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Capacity for resilience at the heart of ACTED’s concerns, despite emergencies - In the last decade, three food crises hit Niger’s pastoral and agropastoral areas, leading to continued degradation of household economy. In Niger since the 2010 crisis, ACTED provided an emergency response to the most vulnerable populations in 2011, by injecting cash and food distributions. In parallel, ACTED also led interventions aimed at improving the mod-term situation of the same households by raising awareness to improved agropastoral techniques and to best nutrition, food, hygiene and health practices.
An emergency response to the food and nutrition crisis
In order to respond to the short-term needs of the most vulnerable populations, ACTED implemented projects in the regions hardest hit by the previous food and nutrition crisis. In the Tillaberi region, 27,972 people received unconditional cash transfers based on their vulnerability. 702 metric tonnes of food were distributed to 39,662 people. 1,580 families were compensated in exchange for rehabilitation and infrastructure development work in several villages, also allowing to reinject cash into the local economy. Finally, three malnutrition screening campaigns for under-5 children helped refer 929 children to malnutrition centres. Following events in Libya in 2011, many Nigeriens working in Libya returned to Niger. This rapid return deprived their families of a source of income, making their households increasingly fragile. ACTED helped 839 families organise unconditional cash transfers to help them face this unexpected situation.
Strengthening households’ resilience as part of an integrated and sustainable approach
Besides these emergency interventions, ACTED also committed to strengthening the resilience of supported households in order for them to respond efficiently to structural causes of the food and nutrition crisis that is hitting Niger. For this purpose, ACTED organised four agricultural and pastoral input fairs for cash injection beneficiaries to strengthen their production capacities. In the same way, 31 paraveterinary assistants were trained to herd basic needs, while 139 community focal points were trained to awareness raising in their villages to improved agropastoral techniques. As part of the fight against a nutritional crisis striking mostly children under 5 and pregnant and breastfeeding women, ACTED sensitised 1,045 women to best practices in nutrition, food, hygiene and health, while 139 community focal points were mobilised in animating mass awareness sessions, highly appreciated by villagers, on the same topics. Finally, several studies and assessments were conducted and disseminated throughout the year 2011, contributing to the improve humanitarian stakeholders’ and partners’ knowledge of the region of Tillaberi and its populations, therefore contributing to the definition and improvement of programmatic planning in the areas.
ACTED’s challenge for 2012: Fighting food insecurity and supporting conflict-affected refugees
Following poor harvests, the situation of the most vulnerable households deteriorated again in late 2011. Because of low rainfall and parasite attacks during the 2011 agricultural season, more than half the villages (6,981 villages, representing more than 6 million people) face a cereal deficit, estimated for the whole country at 692,000 metric tonnes, over 15% of Niger’s food needs. Besides, events in Northern Mali since January 2012 have forced many Malians to seek refuge in Niger, rendering the economy even more fragile, particularly in the Tillaberi region. In this context, ACTED intends to provide an emergency response to the food crisis in the Sahel, and provide support to refugee populations fleeing conflict and violence. Responses to the structural crisis will be continued in order to break the cycle of insecurity by strengthening households’ capacities for resilience and by developing an integrated and sustainable approach. Finally, ACTED wishes to support the civil society by accompanying local initiatives and policies that encourage partnerships and capacity building.
Partners in 2011
Centre de Crise (CDC), Cellule Crises Alimentaires (CCA), Programme alimentaire mondial (PAM), Service d’aide humanitaire et de la protection civile de la Commission européenne (ECHO).