ACT Appeal Niger: Food assistance following drought & locusts - AFNG 51 (Revision 2)


Appeal Target: US$ 2,571,529
Balance Requested from ACT Alliance: US$590,504

Geneva, 14 September 2005

Dear Colleagues,

In extensive parts of Niger, both the agricultural production of 2004 and grasslands reserved for cattle have been severely affected by drought and swarms of locusts. The government and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimate a national crop shortage of 224,000 tons. Two thirds of the crop failure can be attributed to the insufficient rainfall in 2004 and one third to the locust plague. It is calculated that in the most severely affected regions of Niger approximately 3.5 million people in 3,755 villages would suffer acute malnutrition.

An ACT appeal was issued on July 23 and revised on August 9, 2005 including proposals from ACT members, Lutheran World Relief (LWR) and Swiss Interchurch Aid (HEKS) to respond to this crisis. This revision includes the following changes:

Lutheran World Relief (LWR)'s original appeal was designed as a quick response to the crisis and included limited food distribution. With this revision, LWR intends to expand food distribution providing food rations, consisting of locally available staple cereals, until the end of September when the harvest occurs. Since some areas have not benefited from rains at all, they may require continued food distribution. The food intervention proposed is not designed to meet the total dietary needs of the targeted population. It intends to meet the population's most immediate needs and bridge the gap until WFP and other donor food pipelines are flowing. Distributions may shift as these pipelines come online, allowing LWR to re-target and concentrate efforts as needed.

Swiss Interchurch Aid (HEKS) revision includes a follow-up of the project included in the original appeal that was implemented from April to August 2005. The new proposal will be implemented from September 2005 to May 2006 and intends to continue providing some food aid and at the same time, focussing on agriculture recovery inputs to 97,100 persons in 50 villages . HEKS revised project is already fully funded, therefore, no additional support is requested for this project.

Project Completion Date:

LWR - 30 December 2005

HEKS – 31 May 2006

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested (US$)

Appeal Targets
Less: Pledges/Contribution Received
Balance Requested from ACT Alliance

*this amount is only for LWR

Please kindly send your contributions to either of the following ACT bank accounts:

US dollar
Account Number - 240-432629.60A
IBAN No: CH46 0024 0240 4326 2960A

Euro Bank Account Number - 240-432629.50Z
IBAN No: CH84 0024 0240 4326 2950Z

Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
8, rue du Rhône
P.O. Box 2600
1211 Geneva 4, SWITZERLAND
Swift address: UBSW CHZH12A

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind co-operation.

For further information please contact:

ACT Interim Director, Jenny Borden (phone 4122 791 6032, or mobile phone + 41 79 203 6055) or

ACT Program Officer, Elsa Moreno, (phone +41 22 791 6420 or mobile phone +41 79 608 8133)

ACT Web Site address:

Jenny Borden
Interim Director, ACT Co-ordinating Office


The Lutheran World Relief (LWR)


The Lutheran World Relief works in partnership with approximately 150 grassroots, non-governmental and international organisations in 50 countries to help people to grow food, improve health, strengthen communities, end conflict, build livelihoods and recover from disasters. Founded by U.S. Lutherans in 1945 to assist European refugees after World War II, LWR's mission is to work in partnership with local organisations to eradicate poverty and injustice in impoverished communities.

Over the past six decades, LWR has invested time and resources in developing and maintaining partnerships with organisations that have a history of accountability, integrity, and a long-term presence in the communities where they operate. LWR's relief and development strategies focus on empowering partner organisations to effectively address the immediate and long-term needs of those suffering from poverty, conflict, and disaster. LWR commits its resources to strengthening the capacities of its partner organisations to work with communities in finding durable development solutions. Regarding emergency response, LWR supports its partners in providing relief assistance in conjunction with longer-term efforts, such as rehabilitation, disaster preparedness, and vulnerability reduction projects. A combination of cash grants, material aid, and technical expertise make up the core of LWR's support system for its partners. LWR and its partners provide their services regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion or political affiliation.

LWR is a registered NGO in Niger, where it has been working for roughly 30 years. Its work focuses on building sustainable rural livelihoods and food security by improving agricultural practices; increasing availability of water through well building for dry season gardening; increasing HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, and creating village health committees, while investing in strengthening the capacity of community organisations.

Appui au Développement Endogène des Communautés à la Base (ADECB)

ADECB is a non-governmental organisation whose principle mission is to help rural populations find effective and sustainable development solutions and to defend their rights via participatory approaches whereby communities are involved in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of their development interventions. LWR has worked with ADECB since 2002. The area of implementation for ADECB's response is Dogueraoua and Yama in Tahoua region.

Contribution à l'Education de Base (CEB)

CEB specialises in literacy training, community empowerment, and ensuring the sustainability of development projects at the grassroots level. CEB's mission is to provide support to grassroots communities and improve the living conditions of the poorest of the poor in the fight against food insecurity and the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. CEB has particular expertise in the implementation of development projects in nomadic zones. CEB's partnership with LWR began in 2000. The area of implementation for CEB's response is Dakoro in Maradi region.


Gyara's mission is to improve the livelihoods of rural populations in Niger through the implementation of innovative development programs in the areas of agriculture, health, food security, education and human rights. The organisation works with communities to promote equality, peace, health, and better uses of natural resources in the Balleyara area, in Tillaberi Region,100 kilometres outside of Niamey. Gyara has been an LWR partner since 2002.


General situation

In extensive parts of Niger, both the agricultural production of 2004 and the grasslands reserved for cattle have been severely affected by drought and swarms of locusts. The government and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimate a national crop shortage of 224,000 tons. Two thirds of the crop failure can be attributed to the insufficient rainfall in 2004 and one third to the locust plague.

In a special report of December 2004, the FAO already calculated that in the most severely affected regions of Niger approximately 3.5 million people in 3,755 villages would suffer acute malnutrition. Niger's government has since announced the distribution of 67,000 tons of cereals at a reduced price, which is by no means enough in view of the magnitude of the catastrophe. The government has now launched a further world-wide emergency appeal and the UNO also has directed an appeal to the International Community of States to come to the aid of the starving population.

Slowly the world public is being jolted into action – helped along by increased world media attention. The World Food Programme (WFP) and institutional donors are mobilising resources on am emergency basis. Unfortunately the response has been slow in coming and precious time has already been lost. Clearly, the situation in Niger is extremely alarming. In the cattle farming regions not only do people not have enough food, but due to food shortages, their livestock are so debilitated that they cannot cover long distances – forcing families to remain with their animals in remote areas, unable to reach larger towns where there is more chance of food assistance. Farming families' situation is also very precarious: once the rainy season sets in, they must be able to sow the fields. However, many lack the seeds (supplies of which have been completely consumed due to food shortage), and are too weak to plant and work the fields due to malnutrition. Many find themselves in dire straits and in need of immediate emergency relief aid.

Recently the WFP announced that in order to avoid cereal market distortions it will end free food distribution in October, except in areas that are very seriously affected. This year's harvest may be good if the rains continue for the next two to three weeks. However, according to local officials, most people have already “sold” futures of their expected crops and may end up with too little left after harvest. Also, there is a tendency, partially due to lack of access to credit, to sell crops at harvest when the prices are at their lowest in order to meet cash needs. All indications are that this will happen again this year and food shortages will be experienced again in six to nine months.


LWR is responding in three areas within three regions in Niger: Dakoro in the Maradi region, Balleyara in the Tillaberi region, and Illéla in the Tahoua region. All of the targeted communities were chosen based on 1) LWR partners' experience working with these communities and their understanding of local needs, contexts and practices, and 2) the gravity of the situation as defined by the Emergency Task Force, a Niger Government crisis group created to co-ordinate activities related to the disaster response.

Département de Dakoro (served by CEB)

The Dakoro Department is located in the centre of Niger in the Maradi region, with a total estimated population of 429,495 individuals or 53,687 households. It is located 121 kilometres from Maradi, the country's economic capital. Its population, composed of Peul, Haussa, and Tuareg ethnicities, works in agriculture and raising livestock. The department's people are struggling to ensure their daily food needs and prepare for the rainy season. Off-season (June-Sseptember) agricultural production practised in some areas of the country is, even in regular circumstances, very difficult due to lack of water. Currently, the most vulnerable members of villages/camps - including women, children, the handicapped and elderly - are most affected.

The zone has always been at risk. National alert systems specialists have declared the Dakoro department, located in the heart of the Sahel, to be 98% food-deficient. The identified villages and camps of three communes require an urgent intervention. Preliminary target areas include 56 villages. This number may shift pending more detailed assessments.

Commune Rurale de Balleyara (served by GYARA)

Balleyara, Tabla, and Winditan villages are part of the Balleyara department in Filengue area, located 90 kilometres north-east of Niamey. As of 2001, the total population was estimated at 95,011, across 122 villages.

The population of Filengue is in a situation of chronic food insecurity. A minimum of two out of every three years has experienced a shortage over the last twenty years. Grain production has met the food needs of - at best - seven out of 12 months, and at worst three months for the most vulnerable – a group that unfortunately is more than 60% of the department's population. The principle coping strategy to date has been an exodus of labour to Niamey and other neighbouring countries, and the sale of anything of worth. Women and girls have turned to prostitution to meet their basic needs, despite the risk of AIDS.

The three initial target villages have populations of 9,949, 3,932 and 3,177 respectively and are composed of Tuareges, Diermas and Hausas ethnic groups. These are rural, agricultural and animal-raising communities. They produce millet, sorghum, nuts etc. in the rainy season and do small gardening in the off season. This amounts to mostly subsistence farming, with supplemental small garden produce principally sold at the local and Niamey market. Despite their potential, agriculture and animal raising have been subjected to repeated periods of drought, locust attacks and erosion. Within the three project villages, the last season's harvest was declared 50% deficient in Balleyara and Tabla, and 65% deficient in Winditan. This is particularly difficult for a population that lives on less than a dollar a day.

Département d'Illéla (served by ADECB)

The project has preliminarily targeted 29 villages in the department of Illéla, in the west Tahoua region. 6,500 sq. kilometres in size- with sandy dunes, hills and valleys- the department experiences an annual rainfall of 350 to 400 mm.

In the current crisis, Illéla is one of the six most severely affected departments in the Tahoua region. An estimated 9,490 ha of crops were invaded by locusts, resulting in the loss of more than 28,826 metric tons of food. This has endangered the lives of 198,777 people, or more than 70% of the department's population.

Within Illéla, two areas were chosen for intervention, Dogueroua and Yama. Dogueroua and Yama are both confronted with many challenges, including chronic food insecurity, degradation of natural resources, insufficient health infrastructure, poor condition of rural roads, soils that are vulnerable to water and wind erosion and a low literacy rate.

Other organisations working in these areas are as follows:

- Dakoro: Médecins sans Frontières, Action Contre la Faim, CARE, and the government through the Food Crisis Office

- Balleyara: Africare, the government technical offices, LUCOP, the German external office

- Illéla: UNDP, LUCOP, GTZ, CARE, SNV, the Government of Niger


Beneficiaries are selected by village. In most cases, entire villages have been uniformly affected, with negligible differential in individual family capacity to cope. As such, the entire population of the villages being proposed for this activity will be considered eligible for assistance. In these villages there are existing volunteer networks and Village Committees that will help with the distribution of food and seeds.

Département de Dakoro (served by CEB)

Initial assessments have identified inhabitants of 24 villages and seven camps of seven rural communes in Dakoro department will be involved in the project. These localities are located in a 50 km radius of each other. The total number of beneficiaries is 40,073. As stated above, the entire population of the village or camp is eligible for assistance.

Commune Rurale de Balleyara (served by GYARA)

In Balleyara, three villages are targeted. In normal circumstances the student- parent groups decide beneficiaries, but since this is a crisis the total population is eligible. Distribution is occurring through established community groups within the villages. A total of 4,624 beneficiaries will be reached.

Département d'Illéla (served by ADECB)

The current project is aimed at the Degueroua and Yama areas of the Illéla department. A total of 22,354 individuals will be reached. As in the other two regions, the entire village population is eligible for assistance.

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