Extreme poverty, limited economic opportunities, recurrent environmental shocks and conflict contribute to hunger in Niger. The UN’s 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan for the country identifies 1.4 million and 1.7 million people in need of food and nutrition support, respectively.
The insurgency linked to Boko Haram and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-West Africa in the Lake Chad Basin has displaced 104,300 Nigeriens within the country, while instability and insecurity have forced 58,300 Malian refugees and 118,900 Nigerian refugees to cross into Niger in search of shelter and protection.
Conflict continues to disrupt normal livelihoods and trade activities, restrict access to food and limit humanitarian access in parts of Diffa Region. Many vulnerable, poor and displaced populations in Diffa will face Crisis (IPC 3) and Stressed (IPC 2) levels of acute food insecurity through January 2019, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). In addition, violence in western Niger is driving displacement and hampering normal economic activities; some populations in Tahoua and Tillaberi will face Stressed conditions through at least early 2019 and are increasingly reliant on relief assistance to meet their daily needs. Vulnerable populations who lack adequate access to assistance may be experiencing Crisis outcomes.
USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) partners with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to provide emergency in-kind food distributions, food vouchers and supplementary nutrition assistance to hundreds of thousands of people affected by conflict, displacement or other shocks across Niger. In addition, FFP works with WFP throughout Niger to strengthen chronically food-insecure communities’ ability to cope with destabilizing events—such as droughts and floods—by conducting asset-building activities, implementing nutrition interventions and delivering food assistance to shock-affected populations.
To respond to persistently high malnutrition levels across the country, FFP enables the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to distribute locally procured ready-to-use therapeutic food to treat 85,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. FFP also collaborates with a non-governmental organization (NGO) to provide monthly food vouchers to nearly 24,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees, returnees and host community members in Diffa Region, increasing access to food and empowering families to select the commodities that best meet their needs.
To assist approximately 1.2 million people in Maradi and Zinder regions, FFP recently began three long-term development activities with NGOs CARE, Catholic Relief Services and Save the Children. These activities, which are funded through five-year agreements with an estimated combined value of $153 million, aim to sustainably improve food security and resilience, or the ability to respond to crises, among extremely poor and chronically vulnerable households. An integral component of the USAID Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE) II program, these interventions work across multiple sectors, including agriculture, health, livelihoods, nutrition, and water and sanitation.