Rising armed conflict, deteriorating security, widespread poverty and the impact of climate change are posing a real threat to countries in the Central Sahel. Attacks on civilians and infrastructure and conflict between the state and non-state armed groups have led to massive population displacement across Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
All forcibly displaced people need urgent life-saving assistance. Most of them are hosted by communities who are often deprived and extremely vulnerable themselves. Food needs are inexorably on the rise at a time when humanitarian access is becoming increasingly challenging.
Growing insecurity is threatening gains made in various sectors including food security and nutrition, disrupting food and trade flows. Having barely recovered from the acute food crisis that hit the Sahel in 2018, many vulnerable families are now affected by violence.
Prompt humanitarian action is now essential to save lives. Addressing the growing humanitarian needs while at the same time safeguarding the progress made in recent years in building communities’ resilience represents a tremendous challenge.
The World Food Programme (WFP) aims to couple its life-saving humanitarian interventions with increased investment in activities that shore up livelihoods, restore ecosystems, create jobs and build social cohesion, with the aim to transform lives, end hunger, reduce unsafe migration, educate young people and stem conflict.
WFP’s funding requirements in the three Central Sahel countries amount to over US$ 150 million through March 2020.
What the WFP is doing to respond to the emergency in the Sahel region
WFP operations include: emergency food assistance to internally displaced persons, host communities, refugees and people affected by the lean season; school meals including support to a local yogurt production project; treatment and prevention of malnutrition; food assistance for assets for small scale agriculture; support to value chains; micro and macro-insurance; national capacity development; provision of information and communication technology, logistics and other support to partners as needed.
Like other Sahelian countries, Mali experiences high levels of food and nutrition insecurity linked to adverse agro-climatic conditions and high levels of poverty. The situation is exacerbated by conflict. WFP provides a package of activities ranging from emergency response to strengthening of communities’ resilience to shocks.
WFP provides assistance to crisis-affected populations, including refugees and internally displaced persons, through food assistance, emergency school meals and specialized nutritious food for children. WFP also supports vulnerable school children during the school year through school feeding activities that stimulate local production. WFP has been successfully implementing life-changing activities, including the development or rehabilitation of assets, climate risk management measures and local purchases, through a community-based approach.