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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    04/25/2013 14:30 GMT

    Par André VIOLLAZ

    NEW YORK (Nations unies), 25 avr 2013 (AFP) - Le Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU a autorisé jeudi la création d'une force de maintien de la paix de 12.600 Casques bleus chargés de stabiliser le nord du Mali après l'intervention française contre les islamistes qui contrôlaient cette région.

    Cette Mission intégrée des Nations unies pour la stabilisation au Mali (Minusma), qui prendra le relais de la Misma (force panafricaine), sera déployée effectivement au 1er juillet prochain, si les conditions de sécurité le permettent, et "pour une période initiale de 12 mois".

    Dans les 60 jours à venir, le Conseil devra déterminer si la sécurité sur le terrain est suffisante, indique la résolution, mise au point par la France et adoptée à l'unanimité.

    La Minusma comprendra au maximum 11.200 soldats et 1.440 policiers, dont des "bataillons de reserve capables de se déployer rapidement".

    Le texte autorise "les troupes françaises (...) à intervenir en soutien à des éléments de la Minusma en cas de danger grave et imminent les menaçant et à la demande" du secrétaire général de l'ONU Ban Ki-moon.

    Un millier de soldats français doivent rester au Mali pour contrer une éventuelle guérilla des groupes islamistes armés. L'armée française dispose aussi de bases arrières au Sénégal, en Côte d'Ivoire ou au Tchad.

    Le contingent français au Mali doit passer de 3.850 soldats aujourd'hui à 2.000 en juillet et un millier fin 2013. Au plus fort de l'opération Serval, lancée le 11 janvier, il comptait près de 4.500 hommes.

    La Minusma n'aura pas pour mission la lutte antiterroriste mais devra "stabiliser les centres urbains essentiels, particulièrement dans le Nord" et "empêcher un retour d'éléments armés dans ces zones". Les Casques bleus devront aussi protéger les civils et le patrimoine culturel et contrôler le respect des droits de l'Homme.

    Selon Human Rights Watch, la Minusma a reçu un "mandat vigoureux sur les droits de l'Homme" mais elle devra "agir vite pour protéger les civils vulnérables" et éviter les représailles contre Touaregs et arabes, soupçonnés par Bamako d'avoir soutenu les jihadistes dans le nord.

    "Nombreux risques"

    Les Casques bleus aideront aussi les autorités maliennes à instaurer "un dialogue politique national", organiser des élections "libres, équitables et transparentes", et promouvoir la réconciliation avec les Touaregs du Nord. Un représentant spécial de l'ONU pour le Mali sera nommé pour diriger la Minusma.

    Son déploiement effectif dépendra de certains critères, dont "la fin des principales opérations de combat par les forces armées internationales" et une "nette réduction de la capacité des forces terroristes de constituer une menace importante".

    Les Casques bleus seront choisis autant que possible dans les effectifs de la Misma, la force conjointe des pays de l'ouest africain. Celle-ci compte 6.300 hommes venus de pays membres de la Communauté économique des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (Cédéao) et du Tchad, déployés à Bamako et dans le nord.

    "La montée en puissance de la Minusma va prendre des mois", explique un diplomate: les effectifs devraient atteindre 6.000 hommes au 1er juillet et augmenter parallèlement à la réduction du contingent français.

    Environ 150 militaires français devraient participer à la Minusma, dont des officiers intégrés au commandement. Selon un expert, l'opération devrait coûter plusieurs centaines de millions de dollars par an à effectif plein.

    Cette initiative représente "un certain défi" pour l'ONU, souligne un autre diplomate: "Il est inhabituel de lancer une opération de maintien de la paix alors qu'il n'y a pas de paix à maintenir".

    Dans un récent rapport, Ban Ki-moon soulignait "les nombreux risques", dont les "attaques terroristes". Après une visite au Mali mi-mars, le sous-secrétaire général Edmond Mulet évoquait "des menaces inédites, jamais rencontrées dans un contexte de maintien de la paix".

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    Source: African Development Bank
    Country: Mali

    A Round Table of donors for the financing of the Drinking Water Project in Bamako was held on 18-19 April 2013 in Bamako, Mali. The meeting noted significant developments in project preparation from the technical, environmental and institutional viewpoints.

    The discussions helped to ensure the commitment of major donors to pursue their participation in the project’s implementation and to agree with the government and other partners as to the way forward with regard to the project’s execution.

    This project is a priority and symbolic by virtue of its size and the number of donors involved. It is all the more important as it seeks in time to resolve the drinking water supply problem of the city. The project will make possible an additional production of 144 cubic meters per day and is all the more urgent as water shortage in Bamako has been intensified by the ongoing political crisis.

    The meeting was co-chaired by the AfDB Resident Representative in Mali and the Leader of the Technical and Financial Partners (TFPs), Hélène N’Garnim-Ganga. It was the obvious follow-up of the collaboration process between the government and the TFPs in the past months in order to revive the project.

    Other than the AfDB, about ten donors participated in the meeting They include the World bank, the European Union, the Agence Française de Developpement, the West Afica Development Bank , the Islamic Development Bank, the Italian Cooperation, the European Investment Bank.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    04/25/2013 16:42 GMT

    by Andre Viollaz

    United Nations, April 25, 2013 (AFP) - The UN Security Council on Thursday unanimously agreed to send a 12,600-member international force to Mali to take over from French and African troops battling Islamist guerrillas.

    The United Nations is aiming for a July 1 start by the new force, but the 15-nation council will decide later whether the conflict has eased enough for the handover.

    "We know its going to be a fairly volatile environment," UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told reporters after the vote.

    Mali called French troops into the country in January to halt an Islamist advance on the capital Bamako. French and African troops have since pushed the Al-Qaeda-linked militants into desert and mountain hideouts, from where they are now staging guerrilla attacks.

    France is winding down its force from its peak of nearly 4,500 but is to keep up to 1,000 troops in Mali and they will maintain responsibility for military strikes against the Islamists.

    UN Resolution 2100 authorizes France to intervene if the UN troops are "under imminent and serious threat and at the demand" of UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

    "Our soldiers still in Mali will be able to come to the support of the peacekeeping operation if circumstances demand," France's President Francois Hollande said in a statement welcoming the UN resolution.

    The resolution also says the new UN force should use "all necessary measures" to stabilize major cities, protect civilians and help the government extend its authority over the vast West African nation.

    But Mali remains unstable with Tuareg rebels still refusing to disarm. And UN officials acknowledged the dangers facing the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, to be known by its French acronym MINUSMA.

    "In an environment that will certainly see assymetric attacks, the stabilization mission will have to defend itself and its mandate depending on circumstances," said UN peacekeeping chief Ladsous.

    In a recent report on Mali, Ban said the new UN mission would face "significant threats" including "terrorist groups and tactics, the proliferation of weapons, improvised explosive devices, unexploded ordnance and landmines."

    The UN force will have a maximum of 11,200 soldiers and 1,440 police, most of whom will come from the 6,300 troops from 10 African nations already in Mali. About 150 French soldiers will join MINUSMA.

    The Security Council will decide over the next 60 days if there has been a "cessation of major combat operations by international military forces" and "a significant reduction in the capacity of terrorist forces to pose a major threat" so the UN mission can start on time.

    Mali's army launched a coup in March 2012, which unleashed the chaos that allowed Tuareg rebels and their erstwhile Islamist allies to take over the north of the country and impose brutal Islamic rule.

    Many shrines in Timbuktu and other cities were destroyed, and public executions and amputations staged.

    The UN mission will help to retrain Malian security forces and will also play a key role in political efforts to rebuild the enfeebled Malian state.

    They will help Malian transitional authorities organize "inclusive, free, fair and transparent" presidential and legislative elections and help start "an inclusive national dialogue and reconciliation process."

    A special representative for Mali will be named to direct the mission.

    Mali's Foreign Minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly called the resolution "an important step in the process to stem the activities of terrorist and rebel groups."

    Widespread doubts have been expressed however about the government's ability to hold elections by the target date of July 31.

    The UN will have to help overcome deep mistrust between the Bamako government and Tuareg and Arab minorities. The international community is also concerned about the lingering influence of the Mali coup leaders over the transitional government.

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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Chad, Mali, Nigeria, Sudan

    LES TITRES

    • Le Tchad recevra 8 millions d’euros de la commission des budgets de l’Union Européenne (Parlement Européen, 25 avril)

    • UNHCR starts moving displaced families from Darfur to safer areas of Chad (UNHCR, 23 April)

    • Tchad : évacuations de blessés graves en provenance du Darfour (APO, 24 avril)

    • La médecine cubaine a découvert le vaccin contre le cancer (Tchadinfos, 23 avril)

    • La pénurie alimentaire menace 20 millions de Sahéliens (AFP, 24 avril)

    • Le chef de l’ONU appelle à combler un déficit de près de 5 milliards $ par an dans la lutte contre le paludisme (Xinhua, 24 avril)

    • Les Africains devraient être plus proactifs face aux changements climatiques (Xinhua, 23 avril)

    • Des actions humanitaires expliquées aux journalistes (Le Progrès, 24 avril)

    • L’ADC présente les méfaits du tabac aux députés (Le Progrès, 25 avril)


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    Source: UN Security Council
    Country: Mali

    CS/10987 Conseil de sécurité
    6952e séance – matin

    « La résolution 2100 (2013) marque une étape importante dans le processus visant à endiguer les groupes terroristes », affirme le Ministre malien des affaires étrangères

    Le Conseil de sécurité a décidé ce matin, en vertu du Chapitre VII de la Charte des Nations Unies, de créer une Mission multidimensionnelle intégrée des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation au Mali (MINUSMA), qui comprendra un effectif total allant jusqu’à 12 640 Casques bleus et policiers.

    Par sa résolution 2100 (2013), adoptée à l’unanimité de ses 15 membres, le Conseil de sécurité décide que l’autorité de la Mission internationale de soutien au Mali sous conduite africaine (MISMA), requise par le Conseil dans sa résolution 2085 (2012), sera transférée à la MINUSMA. La MINUSMA commencera à s’acquitter de son mandat à partir du 1er juillet 2013 pour une période initiale d’une année.

    Cette date, ainsi que le déploiement échelonné de la MINUSMA, sera revue par le Conseil 60 jours après l’adoption de la présente résolution en fonction de l’état de sécurité dans la zone d’opérations de la Mission, « notamment selon que les principaux combats menés par les forces militaires internationales auront cessé et que la capacité des terroristes aura été nettement réduite ». Le Conseil pourra donc modifier le calendrier de déploiement de la Mission s’il estime que la situation ne satisfait pas à ces critères avant le 1er juillet 2013.

    Le Ministre des affaires étrangères et de la coopération internationale du Mali, M. Tieman Hubert Coulibaly, qui participait à la réunion du Conseil, a indiqué que cette résolution marquait une étape importante dans le processus visant à endiguer les activités des groupes terroristes et rebelles.

    La résolution 2100 (2013) énumère, parmi les principaux éléments du mandat de la Mission, la stabilisation de la situation dans les principales agglomérations et la contribution au rétablissement de l’autorité de l’État dans tout le pays. Tandis que les autorités maliennes de transition sont instamment engagées à tenir des élections présidentielle et législatives, « dès que ce sera techniquement possible », le Conseil confie en outre à la Mission la tâche de contribuer à l’application de la feuille de route pour la transition, y compris le dialogue national et le processus électoral.

    En ce qui concerne l’action en faveur de la justice, partie intégrante du mandat de la MINUSMA, le Conseil autorise la Mission à user « de tous moyens nécessaires », dans la limite de ses zones d’opérations, pour aider les autorités de transition maliennes à rétablir l’administration de l’État dans tout le pays, à stabiliser la situation dans les principales agglomérations et, dans ce contexte, « à écarter les menaces et prendre activement des dispositions afin d’empêcher le retour d’éléments armés dans ces zones ».

    La MINUSMA pourra en outre user de tels moyens pour assurer la protection du personnel des Nations Unies et « des civils immédiatement menacés de violences physiques », ainsi que pour le concours qu’elle apporte à l’action des autorités maliennes de transition « en vue de traduire en justice les auteurs de crimes de guerre et de crimes contre l’humanité commis au Mali ». Ces autorités ont en effet saisi la Cour pénale internationale de la situation dans leur pays.

    Par la présente résolution, le Conseil autorise en outre l’armée française, dans la limite de ses zones de déploiement, à user de tous moyens nécessaires, à partir du commencement des activités de la MINUSMA et jusqu’à la fin de son mandat, « pour se porter au secours d’éléments de la Mission en cas de danger grave et imminent ». Le Secrétaire général devra, au préalable, en avoir fait la demande.

    La MINUSMA comprendra jusqu’à 11 200 membres du personnel militaire, y compris des bataillons de réserve pouvant être déployés rapidement à l’intérieur du pays, et 1 440 membres du personnel de police. Par la résolution 2100 (2013), le Conseil demande aux États Membres de fournir des contingents et du personnel de police ayant les capacités et l’équipement nécessaires pour aider la nouvelle Mission à s’acquitter de ses responsabilités.

    Le représentant de la Fédération de Russie, M. Vitaly Churkin, a tenu à rappeler qu’il incombait, en premier lieu, aux Maliens de trouver une solution à la crise au Mali. Il s’est dit préoccupé par la récente tendance visant à imposer aux Casques bleus des tâches qui ne relèvent pas, selon lui, du domaine du maintien de la paix, comme par exemple la poursuite des personnes recherchées par la Cour pénale internationale. Ces tâches, a-t-il averti, pourraient avoir des conséquences imprévisibles pour la sécurité du personnel des Nations Unies.

    Le Gouvernement de transition malien, a assuré M. Coulibaly, s’attelle activement à la mise en œuvre de la feuille de route à travers l’organisation d’élections transparentes et le démarrage effectif d’un processus de dialogue inclusif intermalien. « La mise en place d’une Commission Dialogue et Réconciliation participe de cette dynamique », a-t-il ajouté.

    Pour sa part, l’Observateur de l’Union africaine, M. Tete Antonio, a souhaité que le rôle central de l’Union africaine et la Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CEDEAO) soit reconnu, puisque ces deux organisations maintiendront une présence forte à Bamako. Il a aussi demandé de continuer à tenir des consultations avant de prendre des décisions importantes comme le choix des contingents et une bonne coordination entre la MINUSMA, les forces françaises et l’armée malienne.


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    Source: African Development Bank
    Country: Mali

    Une Table ronde des bailleurs de fonds pour le financement du Projet d’Alimentation en Eau Potable de Bamako s’est tenue les 18 et 19 avril 2013 à Bamako. La rencontre a noté une avancée significative dans la préparation du projet au plan technique, environnemental et institutionnel.

    Les discussions ont également permis de s’assurer de l’engagement des principaux bailleurs à participer à sa mise en œuvre et de convenir avec les autorités gouvernementales et les partenaires des prochaines étapes dans les instructions respectives du projet.

    Ce projet est prioritaire et emblématique de par sa taille et le nombre de bailleurs qui y participent. Il est d’autant plus important qu’il vise, à terme, à la résolution du problème de l’approvisionnement en eau potable du grand Bamako. Le projet permettra une production additionnelle de 144 mille mètre cube/jour. Un projet d’autant plus urgent que le stress hydrique au niveau de la ville a été exacerbé par la situation de crise que la pays vit en ce moment.

    La rencontre a été coprésidée par la Représentante Résidente de la BAD au Mali et Chef de file des Partenaires Techniques et Financiers (PTFs), Hélène N’Garnim-Ganga. Elle était la suite logique d’un processus de partenariat qu’entretient le Gouvernement avec les PTF pour la relance de ce projet.

    Outre, la BAD, une dizaine de bailleurs de fonds y ont participé. Ce sont la Banque Européenne d’Investissement, l’Agence Française de Développement, l’Union Européenne, la Banque Islamique de Développement, la Banque Ouest Africaine de Développement, la Banque mondiale, l’Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine et la Coopération italienne.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Mali
    preview


    Faits saillants

    • L’insécurité alimentaire reste un souci majeur dans les régions du nord (Gao, Tombouctou et Kidal) où au moins un ménage sur cinq est actuellement sévèrement touché par le manque de nourriture.

    • L’épidémie de choléra qui survient souvent durant la saison des pluies risque d’être plus grave cette année si des ressources adéquates ne sont pas disponibles maintenant pour la prévention.

    • Les mouvements internes de populations du sud vers le nord et du nord vers le sud continuent d’être observés.
      Les déplacements du nord vers le sud représentent 62% des 37 900 personnes recensées dans les deux directions du 12 janvier au 31 mars 2013.

    • Les personnes déplacées internes (PDI) sont estimées à 282 548 par la Commission Mouvement de Population et les réfugiés maliens dans les pays voisins à 173 779 selon l’UNHCR.

    • L’appel humanitaire (CAP) pour le Mali est financé à hauteur de 26%. Environ 107 millions de dollars ont été mobilisés sur une requête globale de 409,7 millions de dollars. Les acteurs humanitaires préparent la révision à mi-parcours de cet appel.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger
    preview


    La situation humanitaire continue de s’aggraver au nord du Mali et demeure très préoccupante dans l’ensemble du pays où d’énormes besoins persistent.

    Link: Complex Emergency Situation Report No. 31 (as of 25 April 2013)


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger
    preview


    Highlights.

    • Food insecurity remains a major concern in the northern regions (Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal), where at least one household in five faces severe food shortages.

    • Cholera outbreaks often occur during the rainy season, and could be worse this year without sufficient investment in prevention.

    • Internal population movements continue from north to south and vice versa. Displacements from north to south represent 62% of the total of 37,900 people censed in both direction between 12 January and 31 March.

    • Internally displaced people (IDPs) are estimated at 282,548 by the Commission of Population Movement. UNHCR estimates that 173,779 Malian refugees are living in neighbouring countries.

    • Humanitarian Appeal (CAP) for Mali is 26 per cent funded.
      Around $107 million has been mobilized of the total $409.7 million required. Humanitarian partners are preparing the midyear review of the appeal.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Central African Republic, Chad, Sudan

    (N’Djamena, 26 avril 2013): Pour répondre aux besoins d’urgence des refugiés soudanais et centrafricains, des migrants tchadiens retournés du Soudan ainsi que les personnes en insécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle, le Fonds central des Nations Unies pour les interventions d’urgence (CERF) a accordé, sous la fenêtre «Réponse Rapide », près de 5 millions de dollars à cinq agences des Nations Unies.

    «Cette enveloppe arrive au moment où les agences humanitaires font face à un manque important de financement, et permettra de répondre, entre autres, aux besoins pressants de plus de 30 000 réfugiés soudanais et centrafricains qui ont fui les violences intercommunautaires au Darfour et les combats en République centrafricaine dans des conditions déplorables ainsi que plus de 19 000 retournés tchadiens du Soudan», a dit Thomas Gurtner, Coordonnateur de l’action humanitaire au Tchad.

    Le CERF octroie 1,2 million de dollars américains au Haut Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés (HCR) pour l’assistance humanitaire d’urgence et pour la protection des nouveaux réfugiés soudanais et centrafricains. L'Organisation internationale pour les migrations (IOM) a reçu 595 000 dollars pour aider les retournés tchadiens de la Libye et du Soudan à regagner leurs localités d’origine.
    Avec 1,2 million de dollars, le Programme alimentaire mondiale (PAM) donnera une assistance alimentaire ciblée aux réfugiés et à d’autres personnes affectées par la malnutrition et la crise alimentaire dans la bande sahélienne du Tchad. Un autre million de dollars permettra également au PAM d’assurer les vols humanitaires à travers UNHAS pour faciliter l’accès de l’aide humanitaire en faveur des populations touchées à travers le pays. Le Fonds des Nations Unies pour l’enfance (UNICEF) utilisera les 599 000 dollars reçus pour sauver les enfants sévèrement malnutris dans la bande sahélienne et, avec 150 000 dollars, l’Organisation des Nation des Nations Unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture (FAO) donnera des semences d’urgence aux ménages vulnérables des régions fortement touchées par le déficit céréalier.

    Il y a un mois, le Coordonnateur de l’action humanitaire au Tchad, M. Thomas Gurtner, attirait l’attention de la communauté internationale sur la situation de sous-financement qui affecte la capacité de beaucoup d’agences humanitaires au Tchad. Pour une requête d’environ 500 millions de dollars à travers l’Appel de fonds consolidé (CAP), 29% ont été décaissés à ce jour. Le Multi-secteur pour les refugiés (1,6%) et le secteur d’Eau, Hygiène et Assainissement (4,2%) sont parmi les moins financés.

    Le CERF qui a été créé en 2005 par l'Assemblée générale de l'ONU est géré par le Bureau de Coordination des Affaires Humanitaires des Nations Unies (OCHA). Ce Fonds a servi, par le passé, à assister les populations confrontées à de graves épidémies et les retournés tchadiens de la Libye ainsi que les personnes frappées par la crise alimentaire et nutritionnelle au Tchad.


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    Source: Inter Press Service
    Country: Malawi

    By Mabvuto Banda

    LILONGWE, Apr 26 2013 (IPS) - Each night Esnart Phiri, a widow with five children, sleeps outside the gates of the state-run maize trader or Admarc market, in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe, as she waits for days on end to buy maize.

    Queues at Admarcs are never-ending as thousands of people wait for days to purchase the staple crop. Phiri told IPS that she puts her eldest child in the queue at night, in order to keep her place for the next day, while she sleeps with her other children in one of the office corridors across the streets.

    “The market has become my temporary home with my children because I have no energy to walk back and forth every day. I would rather sleep here and wait for the maize,” she said. Phiri is from Chinsapo Township, some 40 km from Lilongwe.

    This southern African nation has been hit by a maize shortage after two consecutive dry spells. Maize is Malawi’s most important food crop, accounting for 90 percent of all caloric intake, followed by cassava, sweet potatoes and sorghum. But, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Malawi’s cereal production for 2011/2012 was seven percent below the previous season’s harvest.

    Over two million people are facing food shortages this year due to the prolonged dry spells and soaring food prices that have pushed consumer inflation to 36.6 percent as of March.

    Phiri may not be willing to walk from Chinsapo every day, but each morning before the sun rises, a four-month pregnant Memory Jamesi wakes up and walks 40 km to the Admarc in Lilongwe.

    A few weeks ago the mother of three was so weak that she fainted while standing in the long Admarc queue.

    “I felt very weak and tired…I started shaking violently as I stood on the queue and I don’t know what happened after that,” Jamesi told IPS as she lay in her hospital bed in the over-crowded female ward at Kamuzu Central Hospital.

    But Jamesi’s plight is hardly unique. About five in 10 residents in Chinsapo said their children have gone hungry over the last few months, not only because of the maize shortage, but because they cannot even afford to buy it when it is available.

    A 50-kg bag of maize used to cost around 13 dollars, but now the price has more than doubled to about 30 dollars – way above the earnings of those living in dire poverty, on less than 20 dollars a month.

    In a country where women make up 70 percent of the farming workforce and are the breadwinners in their families, women and children are bearing the brunt of the high food prices.

    The food situation has also worsened in the last two months, since about 30,000 metric tonnes of maize in the strategic grain reserves went bad.

    This, according to principal secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Jeffrey Luhanga, was enough maize to feed almost 400,000 of the two million people in need of food aid.

    “The 30,000 metric tonnes of maize that went bad was enough to feed the masses up to harvest period. But now we have had to import 50,000 metric tonnes from Zambia to help fill the gaps,” Luhanga told IPS.

    This was the first time in six years that Malawi has had to import maize from neighbouring Zambia.

    From 2006 to 2011, Malawi reaped bumper harvests of maize because of a successful fertiliser subsidy programme. Under the programme, which started in 2005, the poorest farming families are given a 40 percent reduction in the cost of fertilisers and seeds.

    It worked well for Malawi. In 2003, the country adopted the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which aims to help eliminate hunger and reduce poverty.

    But the two consecutive dry spells and corruption in the distribution and supply of fertiliser for the subsidy programme have cut the bumper harvests and affected yields.

    “During the last two years under the administration of (late president President Bingu wa) Mutharika, the fertiliser inputs subsidy programme was corrupted and the targeted families did not benefit because fertiliser was diverted. Secondly, two droughts, especially along the country’s maize belts, affected the harvests,” Luhanga said.

    However, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Peter Mwanza told IPS that the coming harvest was expected to be a strong one thanks to good rains.

    “Our first crop estimate shows that we expect to harvest 3.5 million metric tonnes, which is more than what we harvested last year,” Mwanza said.

    The initial harvest being forecast is more than the national requirement of 2.8 million metric tonnes.


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    Source: Government of Niger
    Country: Algeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Libya, Niger, Nigeria

    As the regional implications of the crisis in Mali become apparent, there has been speculation as to whether Niger will be the next country in the region to be undermined by Islamist insurgency and separatist rebellion, transnational organized crime, and weak governance practices.

    Commentators have drawn parallels between the two countries and the international community has eyed Niger with concern, not least due to its uranium and oil reserves. The government of Niger was, however, addressing the same concerns before events in Mali forced them to the top of international agendas. In October 2012, the government of Niger launched a five year initiative to tackle the security and development challenges in the Sahel-Sahara areas of the country which proposed projects to address the root causes of instability and implement local, national and regional mechanisms to prevent grievances, outside influences or disenfranchisement causing instability and state collapse.

    The strategy has five key themes:

    1. Enhancing the security of goods and people
    2. Ensuring access to economic opportunities
    3. Improving access to basic services
    4. Strengthening local and community governance
    5. Integrating forced returnees from Libya, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Algeria.

    Interconnected nature of economic development and security

    The strategy for security and development emphasizes that the two are interlinked and one cannot be addressed without the other. The strategy focuses on improving the economic circumstances of the population in recognition that this will neutralize security threats. It examines the challenges to economic growth including climate volatility, agricultural progress and diversification and details initiatives to address these issues, specifically in rural areas. It highlights the importance of infrastructure development and of creating employment opportunities for women and youth, underscoring the resulting security benefits.

    Countering the threats

    The strategy addresses challenges of security, notably drug trafficking, international terrorism and the exploitation of porous border and ungoverned or under governed spaces by proposing law enforcement, as well as military and border authority capacity building projects. Support for this strand of the strategy has been provided in 2013 by training and funding contributions from the European Union to build the capacity of Niger’s Gendarmerie, Police nationale and Garde nationale.

    Provision of services

    Key among the specific initiatives are projects to provide food and water security, health care clinics, education, water sanitation and transport infrastructure to the population. The strategy recognizes that the greatest challenges of poverty, the ravages of climate and poor technological progress are more prevalent in the more rural parts of the country and require solutions that engage the country as a whole.

    Stakeholder engagement at all levels

    The strategy emphasizes the importance of consulting local, national and regional stakeholders. It is inclusive of all sectors and groups within a diverse country, united by a political constitution but with few common priorities. The strategy recognizes this diversity and proposes platforms for dialogue and decentralization to accommodate local concerns. It proposes consultation with traditional leaders and with regional partners to address issues across the Sahel region, beyond the territorial boundaries of Niger.

    Regional implications

    The strategy recognizes that Niger is impacted by the shifting regional circumstances in North Africa and the Sahel and directly addresses the realities of returnees from Libya, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Algeria and now Mali. It addresses the challenges arising from such particularly to regions already vulnerable to food crises. Here the strategy again highlights the imperative for multilevel stakeholder engagement and local consultation, so the appropriate response can be found. It recognizes that the government of Niger must lead responses but recognizes the importance of the engagement of development partners, national and international investors, private sector and civil society organizations.

    Rhetoric or results?

    The collapse of a similar strategy in Mali demonstrates how admirable rhetoric can fail to bring real progress in the fields of security and development. There is no doubt that the challenges facing Niger are large, however, Niger’s traditionally decentralized society could be the key to the success of this strategy. At a recent seminar on security and development in Sahel-Sahara, convened in Niamey in February 2013, participants urged national, regional and international strategy developers to “think globally and act locally”. Security and development in Niger has global implications but through continued dialogue with local communities and traditional leaders and a focus on finding local economic and cultural solutions, the drafters believe this strategy will have a sustainable impact.


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    Source: NATO Civil-Military Fusion Centre
    Country: Jordan, Lebanon, Mali, Syrian Arab Republic
    preview


    This document provides complex coverage of global events from 16 – 22 April 2013 with hyperlinks to source material highlighted in blue and underlined in the text. For more information on the topics below or other issues pertaining to events in the region, contact the members of the Complex Coverage Team or visit our website at www.cimicweb.org.

    Inside this issue

    Iraq 1

    Mali 2

    Syria 3

    IED/Demining 5


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    Source: International Peace Institute
    Country: Mali, Somalia

    An integrated United Nations mission in Somalia will inevitably be politicized and compromise humanitarian aid to the troubled region, said Joel Charny, Vice President of InterAction, an alliance of 180 American nongovernmental organizations.

    In March, Mr. Charny’s organization, which works specifically in humanitarian and development aid, responded to the UN Security Council decision to integrate all UN functions in Somalia by releasing a joint statement with two other NGO consortia that read in part, “By requiring UN humanitarian coordination to fall under the political mandate of the new UN peacebuilding mission in Somalia, the neutrality, impartiality and independence of humanitarian action will be compromised.”

    Mr. Charny said that pushing back on the Security Council decision does not mean al-Shabaab is absolved from the responsibility for the suffering in their territory. “They have been very unreasonable in their demands of humanitarian organizations,” he said. “But let us, let our community, let individual agencies go in and see if access can be negotiated. We don’t accept the idea that inevitably, we're associated with the UN, and with foreign intervention, and with UN integration; there should be another possibility.”

    Mr. Charny said that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Valerie Amos, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, had words of caution about structural integration, but they were ignored, largely because of a big push by the United States. “[The] United States mission to the UN basically looked the Secretary-General in the eye, and basically defied him on the issue of this mission being structurally integrated. I find that incredible.”

    Though a structurally integrated mission similar to Somalia is likely planned for Mali, Mr. Charny said his organization might not push back as hard. “I am quite honestly not seeing as much energy on the Mali discussion as I saw on the Somalia discussion. So, in that sense, there's been a definite kind of political impact that's affected our community.”

    “I'm in favor of unity of effort, absolutely. But it's got to be unity of effort that allows for flexibility within the overall structure, so that humanitarian needs can be met in terms that we are comfortable with as a humanitarian community, and whether were going to see that in either Somalia or Mali I think can be questioned.”

    The interview was conducted by Jérémie Labbé, Senior Policy Analyst, International Peace Institute.

    Listen to interview (or download mp3)

    Transcript:

    Jérémie Labbé: I am here today with Joel Charny, Vice President of InterAction, an alliance of more than 180 American nongovernmental organizations working in humanitarian and development aid around the world. Joel, thank you very much for being with us today.

    In March, the UN Security Council decided to integrate all UN functions in Somalia under one UN umbrella, creating an integrated mission. Your organization has strongly criticized this decision in a joint statement with two other NGO consortia representing a wide array of humanitarian organizations. What are your concerns?

    Joel Charny: I think the main concern—it's really pretty simple, it comes down to the fact that there's still large numbers of vulnerable people in Somalia who are outside the area of effective government control. And by all means, we want to see a stable, and politically healthy, socially healthy Somalia. But the perception of an integrated mission and the actuality of an integrated mission is that a particular government, a particular political perspective, will drive decisions, not only about political issues, but also about humanitarian issues, and quite simply, to reach people in need in areas that are controlled either by al-Shabaab, or potentially by other non-state actors, the humanitarian operation we thought would be better served by being independent of the political mission.

    JL: Don’t you think that whether or not the UN mission in Somalia is integrated, that all foreign NGOs present in Somalia are anyway perceived by the local population as closely associated with the UN present staff, given the fact that they're all foreigners. Don’t you think that there is a perception that they are all the same?

    JC: I think the point is we as an NGO community, would like to have the opportunity to conduct our own negotiations in our own terms. And I think one of the problems of the whole Somalia discussion has been when we push back against integration, or push back against a UN, or international political agenda, we're in no way saying that al-Shabaab does not bear responsibility for the suffering in their territory; they do. I mean, they've been very unreasonable in their demands of humanitarian organizations. But let us, let our community, let individual agencies go in and see if access can be negotiated. We don’t accept the idea that inevitably, we're associated with the UN, and with foreign intervention, and with UN integration, there should be another possibility. Now, if we find in the course of negotiation that we simply can’t negotiate access, for whatever reasons, that becomes our problem. But we’d rather not go into this setting just thinking that by definition, we all have to be a part of the same political project.

    JL: It reminds me of something that a similar UN official from the department of political affairs said once about integration that at the end of the day, what people see is the blue flag floating on the mast, and whether it is a structural integration, whether the UN office sits in the same premises or separate, what they see is this blue flag. So, do you think this idea of the mission being structurally integrated really has a bearing for the population in Somalia?

    JC: I won’t go so far as to say the population can necessarily differentiate, but it has a huge impact on the ability of humanitarian actors to act independently if they choose to do so. And again, I go back to what I just said: if humanitarian organizations can free themselves of the stigma from the point of view of the Somali people about what the UN is actually doing in the political realm, they should have the freedom to do that, that’s fundamentally what we're saying.

    We're not trying to be naive here, but what I think was the most striking thing about the process that led to this decision is the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, "structural integration in Somalia was premature." Valerie Amos, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, said, "structural integration was inappropriate." I mean, this is not some crazy position of a bunch of out-there NGOs. What we found fascinating was that the United States, Britain, and France that were driving the move towards structural integration ignored the advice of the Secretary-General that they handpicked; it is a really bizarre situation. I think almost unprecedented and I am surprised that there has been so little press attention to that dimension. I mean, I am a US citizen, United States mission to the UN basically looked the Secretary-General in the eye, and basically defied him on the issue of this mission being structurally integrated. I find that incredible.

    JL: More than one month after the Security Council resolution, how has it been implemented in the field, and can you already see some of the developments that you feared happening on the ground?

    JC: It's really premature for that. We’ve had the decision, and as some of your listeners may know, there's now been an assessment mission that's gone out to try and figure, ok, in the light of this decision, what exactly does this mean for the way the United Nations is going to operate in Somalia, that report is just being pulled together.

    In some ways we're not optimistic, but we see the potential for other opportunities to engage in this discussion, and perhaps possible modify some of the decisions that have been made, when they're ready to actually implement them in Somalia.

    So, even though the decision has been made at the level of the Security Council, the actual modalities of how it’s implemented still need to be worked on; I'd say it's really too soon to tell. I'm not following Somalia closely enough to know whether al-Shabaab has reacted negatively, or whether there have been other negative reactions, or perhaps other individuals or political factions in the Somalia political dynamic. But, I think we'll have to see how this plays out in the coming months. I don’t think it's going to be clear for at least another 3 to 6 months what the exact practical impact of this decision is going to be.

    JL: Did your organization’s statement against the integrated mission have any effect on the Security Council?

    JC: That's an important and interesting question. There were moments in this process where we really thought victory was ours, victory in the sense that the British, who are leading the process on the Security Council, were in fact going to agree to compromise, and their various structural possibilities in terms of what compromise might have looked like. We were following this day-to-day through nongovernmental offices in New York, and there were moments when I remember writing a congratulatory email to one of my colleagues saying, "Hey you did it, the British have actually agreed to having a separate OCHA office,” or whatever the permutation was at that point. And then it was just victory was snatched away from us if you want to say that.

    The other thing that struck me is kind of the anger and the push back that we got from the US UN mission in particular; I mean a lot of "your just naive humanitarians, don’t you care about Somalia, and the long-term stability of Somalia.” I mean, there was a lot of almost resentment as we ratcheted up our effort, the push back—especially from the US, less so from the British—but especially from the US, got stronger and stronger, and I think as things cool down a little bit, I think it's going to be important for some of us who worked on this to kind of have a dialogue maybe with the US, and the British, and the French to say, "Well, can we clarify where we were coming from. Can you explain why a unified support to the government of Somalia suddenly became such an important issue that you defy the Secretary-General,” etc. This got ratcheted up very quickly and became unusually emotional very quickly, at least on the part of the US UN mission, and I am having a hard time figuring out why that happened.

    JL: If the statement doesn’t change anything—I hear that the are still some hopes maybe that it can influence a bit the Security Council—but if not, are there any measures that can be taken by the UN mission in Somalia in order to alleviate the potential perverse effects on the humanitarian aid in the country?

    JC: That's really hard to say. Again, it depends a lot on how al-Shabaab is going to react, it depends a lot on, frankly, the conduct of the government. I mean, how many bets has the international community placed on governments of Somalia over the last 10 years, and how many of those bets have paid off. For some reason, Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, and others have concluded that this time it's going to work. Maybe it will, but if it doesn’t work, if there is more misrule in Somalia, if the drought continues, and vulnerability continues, I think the UN is going to have to find a way to react such that the food needs, for example, of vulnerable people can be met in Somalia.

    By no means are we saying the “hell with the whole situation.” We'll continue to challenge the UN and continue to challenge ourselves to see if an effective response to the needs of the people of Somalia can be organized even under the rubric of structurally integrated missions.

    The way I view it is, it's an ongoing situation in Somalia, key decisions can be made they can demonstrate the effectiveness of the UN, and the international community, and the government of Somalia in responding to the needs of the people.

    JL: Our discussion has focused so far on Somalia. What about Mali, where the UN Security Council is currently discussing, I believe, a resolution that will create a peacekeeping mission relatively similar to the one in Somalia?

    JC: I'll be honest with you: in the case of Mali, we're discouraged by the Somalia experience to the point where I can’t see a similar all-out effort to try and push back on a structurally integrated mission in Mali. I'll admit there has been some political fallout. So, we're kind of feeling we went all out on Somalia; we didn’t get there. The back roots of structural integration are enthusiastically ready to push on Mali, and I think mood in our—at least in the NGO community that I am familiar with—-has sort of "Wow, really? We have to now try and fight this battle again so soon?" I am quite honestly not seeing as much energy on the Mali discussion as I saw on the Somalia discussion. So, in that sense, there's been a definite kind of political impact that's affected our community.

    JL: In 2011, the United Nations commissioned an important study on UN integration and humanitarian space. And the study concluded that UN integration arrangements have had both positive and negative impacts on humanitarian action. So do you see any potential positive impact in Somalia—or for that matter, in Mali—that might actually counter balance some of your fears?

    JC: It all comes back I think to the overall effectiveness of the government. I mean, what this is all about in the end is creating an authority in Somalia that can manage the territory of Somalia in a way that works for the needs of the Somali people. That's the whole rationale for structural integration. So, I think structural integration stands or falls on whether it results in effective unified UN support to the government, and the government in turn is able to take advantage of that support to effectively govern the territory of Somalia.

    Yes, in theory that’s a good idea, but I am especially skeptical in Somalia, but again, also concern that given the level of humanitarian need in Somalia, that it’s just going to be inevitable that they'll be less effective humanitarian response in areas that are still controlled by non-state armed groups, and I'd extend that to Mali to some extent. And the interesting thing to me about Mali is that unlike Somalia, Mali had not only a functioning government, but a functioning government that was the darling of the international community, that received hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance, including military assistance. That government for internal reasons fell apart, and what's to say they're going to piece it back together effectively even with the UN integrated mission.

    I'm in favor of unity of effort, absolutely. But it's got to be unity of effort that allows for flexibility within the overall structure, so that humanitarian needs can be met in terms that we are comfortable with as a humanitarian community, and whether were going to see that in either Somalia or Mali I think can be questioned.

    JL: Joel, thank you very much for being with us today.

    JC: Thanks for the chance to talk about this difficult topic.

    Originally published in the Global Observatory


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Chad, Mali

    04/27/2013 13:04 GMT

    N'DJAMENA, 27 avr 2013 (AFP) - Le ministre français de la Défense Jean-Yves Le Drian a affirmé samedi à l'issue d'une rencontre à N'Djamena avec le président Idriss Déby la nécessité pour le Tchad de rester impliqué militairement dans l'après guerre au Mali, afin de ne pas y laisser de "vide sécuritaire".

    "Puisque nous rentrons dans une nouvelle phase, la phase qui est presque après guerre, il faut pas laisser le vide sécuritaire", a affirmé le ministre, précisant avoir abordé cette question avec M. Déby.

    Le Parlement tchadien a voté mi-avril une résolution réclamant le retrait progressif du contingent de près de 2000 soldats tchadiens du Mali, où, selon N'Djamena, 36 soldats ont été tués et 74 blessés dans l'opération lancée en début d'année sous la direction de Paris contre les groupes islamistes armés occupant le nord du pays.

    "La décision de l'ONU de mettre en oeuvre des casques bleus, nous a amené à évoquer ensemble avec le président Déby la manière dont le Tchad continuera à intervenir au Mali par le biais de cette force, et puis la manière dont la France continuera a veiller à la sécurité du territoire malien", a ajouté M. le Drian.

    "Etant donné l'importance de l'engagement du Tchad dans la Mission internationale de soutien au Mali (Misma) et le nombre des soldats, leur courage et leur détermination dans les combats qui ont eu lieu, il est logique que le Tchad assure des responsabilités", a souligné le ministre français.

    Le Conseil de sécurité a autorisé jeudi la création d'une force de maintien de la paix de 12.600 casques bleus pour le nord du Mali, qui doit incorporer les troupes de la Misma, notamment les soldats nigériens qui ont été, après les Tchadiens, les plus engagés aux côtés de l'armée française.

    Cette visite du ministre français au Tchad intervient après deux étapes au Mali et au Niger.

    yas/xbs/jlb


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    Source: Department for International Development
    Country: Somalia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

    The International Development Secretary met with members of Hendon’s Somali community today to hear their views on how to create a more peaceful, prosperous and secure Somalia ahead of a major international conference next month.

    Visiting Hendon’s BritSom community centre with Hendon MP Matthew Offord, Justine Greening pledged to present their recommendations to the London Somalia Conference as she answered questions about Britain’s £80 million a year development programme in Somalia.

    Speaking from the BritSom Centre, Justine Greening said: “British Somalis across the UK have tremendous links back to family, friends and businesses in Somalia.

    “Their time, energy and support is vital to help Somalia recover from two decades of conflict. I’m here because I want to hear people’s views on that recovery.

    “Britain’s development effort is investing in peace and opportunity by helping Somalis to rebuild their country. We want to work with the Somali government, but also with Somalis living here in the UK, to strengthen the economy and governance so Somalia can become a more prosperous and safe country”.

    The UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud will co-host the international conference on Somalia in London on 7th May. The conference will provide international support for the Government of Somalia as they rebuild their country after 2 decades of conflict.

    Britain has pledged to spend £80 million this year and next to tackle the root causes of poverty and conflict in Somalia. By 2015, our aid will help build up key government services, help 45,000 people to get a job and help 165,000 people access the schools, latrines, roads and health clinics they need to pull themselves out of poverty.

    During the 2011 famine in Somalia, Britain’s aid helped over 300,000 people receive the food rations they needed to stay alive, vaccinated more than 1 million children against measles and gave many more safe water to drink. Britain also provided seeds and fertiliser and helped farmers to keep their livestock alive.

    Notes to editors
    1. Pictures of Justine Greening’s visit to the BritSom centre are available from DFID’s press office.
    2. BritSom centre was established in 2008 as an organisation dedicated to the advancement of the Somali people in Britain. More information available here: britsom.org
    3. Click here for more information on DFID’s development programme in Somalia.


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    Source: Government of the United States of America
    Country: Mali

    Mahamadou Siddeye Toure, the local village chief of Bourem Sidi Amar in the Timbuktu Region of Northern Mali, watched as his town fell to rebel insurgents in April 2012.

    Gone were the Malian Government’s subsidies for inputs and access to local technical services and banks that supported the yearly rice campaign—an economic lifeline for farmers who supply rice for local and national consumption.

    Despite the difficult political situation, a Feed the Future project in Northern Mali was able to fill this critical gap in services so smallholder farmers could still acquire inputs for the growing season.

    The disruption of the traditional rice supply chain threatened to lead to food shortages and, even worse, possible displacement for villagers in Bourem Sidi Amar. The Tchiri Cooperative, a farmers' group sponsored by the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) under Feed the Future, had inputs to cover only about 15 percent of their production lands.

    Following the coup, USADF worked with the cooperative to ensure funds were properly disbursed to local vendors in Mopti, Mali to pay for short-cycle rice seeds, fertilizer and fuel, which cooperative members then transported by boat on the Niger River to Bourem Sidi Amar in August 2012. These inputs ensured that farmers did not suffer from a failed season and their families did not experience hunger.

    After receiving 4.9 tons of seeds and 14 tons of fertilizer along with oil and fuel, the Tchiri Cooperative was able to plant 70 hectares of rice and harvest 210 tons of un-milled rice. This quick action helped ensure stability for Bourem Sidi Amar's community of smallholders despite the insecurity and threats brought on by conflict.

    “My villagers and I would have had no other choice but to leave our homes and join refugee camps without support from USADF’s Feed the Future program,” said Chief Toure, who has worked closely with the Tchiri Cooperative’s 260 members. “This assistance ensured access to rice inputs that allowed us to produce enough rice to feed everyone in our village.”

    After this year’s harvest, producers have enough rice to feed their family members, and the cooperative’s 34 ton stock will provide inputs for next year’s agricultural season. Income generated from the sale of rice also enabled Tchiri members to plant 13 hectares of wheat following the rice harvest.

    USADF’s Feed the Future grants in Mali support farmers to increase production, improve their access to inputs, increase yields, strengthen market linkages, and increase resilience to drought. The U.S. Government continues to provide assistance to meet food security needs across Mali as part of a case-by-case policy and legal review of the political situation.


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    Source: Government of the United States of America
    Country: Benin, Gambia, Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone

    In parts of West Africa, the Peace Corps is expanding opportunities for its Volunteers to receive training in combating hunger and undernutrition.

    Peace Corps Volunteers are closely integrated with the communities they serve, often supporting local community health workers or even providing counseling themselves to caregivers responsible for the health and nutrition of family members.

    They are thus uniquely well-positioned to offer support and guidance on household-level feeding and nutrition decisions. To better integrate nutrition across programming areas and to improve Volunteers' capacity to effectively counsel caregivers on healthy feeding practices, the Peace Corps is working to strengthen Volunteers' skill set in nutrition counseling.

    Last month, Peace Corps staff from five countries participated in an initial “training of trainers” to build technical capacity for nutrition counseling. Conducted in Porto Novo, Benin, the training included staff from Senegal, Sierra Leone, Benin, the Gambia and Guinea, and convened program managers and assistants from education, health and agriculture projects. One week later, Volunteers and their community counterparts were trained on essential nutrition and hygiene practices.

    Regionally, these events raised the visibility of nutrition as a priority programming issue while equipping staff to provide the technical and communication training needed to ensure Volunteers can work effectively with community health workers and caregivers. Participating Peace Corps posts are part of a West Africa Food Security Partnership that is supported by Feed the Future via USAID funding.

    The partnership plans to regularly conduct in-service trainings for Volunteers on hunger and nutrition issues.


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