Repeated food crises in recent years have systematically weakened the ability of communities in Niger to adequately feed their families and prepare for future droughts. Though we have made great strides towards recovery, screening 19,000 children for malnutrition and rehabilitating 20 wells, the projected food shortages for 2013 continue to leave families in the Tillabéri region at risk.
Your continued support in Niger is therefore critical to help families rebuild their lives and weather future shocks.
So far, you have reached more than 4,000 households through:
This work benefits all members of the household, including women and girls.
Gender inequality in Niger is widespread and the bulk of household chores fall to women and girls, including the responsibility to care for livestock like sheep and goats.
Through providing training on animal husbandry techniques, you empower women and give them the tools to gain economic stability for their families. Sheep and goats are highly valued in Niger, and healthy animals afford women social influence as well as provide an important source of nutrition for their families.
Your support strengthens the recovery of vulnerable families in Niger during food shortages and helps communities become resilient to future food crises.
Thank you for continuing to care about people in need in Niger, one of the world’s toughest places.
Last summer, Aissata Diallo (pictured above) watched her son leave their village in northern Mali. She did not want to let him go, but since her husband died, she had struggled to feed her four children — and at the height of the region’s hunger crisis, their situation had become desperate.
“I have no source of income and no plot to grow food,” she explained. “Often all we had is what neighbors gave me from the rest of their meal.”
Aissata’s is one of many families that was torn apart last year — not just by the search for food, but by the violence that had taken hold of northern Mali. Thankfully, because of you, last fall we were able to distribute emergency vouchers and provide food to over 20,000 people who were affected by this instability - as mentioned in the last progress report.
These vouchers not only made a huge impact for mothers like Aissata and their communities, they were also the first step in starting our long-term programs in Mali.
“It is because of your help that I can smile,” Aissata told our distribution team. “It was as if it was my son who had returned to me. These vouchers have value even beyond providing my family with meals — I was proud to choose and receive my items from the market.”
But the conflict that was holding northern Mali hostage all year reached a breaking point in January. When our staff could reach communities again, they found once again that these communities didn’t have access to enough food. So our teams launched again in April what we knew worked for families in these communities - another round of emergency voucher distributions to help people buy food in the reopened markets until harvest season returns. This time, the distributions also addressed the cholera concern that the rainy season brings. Along with offering information about healthy sanitation at the distributions, these vouchers also allow people to purchase hygiene supplies like soap, bleach and water purification tabs.
Recipients like Alkafietou Hamidou, who cares for her blind mother and handicapped daughter, are grateful. “The risk of getting sick is always here,” she said. “Getting these hygiene supplies is really beneficial. It gives me a reason to smile in a difficult life.”
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. Thank you.
More than a year has passed since we began our work in northern Mali, a region continuing to grapple with severe drought, conflict, and political crisis. Because of your generosity, Mercy Corps has been able to remain in the country and provide those affected with vouchers for food and other basic provisions. These vouchers allow these women to buy the food they need most from the local market.
We have also been able to expand our operations in the country and help feed more than 18,000 people by providing vouchers for food and other provisions - covering up to 50% of a family's basic needs for one month.
Looking ahead, Mercy Corps is gearing up for the rainy season and the potential for cholera, which hit the region hard last year. The next round of vouchers given will include a portion designated to hygiene and water purification goods only. We are also training households on good hygiene practices and helping the women and youth who transport the water learn how to properly clean their equipment.
With your support, we have been able to provide hope to the families and communities devastated this past year. But Mercy Corps is also committed to long term solutions, and is implementing an innovative agricultural program for these communities. This will ensure that families gain resiliency and never have to worry about a food crisis again.
As we move forward in this year, I will continue to send you updates on both our food voucher program and our long term plans for the Sahel region. Thank you for your support that enables us to help these families.
Our work in Niger is far from over. We continue to see food shortages and malnutrition that affect not only individual families and villages, but the entire country. That being said, keeping people alive remains our top priority, and our teams are dedicated to making this happen.
Thanks to you, we were able to do some incredible life-saving work in Niger:
As 2013 progresses, we will continue these successful efforts to eradicate malnutrition. Plus, because of your donation, we have been able to start a new program to address food security in Niger. We are now working in the regions of Maradi and Zinder – where malnutrition is highest for children under five, and particularly for children under age two. This program is especially important for women and girls, too. In our nutrition education classes, they learn how to diversify their food sources, and how to stay healthy during pregnancies. They also learn new ways to generate income, and diversify food production to feed their families.
Because of your contribution we are able to keep moving forward with our emergency relief and long-term programs in Niger. Your support has touched many lives and you have brought hope to one of the world's toughest places.
Please check out our website for more information.
As we ring in the New Year, we spend time reviewing what has been done in 2012. Because of you, we at Mercy Corps were able to do some real life-changing work this year!
You are the reason we were able to provide emergency food in the Sahel region, vocational training in Afghanistan, and Hurricane Sandy relief in Haiti -- among our many other projects and programs around the world. Thank you.
We like to see the people you impacted, and I bet you do too. Over 17,000 photos were collected this year and we would like to share some of them with you!
Check out our slide show of the ten best images from 2012 and witness photos of:
And many others!
These images capture the resilient and strong-willed spirit of those we work with, but there is still so much to be done.
As you consider your end-of-year giving, I encourage you to donate to a Mercy Corps project through Global Giving. Choose this one or pick a different project to make a lifesaving difference for families in need:
With you, in 2013, we will continue to make it a brighter, healthier year for families in the world’s most desperate places. With your support, we can make it happen - together!
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