UN Messenger of Peace HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, visited Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, yesterday to encourage an effective local and global response to catastrophic food shortages.

“As many as 20 million people in the region around the Horn of Africa are suffering from food shortages that have been exacerbated by the prolonged drought. One in every 10 Kenyans needs outside help, and malnutrition rates among young children are rising at an alarming rate,” Princess Haya said. “We must do more.”

Princess Haya’s visit included meetings with President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to discuss strategies to meet Kenya’s food needs. She also received briefings at an urban school feeding programme, the Haruma Nursing Home Maternal and Child Health project and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, the largest ongoing private effort to promote agricultural production in Africa.

The trip, organized with help from the World Food Programme (WFP), is in keeping with Princess Haya’s focus on alleviating hunger and malnutrition within the timetable established by the UN Millennium Development Goals.

The WFP, the UN’s food assistance agency, is working with the government of Kenya and humanitarian partners to provide food to 3.8 million Kenyans. In response to the growing food crisis, the WFP expanded its school meals programme to reach nearly 1.2 million Kenyan children.

While in Nairobi, Princess Haya also visited the Mathare Youth Sports Association in support of the UN Sport for Development and Peace programme. The youth group uses sports training to promote overall education and to help Kenyan children stay in school.