West Africa food crisis: our response
With your support, we are ensuring people in remote villages have enough to eat.
We are running health centres for malnourished children in Niger.
We are paying people in cash or food to work on projects like half-moon fields, which prevent water from draining away.
We're making sure refugees from Mali have food and supplies - like pots, pans and clothes.
"If you go to my grain store, you will see it is empty. We have no food until October." -- Hamani Fodi, Niger
More than 18 million people across Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Chad are facing a devastating food crisis. We have pledged £400,000 to respond.
A combination of failed rains and insect infestations led to a disastrous harvest in many parts of West Africa in 2011. Food stocks that should have lasted all year ran out after just a few months. Today, because grain prices are exceptionally high, many families are struggling to afford even one meal a day.
Thanks to your support for our emergency work, we responded to the food crisis before it hit the headlines – and we are continuing to ensure that people in remote villages have enough to eat. We have been working with our Church partners in Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Chad to:
• Run nutrition centres, providing treatment and food supplements for severely malnourished babies and mothers
• Pay people in cash or food to work on projects that benefit their communities - like improving farmland to ensure that water is retained in the soil.
• Supply food directly to the most vulnerable, including older people, widows and families caring for orphans
• Organise seed fairs so that farmers can plant in time for the next harvest.
• Support village granaries, which means that villages can buy grain when it’s cheap and sell it to individual villagers at subsidised prices when times are tough. Village granaries are a hugely effective long-term solution to food crises, enabling communities to support themselves year after year.
• Help people affected by the recent floods in Niger, which have damaged crops and forced hundreds of thousands to leave their homes.
We are also responding to the refugee crisis caused by fighting in Mali, providing food, shelter, clothes and kitchen kits to thousands of people who have been forced from their homes.
Archbishop Michel Cartateguy of Niamey said:
“In the name of the Church of Niger, I very warmly thank all those who have initiated, supported and implemented this response. The people of Niger and its political and religious leaders have told me of their heartfelt gratitude, which I convey to you respectfully today. With my thanks and prayers.”
Along with other aid agencies, we recently commissioned a report - Escaping the hunger crisis: pathways to resilience in the Sahel - that calls for long-term action to address what has become a chronic crisis in the region.