In the Sahel, extreme poverty, climate change, armed conflict and insecurity continue to threaten the lives of millions already living on the brink. These interdependent drivers are behind the staggering levels of structural, chronic and acute vulnerability present in the region. Where the chronic seasonal cycle is broken, progress and success can be seen. Where conflict hits, hard-won gains are quickly lost and new challenges appear.
Communities across the region remain highly vulnerable. In 2017, around 30 million people are expected to face food insecurity, and almost 12 million of them at crisis and emergency levels. Pockets of pasture deficits have been observed in certain areas of Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, and risks of locusts have been identified in Mauritania and neighboring areas. The situation of people living in the conflict-affected regions of Mali and the Lake Chad Basin, is particularity critical.
In 2017, in the more stable regions of the Sahel such as Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Senegal, where needs are driven by chronic vulnerability, humanitarian action has been fully aligned with resilience and development frameworks.
Lake Chad Basin: The scale of suffering remains huge and is expected to grow: around 11 million people will require assistance in 2017. Humanitarian partners have requested US$1.5 billion to provide aid to 8.2 million people. While the response strategy focuses us on providing emergency, life-saving assistance, humanitarian actors are also calling for a collaborative approach to help address the deeper causes of the Lake Chad Basin crisis that include abject poverty, the impact of climate change, rapid population growth and under-investment in social services. At the Oslo conference on 24 Feb 2017, 14 donors pledged $458 million for relief in 2017 and an additional $214 million was announced for 2018 and beyond. (OCHA, 24 Feb 2017)
Mali: Needs remain high with more than 3.5 million people being food insecure and some 852,000 people in need of nutrition assistance. More than 37,000 people remain internally displaced. The majority of those in need of assistance are in Mali’s northern region.
For 2017, the humanitarian community will require US$ 2.66 billion to help 15 million people, across 8 countries. (OCHA, 7 Dec 2016)
Appeals & Funding
A violent eight-year conflict originating in Nigeria has intensified in the last four years and spread across borders into Niger, Chad and Cameroon, resulting in Africa’s biggest humanitarian and protection crisis.
The ongoing conflict with Boko Haram in West Africa has pushed the number of people facing the threat of severe hunger to more than 6 million according to the latest assessments, say 15 humanitarian organisations.
The warning comes as governments and donors meet to talk about the humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad Basin region at the UN General Assembly in New York on the 23 September.
Victims of War Urgently Need Protection and Humanitarian Assistance
Editor's Note: The following is a joint statement issued and signed on June 24th, 2016 by 12 international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) with operations in Niger in response to recent attacks on civilians. The INGO signatories to the statement are Oxfam, CARE, Help-Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe, Save the Children, Action Against Hunger, International Rescue Committee, CISP, COOPI-Cooperazione Internazionale, Concern Worldwide, ACTED, Mercy Corps, and Plan International.
Three thousand and five hundred children in Mali are receiving free birth certificates following a sustained Plan project in the Timbuktu region.
Plan has already provided birth certificates to 500 children in the region through a previous project in 2014. The present initiative is targeting mostly IDPs and returning refugees in 30 communities and districts affected by the conflict in northern Mali, in the Timbuktu region.
No certificate, no future
January 2014: The occupation of northern Mali changed the lives of all those who lived under its militant rule, but children were the most vulnerable.
In Timbuktu, Plan Mali has created child-friendly spaces where children can safely play, dance and learn within a supervised space to help them recover from the conflict.
Alors que l'appel pour le Sahel des Nations Unies se tient ce lundi 3 février 2014 à Rome, 11 organisations humanitaires tirent la sonnette d'alarme sur la situation alimentaire extrêmementcritiquedanslenord du Mali et appellent à uneaugmentation immédiate du financement de l'aide humanitaire d'urgence.
Plus de 800 000 personnes ont besoin d'une assistance alimentaire immédiate au Mali.
Bamako, Mali: Ahead of the Sahel Appeal to be launched by the United Nations on the 3rd February 2014 in Rome, 11 humanitarian agencies warn that northern Mali is set to face another serious food crisis unless funds are rapidly mobilised.
Posted by Jimmy Tuhaise, Plan Emergency Response Manager
Jimmy Tuhaise Ahead of World Humanitarian Day on 19 August, Emergency Response Manager Jimmy Tuhaise blogs about the impact of Plan’s work with children in conflict-hit Myanmar and Mali.
I’ve been doing this job for over 10 years. I like humanitarian work because it saves lives. What you do for a child within the first few weeks of an emergency or disaster makes a difference to the rest of their life.
Posted by Nigel Chapman, Plan Chief Executive Officer
5 June 2013, Burkina Faso: Some 280 kilometres north west from Ouagadougou lies Gouedebo camp in the Sahel region, home to 10,000 refugees who fled the conflict over the border in Mali last year.
L’exercice d’Identification avait pour objectif d’identifier la situation des Enfants Séparés (ES) et des Enfants Non Accompagnes (ENA) et son ampleur dans 04 régions du Sud (Ségou, Sikasso, Mopti et Koulikoro) afin de développer un plan d’action et intégrer une réponse aux besoins identifiés dans les activités de la Protection de l’Enfant.
London (22 March) – On the first anniversary of the Mali Conflict, the global children rights organisation Plan International is calling on donor governments to provide more humanitarian aid alongside military intervention budgets.
“There is a major imbalance which needs to be addressed by donor nations. Conflict causes huge, long-term disruption to people’s lives. Provision of shelter, reconstruction, and protection of children whose lives have been shattered by conflict need to be a top priority,” said Plan CEO Nigel Chapman.
January 2013: Take a tour of a Plan child-friendly space in Niger and see the support it is providing to children who have been forced to flee fighting in neighbouring Mali.
Plan installs child-friendly spaces after a disaster or crisis to give affected children a place to play, be safe, have a nutritious meal and receive emotional support to help them cope and recover.
Country faces double crisis as conflict continues
Bamako, Mali (22 January 2013) – Mali is on the verge of a major humanitarian crisis, the global organisation Plan International has warned. Tens of thousands of displaced people together with those trapped in the conflict areas are unreachable. In addition, the conflict is preventing farmers sowing the 2013 crop and there are fears that up to two million people will be affected a food crisis this year.
Segou, Mali (11 January 2013) – Scared Malians, mainly women and children, are on the move again following clashes between armed insurgents and the national army. They are fleeing towns such as Sévaré which is located 56km south of Konna – the town seized by armed insurgents on Friday.
“People are just fleeing Sévaré. They are leaving town using any transport available”, said Nouhoum Coulibaly director of GAAS Mali, a local NGO partner of Plan Mali.
23 November 2012: Minthi, 13, is one of hundreds of children who are getting their education back on track after being forced to flee violence in northern Mali, thanks to Plan-supported ‘catch-up’ lessons.
Eight months ago, Minthi arrived in Segou, southern Mali, with her family, leaving conflict behind. She registered at the local school but doesn’t speak the local language and soon fell behind in her studies, despite tremendous effort.
The school facilities were crowded with many other new students just like Minthi, and she considered dropping out.
SEGOU, Mali (Oct 1, 2012) - He travelled two days by canoe down the Niger River and then 12 hours by bus to the town of Segou, 230km northeast of the capital, where he heard there were catch-up classes.
Oumar, 16, was preparing for exams when insurgents overran his historic town of Timbuktu. The town was first captured in March by fighters from the Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) who want an independent state in north Mali. Weeks later, Islamist extremists seized the town from them.
By Terry Ally
BAMAKO, Mali (1 October 2012) - While many of their friends returned to school last week after the summer break, Mamadou and Bamba headed back to work in the gold mines in southern Mali. Both are from farming families whose crops failed to yield a large enough harvest last year resulting in both boys having to find work to support their families.
A survey carried out by four aid agencies in Mali found that there had been an increase in the number of such children who left home to find work to help.
By Terry Ally
Ougadougou, Burkina Faso (October 1, 2012) – When the Taureg fled the fighting in north Mali into neighbouring Burkina Faso they brought part of their culture with them – the practice of child marriage.
When one raises the question of early childhood marriage in the refugee camps they close ranks and shy away from the subject.
Emergency relief supplies have landed in Niger for victims of severe floods, which struck the regions of Tillabéri and Dosso.
The supplies, donated to Plan by Irish Aid in Dublin, include tents, tarpaulins, jerry cans, mosquito nets and blankets. It is part of the continued commitment by the Irish government to the people most in need in crisis-hit Niger.
The plane was met by Plan's country director in Niger, Rheal Drisdelle, who formally presented the supplies to government representatives.
NAKIN FADA, Niger (Sep 2012) – The “lean season” is a normal part of the life of farming communities in Africa’s Sahel region.
Even in the best of years, there is still that period between the granaries reaching dangerously low levels and the next harvest when their income spikes, from the sale of the agricultural produce.