08/23/2011 07:31 pm ET Updated Oct 24, 2011

The Horn of Africa: Women Play a Pivotal Role

Over the past several days, we have been bombarded with horrifying stories and images of those affected by the current famine in the Horn of Africa. To date, more than 29,000 children under the age of 5 have died as a result. The U.N. estimates that nearly 3 million Somalis are in urgent need of food. Nearly 400,000 are living in the Daadab refugee camp just across the Somalia boarder in Kenya -- and hundreds more arrive every day. The camp was originally built to accommodate approximately 90,000. Tune into any major television news source and you'll see direct reports and stories from the field of mothers burying their children, fathers leading their families across the desolate African desert in search of a new life, a renewed sense of hope.

It is beyond disturbing to know that this catastrophe could have been prevented and while aid has been pouring in from around the world the need is still great and there is still much more that needs to be done.

Once again, African women have risen to the occasion to provide for their families, even if it means they go with out. African women play a pivotal role in their communities. They are not only the caregivers but also the emotional backbone, and political leaders. They are expected to be strong for their families when so often it would seem easier to give up. That is why the Walking Africa campaign is so important. The goal is to raise awareness for African women, the significant role they play in society and ultimately be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as a collective whole. The stories of what these women face on a regular basis are heartbreaking and inspiring.

There is more to the Walking Africa campaign than just distinction and notoriety. It is about giving African women the recognition that they deserve for their selfless contributions, compassion, and ability to remain strong in the face of adversity. It is time for African women to have a voice and it's time for the world to listen.

~Written by: Clarissa Burt with Tristan Topps