Sahel Relief Fund

$50,507 $24,493
Raised Remaining
Courtesy of Project #9928
Courtesy of Project #9928

Though we must be strong to weather the storm, we must also be as equally resilient in times of drought. These times of drought are currently affecting the Sahel region, a belt of land that lies across the African continent. As a result, more than 10 million people faced not only hunger, but also displacement, chronic poverty, and high food prices. Across 10 countries, these people struggle to find the strength and resources to live, but your contribution allows them to hold on a little longer. Thanks to your donation, GlobalGiving’s partners have delivered much needed relief to this region. Here are some of the successful stories of our partners:

Mercy Corps has been able to make a positive impact in the lives of families living in Niger and Mali by screening 19,000 children for malnutrition and rehabilitating 20 wells. Moreover, the organization was successful in their efforts to teach families advanced agricultural techniques and thus securing food. Mercy Corps also distributed emergency food vouchers and supported women entrepreneurs through the organization’s Cash for Work program. In fact, see the change you have made here!

A child may never understand why he cannot eat every day. And he shouldn’t have to. Your contribution has allowed Edesia to provide Plumpy’Nut to children suffering from malnutrition in the Sahel region. Plumpy’Nut is a ready-to-use meal rich in protein, zinc, vitamin E and calories, which are important because malnutrition shrinks the stomach. Edesia continues to work hard to send thousands of these vital boxes to countries such as Chad, Niger, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Cameroon.

In the path to self-dependence, Near East Foundation (NEF) is committed to continue improving the lives of people in the region through their gardening project. The results have been tremendously noticeable and the outstanding amount of food that these gardens have produced is solid evidence of this project’s success. This project is seeking to encourage youth and women to participate in these activities. NEF’s arduous work helped farmers in eight villagers launch and operate market gardens where they can sell a portion of their produce to meet their financial needs.

Thank you for supporting the Sahel Relief Fund. Your contributions have allowed families to become food secure, stopped children from suffering from malnutrition, and launched market gardens across Mali.  We will keep you updated in the following months; however, feel free to let us know if you have any questions or thoughts in the comment section below.

Thank you.

Courtesy of Project #9691
Courtesy of Project #9691
Courtesy of UNHCR, in Burkina Faso
Courtesy of UNHCR, in Burkina Faso

Dear GlobalGivers,

Imagine a little boy.  Although he had been sick for a while, now at long last he is able to take that first handful of food again.  Picture how the little boy shovels the food into his mouth, giddy that he is returning “back to normal.”

This little boy exists, and he is on his way to recovery because you reached out!  Hassan lives in Niger, a country in the center on Africa’s continent and in the middle of the Sahel region.  Only one year ago, Niger, Mali, Chad, and other nations in the Sahel region became victims of a far-flung famine caused by a deep drought, high food prices, and conflict in the region.  But you didn’t let the Sahel region famine become just another ‘forgotten food crisis.’  Instead, you helped mobilize several carefully chosen organizations to revitalize people in the famished areas with farming support, high-protein food supplements, defense against cholera, and implementation of long-term preparedness solutions.

Mercy Corps pledged, “While the past year has shown that a crisis can turn for the worst in an instant—and require our rapid response—we work with the knowledge that recovery does not happen overnight. You have helped us bring emergency relief to Mali when they need it most. With your continued support, we will be there, no matter what the circumstances, helping communities steer their own course toward a stronger, more resilient future.”

Each of our partner organizations feel this drive, this committed promise to the vision to see the Sahel region equipped to be independent, healthy, and thriving for its people again.  With your partnership, we have been able to do so much!  Below are some of the amazing details:

Over the past six months, the Near East Foundation (NEF) has distributed 1,775 kilograms of seeds to eight villages in Mali.  Seeds were the aid of choice because they allow the families to grow crops, some of which they eat and a portion of which they sell to earn income.  NEF also dispatched teams to different villages, working with farmers on strategies for increasing food production.  Irrigation, organic fertilizer, and insect protection were all topics of discussion and teaching.  As the rainy season descends, monitoring and evaluation becomes a crucial way you can support the Near East Foundation.

Merlin USA, another partner, has been working in the nation of Chad tirelessly, implementing immediate treatments for diseases and malnutrition and creating long-term prevention measures.  Recently, Merlin relayed to us some incredible results: 6,565 children under-5 were treated for severe acute malnutrition, and another 14,500 people were treated for moderate malnutrition.  Health workers and caretakers were trained, a stabilization center was built, and mobile clinics went out to six remote sites.  All of this and even more has been done with amazing coordination between local authorities, communities, and Merlin.  The organization made a special effort in developing these programs to support and not duplicate already-existing services. Regular meetings and relationship building have allowed Merlin to operate successfully in Chad’s culture.

The US Association for UNHCR is also operating a cross-cultural manner project, one where they are providing shelter, food rations, and water to refugees from Mali who are escaping from the violence in their land.  After entering camps in Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania, Malian refugees like Aicha and her four children need each of these survival staples.  However, their stories indicate deep needs.  “Our worst fears have now become reality. We left our animals and our friends. We feel we have only fear, no more life,” she said, explaining her situation.  In response to so many vulnerable refugees, UNHCR staff opened transit centers and bathing facilities and held interviews with many of the people, especially those like Aicha representing female-headed households.  “They can tell us about things like health problems and trauma and then we can give them the proper care,” either directly or through humanitarian aid partners, explained UNHCR Protection Officer Euphrasie Oubda.  Aicha now receives regular visits from UNHCR community services staff, who have also been able to help all four of her children have the opportunity to go to school.

Another woman, Aissata, found herself at the peak of desperation following her husband’s death and her region’s food void.  Rebels in Mali holding many villages hostage also contributed to the scarce access to sustenance.  Aissata’s son had to leave the family in order to search for food.  Thanks to our partner Mercy Corps however, Aissata’s family members and 20,000 others received vouchers to buy food at the local market to carry them through this unstable time.  These vouchers also addressed the potential for cholera in the upcoming rainy season, giving hygiene and water purification resources.  Mercy Corps is also focusing their energy on training households on good hygiene practices and helping the women and youth who transport the water learn how to properly clean their equipment.  Finally, to combat malnutrition, Mercy Corps has started a new food security program with your donations.  Nutrition education classes teach women and men and children about diversifying their food sources, healthy pregnancies, and income-generating possibilities.

GlobalGiving’s partner organization Edesia approaches the food shortage and ensuing malnutrition in a unique way: they have committed to making and delivering Plumpy’Nut, a nutrient-rich Ready-to-Use Food (RUF) made with peanuts, milk powder, sugar, vegetable oils, and a fortified vitamin and mineral mixture.  It’s revolutionary in not needing refrigeration or water.  Edesia recently sent us a new UNICEF video that highlights the individual impact that Plumpy’Nut is creating in reversing the effects of severe acute malnutrition.  Our little boy Hassan from the beginning of this report is growing healthier because of this infusion of nutrition, and his mother couldn’t be more deeply delighted.  Since March 2010, Edesia has delivered more than 250,000 boxes of Plumpy’Nut because your donations made this possible!

“It is hard not to be able to feed your children,” says Adama Diallo, another Sahelian mother from Senegal.  “You can’t be at peace. You can’t sleep at night.”  Many families like her resorted to a hand-to-mouth existence, with a good day bringing in what was needed to feed the ten people in her household for the day.  “If the food is not sufficient,” she says, “we only give it to the children.”  Adama soon was enrolled in one of Oxfam America’s income development programs that gave her the flexibility of cash as an aid rather than just food.  Oxfam has found that often the community needs more than food supplements; the people need soap, medicines, and farming tools.  Adama, who had lost her harvest and primary source of income, needed income to help her supply food.  For this reason, Oxfam has also doubled its efforts to provide ways to purchase food and survival items.  This income-generating focus allows families like Adama’s to have opportunity to plant their fields and grow a harvest in this coming season.

“Now I have peace,” she said, “and I am sleeping well.”

Your role as generous donors has contributed significantly and indescribably to each of the accomplishments and successes that our partner organizations have been able to make in the Sahel region.  Problems only feel insurmountable when someone is fighting it alone.  You stand with Hassan, Aicha, Aissata, and Adama, faithfully fighting the famine that they face. 

Thank you so much for being a part of this team!

Courtesy of Mercy Corps, Aissata with food voucher
Courtesy of Mercy Corps, Aissata with food voucher
Courtesy of NEF, planting the fields in Mali
Courtesy of NEF, planting the fields in Mali
Courtesy of UNHCR, Aicha (green) in a refugee camp
Courtesy of UNHCR, Aicha (green) in a refugee camp
Courtesy of Merlin, training nutritionists
Courtesy of Merlin, training nutritionists
Courtesy of Oxfam America, hygiene kits
Courtesy of Oxfam America, hygiene kits
Courtesy of Edesia, mother feeding baby Plumpy
Courtesy of Edesia, mother feeding baby Plumpy'Nut
A child is measured for severe acute malnutrition
A child is measured for severe acute malnutrition

Hello GlobalGivers!

Thank you so much for your continued support to help provide food security relief to the people of the Sahel region. While the good news is that estimates have dropped 44% for the number of Sahelians at risk of going hungry this year, the bad news is that aid agencies are asking for the same amount of relief as last year - $1.6 billion. This may come as a shock, but in dealing with this emergency situation many things come into play. In 2012 when the crisis first became apparent, focus was placed on emergency relief such as high-energy foods like Plumpy’Nut from Edesia, Inc. Medicine and equipment were given to the most vulnerable populations, particularly children, from Merlin to help try and stabilize the area.

Now efforts are being diverted into alleviating human suffering and building resilience and safety nets. Even though the figures are similar for 2012 and 2013, their make ups are very different. The crisis in Mali has been added to the situation along with carry-overs from last year: farmers’ debts from depleted granaries, unsanitary water, poor healthcare, and severe malnutrition. RAIN has been focused on providing reduced-cost food and subsidized sales of grain to not only relieve the physical pain and discomfort of starvation, but to also try and prevent a relapse in this disaster.

 Aside from mitigating human suffering, action is underway to provide endurance and resilience to the Sahel region. This is crucial in order to avoid future famines and catastrophes. Allegra Baiocchi, head of the UN’s West Africa Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) explains that “It’s not just about malnutrition and food. These are multi-dimensional problems with multi-dimensional solutions.”  Water, hygiene and sanitation are being taught to children, nutrition and feeding practices to adults and pastoralists are learning about irrigation, diversifying their crops and vaccination programs.

Cyprien Fabre, head of the European Union funding body ECHO’s West African stresses “What we are sure of is that funding should remain high in 2013, which is not a crisis year in the same way as last, but is still a crisis year. The poorest went into debt, reached breaking point, but did not suddenly bounce back because of the good harvest this year. Many are again starting the year with nothing. Extreme poverty is not a trap you get out of in one year.”

Thank you again for your generous support GlobalGivers. Please remember that it is because of you that relief in the Sahel is possible. With every donation, we are one step closer to ending hunger and disaster in this region of Africa.

Merlin supported health facility in Djarmaya, Chad
Merlin supported health facility in Djarmaya, Chad
Families with grain
Families with grain
Photo courtesy of  Rain for the Sahel and Sahara
Photo courtesy of Rain for the Sahel and Sahara

The Sahel region has been on the brink of disaster for many months now.  There has been little rainfall, extreme temperatures and horrific violence throughout the region.  The people of this region are resilient, but they require basic necessities like you and me.  Because of unstable weather the people have not been able to maintain their livelihoods, selling crops and growing livestock.  Because of a war that the world is turning a blind eye to, thousands upon thousands are fleeing their homes and have lost their lives. 

Luckily, many organizations around the world are answering the call for help in the Sahel.  GlobalGiving has created the Sahel Relief Fund, partnering with organizations on our site that are already doing outstanding work with refugees, children, addressing needs of water, sanitation, and food.

The US Association for UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency) is helping Malian refugees, Rain for the Sahel and Sahara, which is providing hunger relief to Sahel Nomads, and Merlin USA is addressing the immediate health needs of severely malnourished people. Edesia, Inc. is also feeding malnourished children with their innovative product Plumpy’Nut, the Near East Foundation (NEF) is supporting vulnerable livestock and crop farmers in Mali, Mercy Corps focuses on the long term needs of the people by strengthening communities and providing vocational training.

Organizations like Edesia, Inc. are taking measures to prevent famines from becoming a pandemic.  Edesia, Inc. distributes Plumpy’Nut in the Sahel to reverse malnutrition, help children to recover, grow, and prosper.  Plumpy’Nut is a vitamin enhanced peanut paste.  When children are given Plumpy’Nut in the Sahel, parents learn about the importance of nutrition.

The Near East Foundation (NEF) is supporting crop farmers and livestock at risk in Northern Mali.  There are a number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Mali as a result of the political instability in the nation.  The IDPs do not have a stable place to create a new lifestyle, which is where NEF comes in to provide farming supplies, improved seed, fertilizer and animal feed. The NEF said that warehouses in Madiama, Sira Koro/Soufouroulaye, and Mopti received 2,528 bags, or 182,100 kg of rice seeds. 

The lingering famine and continuing violence in the Sahel region are a source of instability in the region.  The serious issues at hand are being addressed by GlobalGiving’s partners through the Sahel Relief Fund.

Thank you for your continuous support through GlobalGiving this holiday season!

Photo courtesy of Near East Foundation (NEF)
Photo courtesy of Near East Foundation (NEF)
Photo courtesy of Mercy Corps
Photo courtesy of Mercy Corps
Curing malnutrition with Plumpy
Curing malnutrition with Plumpy'Nut. Photo: Edesia

Thank you for your contribution to the Sahel Relief Fund.  As conditions of severe drought, high food prices, and instability continue, more than 15 million people in West Africa’s Sahel region are struggling under one of the worst humanitarian crises in half a century. But thanks to your generosity, GlobalGiving’s partners have been able to carry out efforts to fight malnutrition and poverty, support farmers and herders, and assist refugees. We are so grateful for your support in these efforts. Together we have raised almost $40,000 to help people in Niger, Mauritania, Mali, Chad, Senegal, and the rest of the region. Although many challenges still remain, your dollars are making a positive impact.  We are committed to letting you know exactly how your donations are helping the organizations working on the ground:

Near East Foundation (NEF) is delivering fast-growing, drought resistant seeds and training farmers on water-saving agricultural practices, so they can quickly regenerate their crop supply.

Edesia is shipping thousands of boxes of Plumpy’Nut, a miracle nutritional supplement that can save a child from malnutrition in only a few weeks, from their factory in Rhode Island to children in Chad.

Mercy Corps is helping drought-affected communities become resilient to disaster through emergency food and cash distribution, income generation programs, and nutritional screening programs.

Merlin USA is running an emergency health and nutrition initiative, including providing screenings and supplements for pregnant women, new mothers, and children under five, and conducting health and nutrition education sessions.

US Association for UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) is working to improve conditions in camps for refugees who have fled from their drought-ravaged homes, supplying critical aid such as tents, food, water, and health care.

Oxfam America is distributing cash transfers to families across the Sahel, which allows them to purchase food, health care, and other needed goods all while supporting local food markets and economies.

Rain for the Sahel and the Sahara is helping rural nomadic peoples to maintain their livelihoods—their herds—by stocking an animal feed bank, providing them with both food and economic support.

Action Against Hunger UK already received enough donations to fully fund their project, establishing a therapeutic feeding center and outpatient program and helping thousands of children be cured of malnutrition and receive vaccinations.

Because of these and other projects, life is better for some people in the Sahel. But, there is still far to go in bringing relief and creating a more secure future. We will continue to update you about how your donations are being used and how they are impacting those affected by the crisis. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.

Thank you again for your support!

Beginning to plant. Photo: NEF
Beginning to plant. Photo: NEF
Protecting herds & livelihoods. Photo: Mercy Corps
Protecting herds & livelihoods. Photo: Mercy Corps


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Washington, D.C., United States

Project Leader

Britt Lake

Washington, D.C. United States

Where is this project located?