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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal
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    HIGHLIGHTS

    • UN and partners launch USD$2.03 billion Strategic Response Plan for nine Sahel countries.

    • There are 698,500 IDPs in CAR, down by 223,500 since mid-January. Number of refugees increased by over 35,000 to 280,000.

    • Increased violence in CAR results in more than 78,000 migrant evacuees, over 70,000 to Chad alone.

    • Food in CAR is increasingly scarce. WFP begins airlifting food to Bangui due to insecure roads. FAO warns of risk of missing the planting season.

    • In Nigeria, 470,565 IDPs, 290,002 from the northeastern states, according to new Government figures.

    • Urgent agriculture support needed before April in the Sahel


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    Source: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre
    Country: Mali

    A new brief released yesterday by IDMC voiced concern for the tens of thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs) and their host communities in Mali’s south. The briefing paper particularly highlights the growing needs faced by these people, including health issues, schooling, and personal documentation. IDMC’s Communications Officer Julia Blocher visited IDPs in Mali’s south to find out more.

    Hawoye, 40, is a mother of five who was forced to flee attacks by armed groups in her hometown of Kona, in the Mopti region of Mali. She fled with her family to Ségou. ‘The saddest part about being displaced is knowing my children are suffering,’ she told me.

    IDMC’s latest brief on Mali indicates that the existing health needs of IDPs have been compounded by the trauma of flight and poor living conditions in their places of displacement. The situation of Hawoye’s 21-year-old daughter – who suffers from mental trauma resulting from the events she experienced during flight – unfortunately elucidates these challenges. This is best told in her own words. Watch this short clip

    Displaced children face barriers to education

    While trauma and health issues are primary concerns, compounding this mother’s suffering is the fact that she cannot easily educate her other children. ‘Some are not doing well at school,’ she told me one Sunday afternoon, as her older children played nearby in the dusty, bustling neighbourhood just outside of Ségou.

    According to IDMC’s recent briefing paper on the situation in the South, schooling is a commonly cited concern; displaced children have difficulty with a different curriculum than that which they followed before, or face barriers due to regional differences in language. School fees can also be a barrier. In many cases displaced parents have been unable to send all of their children to school, needing their help instead to work and support the family.

    Commendably, southern schools in Mali have made efforts to accommodate displaced children, even for those who no longer have identity documents. Nevertheless, an absence of personal documentation can cause other problems for displaced families

    Identity documents can leave people more invisible

    Only about 50% of Malian IDPs have personal identification. This makes it difficult to access assistance and services and further impedes socio-economic recovery. Many IDPs did not have time to take their identity documents and title deeds when they fled, and thus lack these papers during displacement. ‘We didn’t have time to take anything with us,’ says Hawoye, ‘we [just] took our children and the clothes on our backs.’

    As we spoke on the thatched mat beneath a handmade canopy, two twin babies, barely two weeks old, quietly slept beside her. As children born in displacement, their future is unstable. A recent article by UNICEF reaffirms that registering children at birth is critical in order to acknowledge their identity and existence. Unfortunately for these twins – as well as many other displaced children in Mali – the cost of birth certificates was too great for the family to consider, costing around 5,000 CFA franc, equivalent to under eight euros. Indeed neither of these twin infants had birth certificates.

    A mother’s lament

    IDMCs latest brief asks on the government and its partners not to ignore the challenges for the nearly 100,000 people still displaced in the south. ‘My hopes and wishes for the future are that my children finish their education. I hope that my [21-year-old] daughter can recover and find peace.’

    In order to realise the dreams of women like Hawoye – one of nearly 100,000 other people still displaced in the south – the international community must not put all its focus on rebuilding the north at the expense of the futures of those left behind in southern cities.

    For more information about displacement in Mali, see IDMC’s latest brief in English or French and IDMC’s country page for Mali.

    Julia Blocher

    IDMC’s Communications Officer


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    Source: UN Human Rights Council
    Country: Malawi

    Human Rights Council

    Twenty-fifth session

    Agenda item 3

    Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

    Summary

    The present report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 22/9, contains the findings of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food on his visit to Malawi from 12 to 22 July 2013. The Special Rapporteur outlines the state of food and nutrition insecurity in the country (sect. III), characterized by chronic malnutrition among half of children under the age of 5; significant disparities between regions and urban and rural areas; and recurrent need for the provision of food aid in response to acute food insecurity during the lean season. He examines the legal, institutional and policy framework for the realization of the right to food (sect. IV), noting the need for greater accuracy of national surveys of poverty and food insecurity. The Special Rapporteur assesses the country’s main agriculture support programme, the Farm Input Subsidy Programme, advising that it is in need of reform and that policies on agricultural development should be informed by five critical transformations (sect. V). He then examines difficulties faced by specific groups in gaining access to adequate food, related to workers’ access to a living wage; smallholders’ access to land, security of tenure, and markets; the limited reach of social protection programmes, including school feeding programmes; specific impediments faced by women; and inadequate provision of food in prisons (sect. VI). With regard to the commitment of Malawi to make maximum use of available resources for the realization of the right to food, the Special Rapporteur highlights the need to address illicit financial outflows and revenue losses from tax concessions granted to large companies (sect. VII).
    Finally, the Special Rapporteur encourages the adoption of a national food and nutrition framework law (sect. VIII) and lists key recommendations for the Government (sect. IX).


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    Source: Government of Niger, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Mali, Niger

    BACKGROUND

    Since the arrival of Malian refugees, early 2012, WFP and UNHCR in Niger have established general food distributions. In August 2012, a nutritional survey of children under 5 years was conducted by UNHCR,
    WFP, UNICEF and partners to determine the prevalence of malnutrition in the camps. The results of this evaluation showed rates of 18.9% of GAM and 4.7% of SAM. In addition, it was observed that the ration of Super Cereal Plus (CS B++) distributed to children under 5 years in the blanket feeding was shared by the whole family. For lack of fuel for cooking, refugees were also selling part of their rations to pay for firewood, and condiments.
    To meet these challenges, UNHCR and its partners decided to implement a wet feeding program, i.e prepared rations /porridges of CSB++, on camps to ensure that the diet is consumed by the child. UNHCR has also launched the Energy Project gas distribution to prevent the resale of a part of the family diet.


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    Source: Government of Niger, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Mali, Niger
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    BACKGROUND

    When fighting broke out in Mali in 2012, thousands of people fled the country and crossed into neighboring countries. Thousands crossed into Niger, 80% of them being women and children. These persons required among other assistance, urgent access to healthcare.
    In the three camps of Tillaberi region, the 2 “Refugee Hosting Areas” of Intikane and Tazalit and for urban refugees in Niamey, access to health care was facilitated.


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    Source: Government of Niger, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Mali, Niger
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    BACKGROUND

    When fighting broke out in Mali in 2012, thousands of people fled the country and crossed into neighbouring countries. Thousands crossed into Niger, 80% of them being women and children. These children required among other assistance, urgent access to education. Being nomads or pastoralist life, they had mostly not attended school previously so the baseline for enrolment rates was low. UNHCR coordinated efforts to build schools in Abala, Mangaize and Tabareybarey camps and later in two “Refugee Hosting Areas” in Intikane and Tazalite.
    School started in the 2012-2013 academic year but owing to a number of constraints, it did not take off until late 2012 and beginning 2013.


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    Source: Assessment Capacities Project
    Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World, Yemen, Zimbabwe, South Sudan
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    Syria: Violence is ongoing across the country, with further government bombardments in the southeastern governorates of Damascus and Dara’a. To date, an estimated 2.5 million people have crossed into neighbouring countries, while 6.5 million are now internally displaced. In a separate development, the UN Security Council adopted a non-binding resolution to boost humanitarian access to Syria as increasing security incidents at the Turkish border threaten to compromise access to the north of the country.

    Iraq: Fighting between government troops and Sunni Islamist militants in Anbar province is ongoing and spreading to the central-southern and northern regions. The clashes have displaced over 430,000 people internally, while thousands remain in siege-like conditions in rebel-held towns where humanitarian access is heavily curtailed. Despite a three-day pause in military operations, imposed by the authorities, violence has reignited and expectations are low regarding the possibility of negotiations between the Iraqi government and the insurgents.

    Nigeria: Ongoing attacks by Boko Haram Islamist insurgents continue to constrain access to the northeast of the country and to triggered further population displacement. To date, over 470,000 people are now displaced across the country – more than half of them originating from the three northeast states currently under a State of Emergency. Meanwhile, Nigeria closed its border with Cameroon’s Far North Region due to concerns about cross-border insurgent movement and the flow of weapons into the area.

    Pakistan: As the peace talks between the Governement and the Taliban continue to falter, the Pakistani military launched a large-scale operation against militants’ strongholds in North Waziristan along the country’s tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. Daily airstrikes are currently being reported from the area, with at least 120 militants killed, according to security sources. Access to the area remains heavily curtailed and no information is available on possible civilian casualties and numbers of displaced.

    Updated: 25/02/2014 Next Update: 04/03/2014

    Global Emergency Overview Web Interface


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Malawi, United Republic of Tanzania, World

    In order for P4P to generate increased production and sales among smallholders, significant investments in capacity building are necessary. Emerging quantitative results, presented at the P4P Annual Consultation in January 2014, show how smallholders have benefitted from capacity building by P4P and its partners, leading to improved overall livelihoods.

    The incentive provided by WFP’s demand alone is not necessarily enough to increase smallholders’ production of quality crops. Many of the farmers’ organizations (FOs) targeted by P4P had never marketed collectively before, and the smallholders’ agricultural practices were generally poor, leading to limited production of low quality crops.

    Because of this, capacity building has been emphasized as one of P4P’s key pillars throughout the pilot phase. P4P has collaborated with a variety of private and public partners to ensure that smallholders and their organizations can access inputs, as well as improved farming technologies and tools in order to increase crop yields. This has been critical to achieving the increase in household income expected from participation in the P4P programme. Reduced post-harvest losses, improved quality and better on-farm storage facilities are other positive indicators.

    Capacity building at two levels

    P4P and its partners are building capacity at two levels. At the household level, individual farmers receive training and tools, which support them to improve their agricultural practices and increase productivity. At the level of the farmers’ organization, which is WFP’s entry point to negotiate most contracts, capacity building focuses on business management and marketing.

    Emerging results from P4P’s global monitoring and evaluation system show how improved skills, such as how to use fertilizer and how to dry and clean crops for better quality, have allowed smallholders to produce more surplus. The data also suggests that this has led to farmers’ organizations aggregating and marketing larger quantities more effectively.

    Increased income leads to improved household welfare

    In Tanzania, households participating in P4P have almost doubled their maize production, from an average of 1.35 metric tons (mt) per hectare in 2009 to an average of 2.47 mt per hectare in 2011. In Malawi, participating households increased their maize production from an average of 1.53 mt per hectare to 2.37 mt per hectare during the same period. Particularly in Tanzania, this increase seems to be connected to the use of certified maize seeds and fertilizers, a practice encouraged through P4P capacity building.

    A common investment that households make with their increased income is to improve their houses. Magreth Simon Mgeni from the Usomama Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO) in Tanzania is one of the P4P-supported farmers who has invested in permanent materials for her home.

    “Before P4P I was living in a mud house, but now I have an improved house. I am now taking my children to school without any problem. Today my neighbours are learning from me, understanding how the market works, and doing as I do,” Magreth says. When she joined P4P in 2009, Magreth was cultivating 2 acres of land. She now cultivates 9 acres, and in 2013, she sold 4,000kg of maize through her SACCO.

    Increase in farmers’ organizations’ capacity

    One way of measuring the impact of capacity building at the FO level is to study the services offered to their members, the quantity of their sales and the diversity of their buyers.

    Since the beginning of the pilot in Tanzania, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of P4P-supported SACCOs offering marketing, post-harvest handling, and production related services. Half of them are also offering transportation services to deliver the produce to buyers. A similar trend is observed in other P4P pilot countries. In Tanzania, volumes sold by SACCOs have also increased significantly, particularly due to sales to WFP.

    This sharp increase confirms that SACCOs have been able to scale up aggregation and master WFP quality specifications. This suggests that P4P’s method of providing FOs with the necessary post-harvest handling infrastructure, equipment, training and a reliable market, does indeed support FOs to aggregate and sell larger volumes.

    Collective sales to markets beyond WFP

    Data collected in Tanzania shows that SACCOs are increasingly selling to sustainable markets, such as the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA). In Malawi, FOs are also selling increasingly to buyers beyond WFP, such as small and medium traders. Some FOs with higher capacity have also increased their sales to larger traders through the warehouse receipt system (WRS) and the Agriculture Commodity Exchange (ACE).

    Bornwell Kaunga is the manager of the Mwandama Farmers’ Organization in Malawi, which has benefitted from sales to and beyond WFP. He explains that it was thanks to P4P that his organization was introduced to other quality markets. He says: “The first sale to WFP changed the whole mind-set of farmers in Mwandama. It convinced them that they could do business with the grain, if only they could be all together.”

    Overall, the emerging results suggest that the presence of consistent, systematic production side partners providing capacity building can indeed increase farmers’ welfare. Results show progress in P4P-supported FOs’ capacities, illustrated by increased volumes aggregated and sold. Additionally, there is evidence that smallholder farmers are increasing their production and surpluses, and, like Magreth, are increasingly participating in FO sales, both to WFP and beyond.

    Continued efforts are needed

    Although smallholders are increasingly taking part in sales through their organizations, additional assistance is required to allow them to overcome the substantial challenges they face. In Tanzania, the majority (51%) of farmers contributing to SACCO sales to WFP are smallholders. This indicates that individual smallholders are indeed benefitting from the increased capacity of their organizations. Despite this, these smallholders contribute only 18% of total quantities aggregated by SACCOs, which means that larger farmers (who have more surplus and can better afford to wait for payment) are likely to benefit disproportionately more.

    This is because smallholders generally have few assets and savings and many urgent financial needs at harvest time. These compel them to sell immediately for cash, rather than waiting for the lengthy procurement and payment processes necessary to aggregate and earn higher prices. Though capacity building has allowed smallholders to benefit from WFP demand for quality crops, continued efforts are needed to simplify institutional buyers’ procurement procedures and to scale up agricultural support to smallholders as well as to ensure the meticulous tracking of data within FOs in order to monitor the extent to which smallholders participate and contribute to contracts.

    Data collection and consequent analysis will continue throughout 2014. Results will continuously be presented on the P4P website.


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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal
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    HIGHLIGHTS

    • Despite the 2013 harvest in the Sahel being equivalent to the last five years average, more than 20 million people are still food insecure. The agricultural production of the poorest households is insufficient to restore their livelihoods and is expected to cover only their nutritional needs for the next two to three months. Thereafter they will depend entirely on markets.
    • In order to reduce the food insecurity burden in the Sahel, additional and timely efforts are needed to strengthen the livelihoods and enhance the resilience of poor and very poor households in the region. In 2014, FAO is appealing for over USD 115 million, of which USD 74 million are needed by the end of April 2014 to adequately respond to the main agriculture campaign.
    • In 2013, FAO received USD 26.5 million for its operations in the Sahel. Thanks to these contributions, FAO assisted more than 2.5 million beneficiaries by supporting food and livestock production, and providing livelihood protection and technical assistance.

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network, World Food Programme, Government of Niger
    Country: Niger
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    Points saillants pour janvier 2014

    • Une animation relativement bonne des marchés née de l’affluence des producteurs céréaliers, des consommateurs, des commerçants et des maraîchers sur les marchés en cette période de récolte des cultures horticoles de la campagne de contre saison 2013-2014,

    • Une reprise des importations des céréales (mil et maïs) en provenance d’Illéla, Jibia, Mai Adua au Nigéria, Malanville/Bénin et Namounou/Burkina Faso du fait des différentiels de prix incitatifs pour les commerçants nigériens et étrangers à transporter ces céréales en direction des marchés nigériens de consommation,

    • Des prix nominaux et constants relativement stables par rapport au mois précédant mais tout restant très élevés par rapport à la moyenne des cinq dernières années, à celle de la même période de 2013 et par rapport à la moyenne de janvier calculée sur 20 ans (1993-2013),

    • Une poursuite de la détérioration des termes de l’échange bouc et oignon contre mil en défaveur des éleveurs, des producteurs vendeurs de bétail et des produits maraîchers.


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    Source: CARE
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Niger
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    Sahel Food Crisis – Regional Factsheet: an overview of CARE’s emergency response in 2013; food crisis situation and CARE’s response in 2014 in Mali, Chad, Niger and Cameroon. There are more than 20 million people food insecure across the region, and 4.8 million children are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition this year. CARE urges for an early and appropriate response.


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    Source: Oxfam
    Country: Chad
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    This study covers the 2012 Food Crisis in Chad, roughly from late 2011 to end 2012. While Oxfam‟s development programmes do not fall within the scope of the study, inevitably there is considerable overlap and linkages with these that inform part of the Evaluation.
    The GHIT provides details of evidence required for the Evaluation (see Appendix 2), which was collected by the Oxfam Chad team. This was reviewed alongside external contextual data. Sphere and HAP standards were used to measure compliance in Oxfam programmes.
    In all, 143 documents were reviewed – some several times. The Evaluator endeavoured to fill any gaps that existed in the information through interviews with Oxfam staff. Evidence from documents provided by Oxfam and internet searches was measured against international benchmarks and standards in order to determine a score for each criteria.


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    Source: Médecins du Monde
    Country: Mali

    Vers midi, ce mercredi 26 février, un véhicule de Médecins du Monde a sauté sur une mine, sur la route allant de Kidal (Nord-Mali) vers l'aéroport.

    Les deux occupants du véhicule, dont le chauffeur, sont grièvement blessés.

    A ce stade, aucun élément n'indique que Médecins du Monde a été ciblée.

    MdM met tout en oeuvre pour assurer les soins des deux membres de ses équipes, ainsi que pour soutenir leurs familles et collègues.

    Pour plus d'informations, contactez :

    Marie-anne.Robberecht@medecinsdumonde.be Tel: +32 (0)2 225 43 49 - +32 (0)493 25 49 09


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    Source: Norwegian Refugee Council
    Country: Somalia

    Nashon Tado (26.02.2014)

    NRC in collaboration with the Somaliland Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction held a successful handing over of the Digaale resettlement project in a ceremony held at the Digaale Community Centre in Hargeisa this week.

    The event was attended by the Vice President of Somaliland H.E Eng. Abdirahman Abdullahi Ismail and other dignitaries including the Minister of the Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Mr. Ahmed Abdi Kahin, the Mayor of Hargeisa Municipality Mr Abdirahman Aideed Mohamed, the UNOCHA Somaliland Head of Office Mr. Francis Lenoh, and NRC Somaliland and Djibouti Area Manager Mr. Boisy Williams.

    In his speech, the Somaliland Vice President expressed his happiness to witness the transformation in the lives of hundreds of people who were displaced during the 2011 drought and who are no longer internally displaced persons, thanks to the shelter and livelihood assistance from NRC and other humanitarian partners.

    “It gives me great pleasure when I see all these people who used to live in poor conditions back at Mohammed Moge IDP settlement now proudly owning their homes and beginning a new life. They now have homes which can protect them from rain, hot sun and wind storms with received additional services such as water, a health post and a community centre”, said the Vice president.

    The families that have been resettled at Digaale were transferred from the Mohammed Moge IDP Settlement in an elaborate process spanning over a period of two years. This was following the acquisition of a piece of secure land after dialogue and advocacy, which resulted in a breakthrough in November 2013, allowing the IDPs to own title deeds and live in more secure conditions.

    “The history and processes leading to the establishment of the Digaale settlement has been long, difficult and at times nerve-wrecking.........but the end has surely justified the means” said Williams in his speech on behalf of INGOs during the handing over ceremony.

    NRC with funding from ECHO constructed 700 semi-permanent shelters and installed 700 water tanks beside each home to facilitate water access, in addition to a temporary health post. Furthermore, 300 latrines were constructed, 129 shelter kits, 829 hygiene kits, 700 non-food items, 829 solar lamps and 415 sanitation kits were distributed. A community centre was also constructed with funding from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). Going forward, NRC with support from the Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation & Reconstruction will link the project to development partners to ensure its sustainability.

    However, a few gaps still exist including 129 semi-permanent shelters, 129 water tanks and 109 latrines and for which NRC has began discussions with various donors to obtain the necessary funding and other support. The NRC Somaliland programme has field operations in Hargeisa, Burao and Erigavo, with core competencies in shelter, WASH, education, food security and livelihoods while factoring protection as an integral part of all programme activities.


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    Source: Afrique Verte
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger
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    Début février, la tendance générale des prix est à la stabilité voire à la baisse pour certains produits sur quelques marchés. Toutefois, des hausses sont observées pour les céréales sèches sur certains marchés. Les plus significatives ont été enregistrées pour le maïs à Maradi (+21%) et à Zinder (+9%) et pour le sorgho à Zinder (+9%). Les baisses les plus significatives ont été observées pour le maïs à Tillabéry (-9%) et à Niamey (-6%), pour le mil à Agadez (-7%) et pour le sorgho à Maradi (-6%). L’analyse spatiale des prix classe le marché d’Agadez au premier rang des marchés les plus chers, suivi de Zinder, Niamey, Tillabéry, Dosso et Maradi.


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    Source: UN Security Council
    Country: Mali

    SC/11298

    Security Council
    7121st Meeting (AM)

    A comprehensive and sustainable peace in Mali could only truly be realized by the country’s people themselves, with the full backing of the international community, France’s representative told the Security Council today.

    Gérard Araud (France), briefing Council members on a mission he led to that country from 31 January to 3 February, said the visit had provided an opportunity for open, useful dialogue with the national authorities. The discussions had convinced him that any future political agreements would be reached within the country itself, with the support of the Security Council. During the mission, the Council delegation had also met with members of armed groups and civil society, and visited the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) camp to evaluate its functionality.

    He said armed groups must lay down their weapons, in accordance with the provisions of the peace accords, adding that the specifics of the disarmament process must be developed in cooperation with MINUSMA. Moving forward, it was clear there would be no sustainable peace in Mali without a specific focus on development, he said, emphasizing that youth must be prevented from falling prey to terrorist or drug trafficking organizations.

    Banté Mangaral ( Chad), who accompanied Mr. Araud, the Council delegation’s arrival had raised much hope among the Malian population, as most were convinced that dialogue was the only way to achieve sustainable peace. Despite major progress towards normalization, great challenges remained in the areas of security, justice, health, food security and education. The persistence of crime had been noted, especially in the north, he said. Future efforts for peace must address the needs of all victims, particularly women.

    He said the people of Mali needed support in their quest for peace and security, and emphasized that the emergence of a shadow Government must be prevented. Armed groups were a source of concern not only for Mali, but also the entire Sahel region. The roadmap drawn up by the Government of Mali was a sign of hope and a sound foundation for resuming peace talks, particularly if the international community stood read to help the find lasting peace.

    The meeting began at 10:25 a.m. and concluded at 10:36 a.m.

    For information media • not an official record


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    Source: UN News Service
    Country: Mali

    26 février 2014 – Toute solution durable pour le nord du Mali devra être trouvée par les Maliens eux-mêmes, appuyés par la communauté internationale. Tel est l'un des enseignements de la mission effectuée par le Conseil de sécurité au Mali du 1er au 3 février, a déclaré mercredi le Représentant permanent de la France, Gérard Araud.

    « La sécurisation durable du Nord-Mali implique nécessairement une solution politique globale », a-t-il ajouté dans un exposé devant le Conseil de sécurité concernant cette visite.

    Lors de cette visite, la délégation du Conseil a rencontré les autorités maliennes ainsi que les groupes armés qui ont signé ou adhéré à l'Accord de Ouagadougou.

    Le Conseil de sécurité a « rappelé que les groupes devaient être désarmés dans le cadre d'un processus politique négocié, conformément aux engagements pris dans l'Accord de Ouagadougou », a dit le Représentant de la France.

    La mission du Conseil de sécurité salue « l'adoption il y a quelques jours par le gouvernement et les groupes armés, avec le soutien de la Mission des Nations Unies (MINUSMA), d'une méthode pour le cantonnement », a-t-il ajouté. « Nous demandons désormais aux parties, gouvernement et groupes armés, de s'engager de manière sincère et sans délai sur cette voie ».

    Dans le domaine de la sécurité, « Serval, l'opération française, et la MINUSMA ont relevé que les groupes terroristes disposent toujours de capacités pour mener des opérations », a-t-il encore dit. « Nous avons rappelé l'urgence qu'il y a à ce que la MINUSMA se déploie rapidement et pleinement au nord, en particulier dans le contexte de la décrue de l'opération Serval ».

    Pour sa part, M. Mangaral, le représentant du Tchad, a souligné mercredi devant le Conseil de sécurité que l'arrivée de la Mission du Conseil de sécurité au Mali avait suscité « beaucoup d'espoir au sein de la population malienne » et que la plupart des gens étaient « convaincus que le dialogue est le seul moyen de parvenir à une paix durable ».

    « Malgré des progrès vers la normalisation, il subsiste encore de grands défis dans les domaines de la sécurité, de la justice, de la santé, de la sécurité alimentaire et de l'éducation », a poursuivi M. Mangaral.

    Le représentant du Tchad a dit que « la feuille de route établie par le gouvernement malien est un signe d'espoir et une bonne base pour la reprise des pourparlers de paix », en particulier « si la communauté internationale se tient prête à aider les autorités maliennes dans leur quête d'une paix durable ».


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    Source: Islamic Relief
    Country: Mali

    When Abdul Malik and Zakir visited our projects in Mali, they were reminded once again of the importance of access to safe water. They found out how our projects don't just give people water to drink, but provide sustainable solutions for entire communities.

    When leading lives in absolute comfort in a developed country, it is easy to take for granted the everyday luxuries which people living in abject poverty long to have. I won’t list all the statistics that are quoted over and over again, but it must be understood that lack of access to clean water results in hundreds and thousands of mothers, fathers and little children dying.

    When Muslims observe fasting in the holy month of Ramadan in the UK, they go 18 or 19 hours at most without water. When the time comes to break fast, they are able to drink multiple glasses of water immediately to quench their thirst. When we were in Mali, the temperature was 35 degrees, and this was considered cool.

    Imagine being unable to drink water for 19 hours or longer in the heat, and consider the effect this will undoubtedly have on the human body. Moreover, when you finally get water, you risk getting life-threatening illnesses with each gulp of water you drink. This unthinkable situation is reality for millions across Africa.

    We were very fortunate to see first-hand how Islamic Relief Mali is working tirelessly to help those in need, and how lives are being transformed through Water Solutions. As mentioned in the Day 2 blog, Islamic Relief is concerned with sustainable and innovative solutions where beneficiaries are not reliant on aid after project delivery. This project in particular highlighted the immense attention to detail required in putting together completely self-sufficient and truly innovative projects with long-lasting benefits.

    A remote village in the Ouelessebougou region of Mali had no real access to water until Islamic Relief Mali delivered an absolutely remarkable project, going above and beyond the provision of water by a simple well:

    • A solar powered water system was built, pumping water out of the ground to store it in a water tower.

    • A maternity milk unit with its own water access was provided, taking full advantage of the village’s high milk yield.

    • Training sessions on health and sanitation were carried out, enabling exceptional sanitary standards to be kept in the maternity milk unit.

    • Other water access points (taps) were installed across the village so that the whole community can benefit.

    • With the water system giving out pressured water through a tap, a car wash business has also opened!


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    Source: Catholic Relief Services
    Country: Niger

    February 25, 2014 by Jim Stipe

    How did peanuts turn into profits for women in Niger?

    For women living in Niger, life is difficult. They are confined mostly to home where they work hard caring for children, preparing food for the family and collecting water. Few have learned to read or write. And when it comes to money and household decisions, they lack the power to influence or advocate for their needs. Now, thanks to a program that’s helping rural women work together processing raw peanuts into oils, cakes and peanut butter, they are earning money and status they didn’t have before.

    Listen to the story by clicking on the media player below.


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Mali

    TIMBUKTU, 27 February 2014 (IRIN) - Residents of Timbuktu, Mali's cultural capital, are hopeful the city can draw on its long history of tolerance to heal social relations frayed by a 10-month Islamist occupation, which Arab and Tuareg communities are still being accused of abetting.

    In his book on the recent Islamist occupation of Timbuktu, senior government official Houday Ag Mohamed, a Tuareg, points out that each insurgency has brought a wave of discrimination and hostility against Tuareg and Arabs living in Mali. It is "an ostracism you can see in the looks full of hate and recrimination they receive," he said.

    A Timbuktu resident who gave his name only as Mohamed says he sometimes feels mistrust from other communities, and hints that the organization that nominally represents the Tuareg, the National Movement for the Liberation of Mali (MNLA), has much to answer for. The MNLA captured parts of the north after the March 2012 coup in the capital, Bamako; they were subsequently overthrown by the Islamists.

    "Did they ask people if they wanted an insurgency? There was no consultation. They just left us to reap the harvest," Mohamed said.

    The Islamists were beaten back by French forces, which intervened in January 2013 as the insurgents began to advance towards Bamako.

    But Salem Ould el Hadj, 73, a retired teacher, warns against oversimplifying Timbuktu's complicated ethnic mosaic. "There is not some big racial divide here. We have never had apartheid here. People pray together, read together and travel together. Go around the markets and you will see white and back traders working side by side. Go back in history and you will find that it has been like that since the 14th century," he said.

    No easy reconciliation

    Although the Islamists have been driven away from the northern cities, kidnappings and suicide bombings remain a threat.

    The focus now is on reconciliation and development. Timbuktu residents speak of a rapprochement among the different communities and of returnees being reintegrated.

    But many are also asking difficult questions about complicity and retribution. And for Malians of a certain generation, there is a strong sense of déją vu.

    Abdel Hamid Maiga, who runs the local NGO Action and Research for the Development of Local Initiatives, recalls the 1996 gun-burning ceremony in Timbuktu, which followed a peace agreement between Bamako and the Tuareg. "It was all very impressive, very moving. But what came after that? Nothing."

    Abdel Maiga says trust will not be restored easily.

    "Our history is of [mixed races], of people living together and inter-marrying," Maiga points out. "That is the case for 75 per cent of the people here. Come to my house and you will find a white Arab connected to me by blood. That is Timbuktu".

    But he says there were incidents from the crisis that cannot simply be glossed over. "It's difficult. We have to talk about these things, and we have to forget. For example, our office premises was looted. We lost a vehicle and computers. I know who did it. They were friends of mine, and I am not going to forget - nor are they. But does that mean we can't live together?"

    He also emphasized that neglecting the underlying problems that contributed to the rebellion will only make a fresh insurgency more likely.

    As appeals go out for more aid to Mali, Maiga says the government and people have a duty to ensure the money is well spent and that corruption is rooted out all levels. He says that as Timbuktu moves out of crisis, youth - from all communities - must not be left out of the rebuilding.

    "Our office gets a constant stream of young people coming through, many of them well qualified and looking for work. We do what we can for them, trying to help them find jobs, acting as a kind of laboratory. But the [unemployment] problem is there, and if this is not resolved, there is an obvious risk of things breaking down."

    Strategy

    Diadié Hamadoune Maiga headed Timbuktu's crisis committee during the Islamists' rule, liaising with the rebel leadership. Now, he is working as a local peacemaker, steering meetings between different groups in Timbuktu.

    He voiced disappointment in the government's approach to national reconciliation. He reserves particular criticism for events like the 'assises du nord', or consultations about stability in the north, held in Bamako in November 2013, which he says were unrepresentative and dominated by northerners based in Bamako.

    "The state does not have the experience and the sensitivity to run this kind of dialogue. It doesn't know people's customs and traditions. You can't make a meal if you don't know the ingredients. The state should simply be supporting those who know how to make peace," he said.

    Hamadoune Maiga's approach is much more local, relying on religious leaders and community representatives to address their respective groups. This, he says, can contribute to a climate of peace and to "talking with real openness about what happened, what is acceptable and what is not."

    "There were rebellions before, but they were against the state. Most of the population was not touched. What happened this time hit much harder," he said. "You had ordinary civilians murdered, attacked in their own homes, watching as everything they owned was looted. Someone comes to you after doing that, and there will be no trust or love. There will be hatred. We must have honesty and justice. We need proof not hearsay. We need pardon when the crimes are small and the apologies are sincere."

    Learning from the past

    With few signs of real dialogue between the government and the MNLA, there has been a great deal of speculation about past peace agreements, notably the National Pact of 1992, and why they did not provide a lasting settlement.

    Various arguments have held: that the promised investment in the north did not materialize or was misappropriated; that militant Tuareg never believed in the peace agreement and simply waited for an opportune moment to launch a new insurgency; that the government mishandled the north, engaging in heavy-handed military tactics and breaking its own promises; and that Islamists arrived in the region with their own agenda, polluting trading roots and distorting inter-communal relations.

    And there remains a dispute over how to view the recent events in Timbuktu.

    While Hamadoune Maiga speaks of the importance of an inclusive dialogue, he warns that many Malians will be unable to tolerate solutions involving the MNLA. "Ask people here and they will say, 'This is the movement which held the door open for the extremists.'"

    He added: "It is not even as if the MNLA represent Mali's Tuareg. It is a small group of individuals who have been close to power. There is a huge gap between what they say and the reality on the ground."

    "There was never a civil war here," said El Hadj Baba Haidara, Timbuktu's former member of parliament, arguing that the main threat came from outsiders rather than Malians.

    Moving forward

    Haidara says now is the time to ensure money is channelled into Timbuku to address decades of neglect. "We have had too many people who enriched themselves and not the region," he argues. "If money is given for a road, then a road must be built."

    But he warns that economic support must not turn into domination; Malians have to make their own peace. He is sceptical about the UN's expanding Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

    "We are not Afghanistan, and we do not need this kind of interposition. I have told the UN people myself, 'If you are here for more than a year, you will have failed.'"

    cs/ob/rz


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