Years of unpredictable rains and poor harvests, along with existing intense poverty, have left 5.5 million people facing significant food shortages this year. The UN and Government of Niger have both declared this situation a serious crisis. Mercy Corps teams work in the most at-risk areas, and are expanding programs to Mali, where 3.5 million face severe food insecurity. We help communities deal with effects of drought, soaring food prices, malnutrition and low food levels in the Sahel Region.
Late rains and damage from insects at the end of 2011 left between 70 and 100 percent of farmers with no crops to harvest at all. Families struggle to make food last from one October harvest to the next even during normal years, but with no stored crops and little grazing for weakened livestock, the number of people with access to enough food is plummeting rapidly. Food prices are soaring as a result. Between October and December 2011 the cost of grain staples like millet and sorghum doubled.
Of the 5.5 million people facing food shortages, 1.3 million are at serious risk from hunger and need immediate humanitarian assistance. Our priorities are to distribute emergency food and cash; create cash-for-work jobs for locals; support 8 nutritional screening centers that identify malnourished children and distribute high-protein supplements; help herders keep their existing animals healthy; and, help build communities' resilience to drought and food shortages, now and in the future.
As we help the people of Niger and Mali survive this crisis, we believe it's vital to invest in ways to stop the cycle of hunger from recurring the years to come. We aim to do this by strengthening communities through expansion of a comprehensive community-based health program to address more systemic causes of malnutrition and focus efforts on nutrition. Mercy Corps also aims to strengthen livelihoods by providing vocational training for women and youth, sub-grants, and promote savings.
"We have nothing left to eat in this village. Some households are only getting one meal within 36 or 48 hours...we have nothing left so we need help...We lost everything. We need help." - Community Member, Kanya Village, Niger, Beneficiary
Total Funding Received to Date: $3,273
Remaining Goal to be Funded: $6,727
Total Funding Goal: $10,000
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).