Mauritania

Mauritania: Drought and food security Appeal No. 05/03

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IN BRIEF

THIS APPEAL SEEKS CHF 1,056,000 (USD 773,934 or EUR 718,672) IN CASH, KIND AND SERVICES TO ASSIST 18,000 BENEFICIARIES FOR 3 MONTHS1

The Situation

The general food security and drought situation in Mauritania is characterized by2:

  • poor agro-climatic conditions provoked by the late onset of the rainy season, and insufficient rains which have undermined Mauritania’s cereal harvest for the second consecutive year.

  • a decrease in cereal production for 2002/2003 (estimated at 99,705 tonnes), down 18 percent from 2001/2002 (which was itself down 32 percent from 2000/2001).

  • rising market prices and overall short supply of local grains (millet, sorghum and maize) have been rising since November 2001, with the price of sorghum increasing 59 percent between January and September 2002.

  • the plummeting price of livestock (40 to 60 percent depending on the region), with agro-pastoralists obliged to partly de-stock because of insufficient pasture and to purchase cereals.

  • pasture lands which will not cover more than 3 months of livestock consumption, with a resulting reduction in milk and meat production in 2003, and indications that migratory grazing will start earlier and will be more intense.

  • the anticipated need to import 322,534 tonnes of cereals to meet the country’s requirements. The anticipated volume of imports of 228,030 tonnes, made up of 217,030 tonnes of commercial imports and 11,000 tonnes of pledged food assistance, leaves a deficit of 94,504 tonnes to be covered by additional food assistance.

  • thousands of people who have been seriously affected by the succession of poor harvests, and some 411,000 persons throughout the country who now require emergency food aid. The situation is particularly worrying in Aftout, in the south of the two Hodhs, in southeast Konkossa, on the plateau strip between Tagant and Affolé and in east Trarza.

This situation is expected to further deteriorate before the next harvest in October 2003. A revised vulnerability mapping will be compiled by the Mauritanian authorities’ Food Security Commision (CSA) at the end of February (the CSA is the Mauritanian governmental body responsible for overseeing the food situation in the country, and the CSA fufills a coordinating role on behalf of humanitarian agencies). The mapping is expected to indicate increased vulnerability within communities which will require wider support mechanisms. Given the situation, families have exhausted their grain reserves and the surviving animals have been seriously affected by the lack of grazing areas. Unless rapid intervention occurs, the food situation is expected to deteriorate dramatically. Anecdotally, a recent nutritional evaluation of children carried out in the region of Aftout by UNICEF, WFP and NGOs (September, 2002) indicated severe malnutrition amongst 15% of the survey sample.

Two components of this provisional appeal are particularly important:

  • the Federation and the MRCS have wide experience implementing food security, drought response, and health operations in Mauritania. Between 1973 and 1992, 14 drought/food security, health, or population movement appeals were launched. The Federation intends to focus on identifying the residual capacity of the MRCS formed during these operations, and to reinforce the existing experience with well targeted organizational development support The provisional nature of this appeal implies that the approach of the Federation and the MRCS will be to flexibly assess the situation and revise the operation based on the evolving nature of the needs.

  • Due to the extremely isolated areas selected for this operation and the relatively high costs associated with the transportation of supplies in Mauritania, the related transportation costs reflected in the attached provisional appeal budget are considerably high, in comparison to similar types of food assistance operations.

The Needs

Immediate Needs

The immediate needs are for:

  • the procurement of supplementary food for wet feeding centres for children under 5, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

  • transport of food for distributions in difficult to access or very isolated areas.

  • nutritional and hygiene education, focusing on women.

  • strengthening the food security capacity and projects of the Mauritanian Red Crescent Society (MRCS).

Coordination

The MRCS is an active member of the CSA, the Mauritanian governmental body responsible for overseeing the food situation in the country. The CSA fufills a coordinating role on behalf of humanitarian agencies. The size of Mauritania and, by association, the operation, necessitates a collaborative multi-agency approach to the operational response. WFP, the lead UN agency for food assistance, have, in consultation with the Government and its operational partners, allocated areas or locations for food distribution interventions. While the MRCS is not currently a partner of WFP, it has indicated that it would favourably consider playing a role, in co-ordination with WFP and the CSA.

The French and Italian Red Cross are currently operational in Mauritania, responding to the drought and food security needs in the south east and northern parts of the country, and collaborating with respective MRCS branches. More specifically:

  • The French Red Cross has 2 delegates in the country - 1 in Nouakchott and 1 in Keefah - running a joint clinical treatment programme for HIV/AIDS and STI. The French Red Cross is planning support with up to 3,700 metric tonnes of food aid in the south east of Mauritania.

  • The Italian Red Cross is represented by a delegate managing a relief food assistance programme financed by ECHO. This food security project is implemented primarily in the north of the country (Adrar).

Efforts to increase and improve coordination between the Federation, the MRCS, and the French and Italian Red Cross will be undertaken as a priority. While the ICRC is not present in the country, support is provided by the ICRC’s Tunis office, with a focus on activities related to the dissemination of International Humanitarian Law.

Furthermore, the Federation’s support for the MRCS is provided through the 2003 Annual Appeal for the Sahel sub-regional programmes (no. 01.41/2003), covering the areas of health, relief, disasterr amangement,and organizational development. The MRCS has 58 registered branches with approximately 4,117 volunteers. Of these 855 have recieved training from the Spanish, Italian or French Red Cross’s or the Federation during the last 3 years.

The Proposed Operation

This Appeal proposes to target communes identified as vulnerable by the CSA, but not being covered for food distribution by WFP (through its operational partners) or by other agencies. The MRCS proposes to undertake a targeted relief operation, health activities, and capacity building for its branches within the 2 Wilaya (regions) of Adrar and Trarza, specifically in the Moughataa of Aoujeft, Chinguitti, Ouadane, Atar and R’Kiz (see table below).

Planned distribution areas:

Moughataa
Commune
Population
Beneficiaries
CSA ranking3
No. Volunteers
Aoujeft Awjeft
5,945
1’385
97
93
Aoujeft El Meddah
2,610
608
95
Aoujeft Maedan
6,923
1’613
129
Aoujeft N’teirguent
1,978
461
99
Chinguitti Ain Savra
692
161
73
38
Chinguitti Chinguitti
4,205
980
128
38
Ouadane Ouadane
3,119
727
127
43
Atar Choum
2,514
586
64
46
R’Kiz R’Kiz
58,813
11’116
N/A
65
TOTAL
86,799
17,637

The beneficiary criteria established by the MRCS focuses primarily on children under 5 years of age, the disabled, the sick, pregnant and nursing women and elderly people in charge of households. Supplementary (wet) feeding assures more fully accurate targetting of the specific at-risk group of children and pregnant and lactating women, and will therefore be provided to children and pregnant and lactating women in the targetted communes. This amounts to around 15% of the population in the targetted communues - or around 2,800 persons. Dry rations, enabling an intake of around 1,600 k/cal/person/day, will be provided for the remaining severely vulnerable groups identified by the authorities in conjunction with the MRCS.

Relief distribution: food and basic non-food items

Objective 1: Create Community Feeding Centres (CAC) for children under 5 years and pregnant and nursing women in the target zones.

Activities planned to reach this objective are:

  • Procurement of the required food supplies, including wheat soya blend, sugar and vegetable oil, to formulate a daily meal for the children.

  • Procurement of the necessary cooking equipment for the preparation of food (pots, utensils, etc.).

  • Identification of children in a state of primary or advanced malnutrition, in collaboration with the local MRCS committee volunteers, the MRCS nutritionist team, and the local health authorities in the target regions.

  • Training in implementing CAC’s in the villages. The creation of the CAC will be based on the malnutrition data recorded in the target regions. The women of the village community will be trained by the volunteers and the nutrition auxiliaries in line with the content of the basic health, nutrition and hygiene. training programme.

  • Regular deliveries of the ingredients for a daily meal for the target beneficiaries. The food preparations and direct feeding of the targeted population will be monitored on a regular basis.

  • Follow-up of nutritional status through monthly evaluation missions by the nutritionist teams.

Objective 2: Distribute dry rations to vulnerable populations according to the criteria set by the MRCS (elderly, disabled and sick people), in accordance with WFP distribution norms and the CSA.

Activities planned to reach this objective are:

  • Purchase of rations of wheat, beans and oil from local commercial suppliers in Mauritania.

  • Transportation of the food supplies to extended delivery points (EDP’s). Due to the areas selected for this operation and the relatively high costs associated with transportation in Mauritania, the related transportation costs reflected in the attached provisional appeal budget are abnormally high.

  • A survey of vulnerable populations in collaboration with the local health authorities and visits to these families to draw up reliable lists of beneficiaries.

  • Delivery of food from the primary to the secondary warehouses of the departmental or local committee. Distributions are carried out on a regular basis dependant on the availability of food. This process will be regularly monitored and reported on.

  • Distribution reports on the basis of the survey lists.
Total food needs & costs for the Mauritania food insecurity and drought operation
Moughataa
Commune
Vulnerable population
Wheat
Beans
Veg oil
Wheat Soya Blend
Supp’t Veg Oil
Sugar
Total
Aoujeft Awjeft
1'385
49.9
7.48
2.49
1.99
0.10
0.40
62.33
Aoujeft Al Meddah
608
21.9
3.28
1.09
0.88
0.04
0.18
27.36
Aoujeft Maedan
1'613
58.1
8.71
2.90
2.32
0.12
0.46
72.59
Aoujeft N'teirguent
461
16.6
2.49
0.83
0.66
0.03
0.13
20.75
Chinguitti Ain Savra
161
5.8
0.87
0.29
0.23
0.01
0.05
7.25
Chinguitti Chinguitti
980
35.3
5.29
1.76
1.41
0.07
0.28
44.10
Ouadane Ouadane
727
26.2
3.93
1.31
1.05
0.05
0.21
32.72
Atar Choum
586
21.1
3.16
1.05
0.84
0.04
0.17
26.37
R'Kiz R'Kiz
11'116
400.2
60.03
20.01
16.01
0.80
3.20
500.22
Total (in MT)
635
95
32
25
1.3
5.1
794

Health and care

Objective 1: Carry out nutrition and hygiene information and awareness-raising sessions for women in communities of the intervention zones, with a view to improving their basic knowledge and to counter the effects of unhealthy eating practices (consumption of toxic leaves when food is scarce).

Activities planned to reach this objective:

  • Updating and distribution of existing educational material.

  • Training in nutrition of auxiliary volunteers to lead these sessions. The CRM team of nutritionists will undertake this nutrition and hygiene training of candidates in accordance with the criteria established by the. The training will be carried out in sessions lasting 7 days.

  • Arrange a calendar of nutritional trainers visits in order to follow up the results obtained by the nutrition auxiliaries and to confirm the quality of the services delivered at the distribution sites.

  • Organize community awareness-raising activities on endemic and seasonal diseases (malaria, diarrhoea, measles, etc.) in collaboration with the ministry of health/health district.

  • Organize community awareness-raising activities on Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCE) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

The Federation will focus on actively involving all the actors (community leaders, heads of health districts, Red Crescent health team) in all phases of the operation. Intermediate-level coaches (relief workers, community health workers) will be selected and trained to follow up the activities of the volunteers in the communities. Volunteers will be selected on the basis of their experience, training, and aptitude, and trained as community health workers, with the support of the Ministry of Health, to form a volunteer network in the communities.

Organizational Development

Objective 1: Revitalize the Mauritanian Red Crescent departments involved in the relief operation.

Activities planned to reach this objective are:

  • Bi-weekly meetings of all the department heads to monitor the operation.

  • Training of logistics officers in the use of information technology (software programmes) currently used by the Federation and training in food and non-food management procedures.

  • Training of the finance department in the Federation’s current financial procedures.

  • With the support of the regional delegation, organize a training workshop on national society management and good governance.

  • Reinforcement of the national society’s operational capacity (transportation, administration, communications).

Objective 2: Train the members of the local participating committees in the principles of the Movement and emergency relief procedures through the creation of dedicated emergency teams.

Activities planned to reach this objective are:

  • Training of regional and local committee volunteers in the intervention zones on the humanitarian principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, in collaboration with the ICRC.

  • The MRCS will use such training to renew and revitalize certain sections of the local committees in the beneficiary zones.

  • Training of volunteer relief workers for emergency situations (with the goal developing a community-based disaster preparedness programme). The purpose of such training will be not only to set up teams technically equipped to respond in the event of a disaster but also to provide the basic tools for information and education of the populations when confronted with such situations.
Operational time-line (provisional): Actual (February - May) Planned (June -December)
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Launch of the provisional appeal
Revision of the provisional appeal
Agreement/signing of operational agreement
Delegation in place
Registration of beneficiaries
Training of distribution teams
Food procurement and Delivery to regions
Identification of CAC for wet feeding
Training of wet feeding teams
Distribution of dry rations
Operation of CAC for wet feeding
Monitoring of effects of dry feeding
Monitoring of wet feeding
Review of op. based on vulnerability mapping
Review of planned rehabilitation projects
Review of key project indicators
Reporting on activities
Programme and projects evaluation
Distribution of health educational material
Nutritional training for volunteers
Community awareness activities
Training on logistics and finance systems
Governance workshop
Purchase of vehicles and computer equipment
Provincial training

Structure and capacity of the MRCS - monitoring and evaluation activities

The MRCS has 58 registered branches with approximately 4,117 volunteers. Of these, 855 have recieved training from the Spanish, Italian or French Red Cross’s or the Federation during the last 3 years. A crisis management commission trained within the MRCS meets each week in order to follow the evolution of the situation and the operation. The head of the relief programme will coordinate the activity reports from the other sectors involved in the operation. The MRCS will participate at meetings organized by the WFP (UN reference agency) and other agencies regarding the progress of the relief operation.

The health sector is managed by a doctor who assures coordination and supervision at the MRCS’s central level. He is aided in his task by a support group composed of social workers, midwives, nurses and MRCS volunteers. At the intermediate level, coordination and supervision are assured by the team leaders under the supervision of the health ministry through the health district managers.

At the grass-roots level, the community health relief workers provide the core health activity of the local Red Crescent community section. They are supervised by the local team leaders who assure monthly planning and monitor the implementation of the planned activities by the relief workers, and who is responsible for their follow-up and drafting reports. A provisional evaluation of the operation will be undertaken in April, 2003.

Capacity of the Federation

Four delegates will be required to support the MRCS over the course of the operation (initially three months, then one year assuming this provisional appeal is extended). The team leader based in Nouakchott will co-ordinate the support to the MRCS and ensure that the agreed support is being given to the selected beneficiary groups. One logistics delegate will be based in the capital to work with the MRCS for purchasing, warehousing and transport to the agreed centres. Two relief delegates are needed to work in the targeted areas.

Finance support will be given by the sub-regional office in Dakar. The regional community health delegate will support the project with field visits with a view to advising the Mauritanian Red Crescent on its activities relating to public health and nutrition.

This development approach will be undertaken with the participation of the ICRC cooperation delegate (Tunis Delegation) and the Participating National Societies present in the Mauritanian territory. The Federation’s Dakar office will serve as focal point for assistance to the Mauritanian Red Crescent.

Budget summary

See Annex 1 for details.

For further details please contact:

  • Andrea Wojnar-Diagne, Head of Dakar Office; Phone: 00 221 842 23 41; email: ifrcsn03ifrc.org.
  • Mark Willis; Federation Desk Officer, Phone: 41 22 730 4260; Fax: 41 22 733 0395; email: willis@ifrc.org.

All International Federation Assistance Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

In line with the Minimum Reporting Standards, the first operations update on this appeal will be issued within 30-days of the launch and the second will be issued over the course of the operation; a final narrative and financial report will be issued no later than 90 days after the end of the operation.

This operation seeks to administer to the immediate requirements of the victims of this disaster. Subsequent operations to promote sustainable development or longer-term capacity building will require additional support and these programmes are outlined on the Federation website.

For support to or for further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at http://www.ifrc.org

Abbas Gullet
Director
Disaster Management and Coordination

Didier J. Cherpitel
Secretary General

Footnotes

1 Plans entail a revision of this appeal after the Food Security Commission vulnerability mapping (end February).

2 UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), December 2002.

3 The Food Security Observatory (on behalf of CSA) ranked 155 Moughataa (localities) in September 2002 according to vulnerability due to food insecurity (Bulletin no. 4 / December 2002). The ranking shown in the table therefore corresponds to the position of the given commune out of the 155 ranked. Alert indicators suggested by OSA/CSA are no. meals/day; debt level of households, use of replacement foodstuffs; outflux of income earners and sale of productive livestock. Indicators of malnutrition are given as extreme fatigue; weight loss; ‘cécité nocturne’; ‘scorbut’; dehydration and diarrhoea. OSA/CSA data is generally held by partners to be reliable.


ANNEX 1
BUDGET SUMMARY
APPEAL No. 05/2003

Mauritania: food security
TYPE
VALUE IN CHF
RELIEF NEEDS
Food & seeds: wheat, wheat soya blend, sugar, oil, beans
245'000
Other relief supplies
5'000
TOTAL RELIEF NEEDS
250'000

CAPITAL EQUIPMENT
Cars for NS
50'000
Computers
18'000
Telecom. equipment
26'000
Office furniture & equipment
11'000
Generators & lighting
12'000

PROGRAMME SUPPORT
Programme support (6.5% of total)
69'000

TRANSPORT STORAGE & VEHICLE COSTS
Transport and storage
235'000
Vehicle costs
51'000

PERSONNEL
Expatriate staff (4 delegates, 4 months)
192'000
National staff
98'000

ADMINISTRATIVE & GENERAL SERVICES
Travel & related expenses
12'000
Administrative & general expenses
32'000

TOTAL OPERATIONAL NEEDS
806'000
TOTAL APPEAL CASH, KIND, SERVICES
1'056'000
LESS AVAILABLE RESOURCES (-)
0
NET REQUEST
1'056'000