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Published on 23/05/2014

Strengthening the Resilience of Vulnerable Populations in the Sahel

Serious food shortages are a recurring problem in the Sahel. Emergency and development programmes have not been able to limit the vulnerability of the populations confronting abrupt climate changes, natural disasters and conflicts, nor prevent their impact on food and nutritional security. Strengthening the resilience of these poor implies enhancing their ability to overcome what have now become structural crises, meaning a multisector approach and joining together short-, medium- and long-term initiatives. GRET is conducting two new projects going in this direction in 2014.

In April GRET got two new resilience-strengthening projects off the ground: In the Mouhoun and Nayala provinces of Burkina Faso (Repam project) in partnership with the Burkina Federation of Farming Professionals (Fepab); And in the Guidimakha region of Mauritania (Resanut project). GRET is blending short-term initiatives with integrated strategies to counter the structural causes of food and nutritional insecurity:

  • Boosting the production capabilities of the poorest families. During the lean or “hunger gap” periods preceding harvests and when foodstuff shortages start, the idea is to maintain or reconstitute the productive capital of families through social transfer strategies (money or food transfers); farming and non-farming activity stimulus funds;
  • Bolstering and securing the means of subsistence coming from farming to upgrade food and nutritional security. To do this, GRET is assisting producers and groupings of producers in adopting improved growing techniques and systems by diversifying crop productions (cereals and market garden produce) and developing new economic activities (rearing/breeding, food processing and marketing);
  • Enhancing nutrition knowledge and practices. GRET is raising awareness of good food practices, care and hygiene, is supporting local production as well as low-cost marketing of fortified foods, and is promoting the eating of local foodstuffs with high nutritive value.

The 3- or 4-year experiments will be analysed and published in order to make its lessons widely known. Working with producers’ organisations will enable vulnerable families to benefit from the local services which will be developed.