a better world. We are independently registered and governed in nine countries (India, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, UK, USA, Zambia and Zimbabwe) bound together by our vision for youth power. We are a global team of more than 200 people based in 13 countries, implementing programmes across 41 countries, with a wider network of hundreds of partners across Africa, Asia and Latin America, and over 4,000 youth-led organisations spread across the globe under the umbrella of the Youth Collective. Restless Development is committed to creating an agency that paves the way on youth-led change and walks the talk on power shifting.

Restless Development has built a strong reputation as a global leader in youth-led change. As part of our power shifting approach, we have supported thousands of young people to co-design research, strategies, campaigns and programmes, in addition to providing training and capacity building to inform and influence national and global decision making. We have worked with leading institutions, including bilaterals such as FCDO, USAID and DANIDA, a range of multilaterals, including UNESCO and UNICEF, and PNGOs such as Oxfam and ActionAid.

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