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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: Oxfam
    Country: Mali
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    As of today, the population of Northern Mali is facing two main issues: (i) a chronic and strong vulnerability due to food/nutrition insecurity, and (ii) a highly volatile and insecure environment, with a still active conflict.
    In May 2014, the security situation strongly worsened in Kidal, with clashes between the Malian forces and armed groups, impacting both the regions of Kidal and Gao. Security tensions led to a 10 days suspension of Oxfam’s field activities in the region of Gao, which resumed in early June.

    In February 2014, Oxfam has opened a new 14 months emergency response in the region of Gao. Oxfam aims to reach up to 200,000 poor and very poor people in the region of Gao, and provide a complete package response during the peak of the lean season (June-September 2014). So far, our team in Gao has provided emergency food security - EFSL, WASH and Protection services to nearly 73,800 direct beneficiaries since February 2014.


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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Argentina, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
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    • La tasa de inflación mensual de alimentos de América Latina y el Caribe alcanzó el 1% en mayo. En tanto la inflación general fue de 0,7%.

    • De los países monitoreados en la subregión compuesta por América Central, México y el Caribe, Costa Rica, Panamá y República Dominicana presentaron reducciones en sus niveles de inflación alimentaria en comparación con lo registrado en abril. Por el contrario, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, México y Nicaragua registraron aumentos en su inflación alimentaria.

    • En América del Sur, la mayoría de los países monitoreados presentaron inflaciones alimentarias más bajas en mayo en comparación con las del mes previo. Solo Bolivia y Colombia presentaron aumentos en sus niveles de inflación alimentaria respecto a abril.

    • Durante el mes de mayo, la papa, la cebolla y las carnes, fueron los alimentos que reiteradamente incidieron positivamente en la inflación de los países de la región. Por el contrario, productos como el limón y la fruta incidieron negativamente en la inflación. El tomate estuvo presente en varios de los países de la región, con alzas y caídas en su precio.

    • En mayo, el índice de precios de los alimentos de la FAO alcanzó los 207,8 puntos, esto es, un 1,2% menos que el nivel alcanzado en abril. En tanto, su variación interanual fue de -3,2%. Durante el mes, los movimientos del índice respondieron a la reducción en los precios de productos lácteos, los cereales y los aceites vegetales. Sin embargo, el azúcar aumentó considerablemente en mayo, mientras que la carne se mantuvo relativamente estable.


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    Source: ECOWAS
    Country: Guinea-Bissau, Mali, World

    N°: 131/2014

    7 July 2014 [Abuja-Nigeria]

    Ministers of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council (MSC) will at their meet in Accra on Tuesday, 8th July 2014 discuss the political and security situation in the Region, including the post-transition reforms in Guinea Bissau, latest developments in Mali and the report of Experts on the establishment of National Early Warning Mechanisms.

    The establishment of the national platforms by Member States will enhance the regional mechanism and promote greater efficiency of the region’s early warning capability in confronting evolving peace and security threats.

    The proposal is the outcome of a pilot study conducted in three member states in 2011 to “understand the prospects and challenges of institutionalising a scheme through which national early warning data gathering and analysis can best be coordinated and harmonised to address current peace and security challenges.”

    The one-day MSC meeting, to be attended by Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence, will be briefed by Presidents Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso and Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, on the latest developments in Guinea-Bissau where successful legislative and presidential elections were held last May paving the way for the inauguration of President Jose Mario Vaz on 23 June 2014.

    The Ministers will also be briefed on the status of the post-transition reforms in Guinea Bissau by a representative of President Jonathan, who chairs the Regional Contact Group on the country.


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    Source: Intergovernmental Authority on Development
    Country: Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda

    Work plan Harmonization for RLRLP cross-border project activities in the Karamoja Cluster June 29th – 4 th July, 2014

    I. Introduction

    1. The IGAD team, in collaboration with the project preparation teams of the Regional Pastoral Livelihoods Resilience Project (RPLRP), from Kenya and Uganda held a Work plan harmonization workshop in Eldoret, 30th June – 4 th July 2014.

    2. The meeting was officiated by a joint team comprised of Dr. Khadija Khassachoon Principal secretary state Department of Livestock, Kenya, Dr. Nicholas Kauta, Director of animal resources and industry, Uganda, Julius Kiptarus, Director of livestock Production Kenya, Dr. Kisa Ngeiwa, His Excellency the deputy governor of West Pokot County Mr. Titus Lotee, Mr. Mohamed Moussa, Director Agriculture and Environment, Djibouti, representing the ES IGAD, Dr. John Kabayo, Coordinator IGAD Drought Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI) and Dr. Solomon Muchina Munyua, the Coordinator, WB GFDRR funded Greater Horn of Africa Drought Resilience Initiative (GHADRI),

    3. The meeting was supported by a strong IGAD mission comprising of Dr. Ayan Mahmoud,
      Coordinator Programming IDDRIS, (CP), Dr Samuel Zziwa, Programme Manager, Agriculture,
      Livestock and Food Security, IGAD, Dr Chucri Sayeg, Ag Coordinator Knowledge Management IDDRSI (KM) IGAD, Dr. Bedru Muzein, GIS Expert IGAD, Dr. Edmealem Shitaye, Ethiopia National IDDRSI Coordinator, Mr Abdullahi Ismael Omar, Kenya National IDDRSI Coordinator, Ms Berhan Taye Gemeda and The meeting was facilitated by a team from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) comprised ofMr. Paul Opio, Mr. Paul Mutungi, Ms. Emmanuella Olesambu.

    4. Background. The 2011 drought in the Greater HoA has been a stark reminder that insufficient attention has been given to addressing the root causes of vulnerability in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) of this region. It is also apparent that it is not drought but rather vulnerability during drought in the ASALs that has thrown the region into repeated food crises. Following a series of meetings and consultations in 2011 and 2012 that led to the consensus that development partners should make efforts to participate in joint program planning and design at country and regional levels in order to coordinate financing instruments, under the coordination of IGAD and its Member States, the WB started discussions on this proposed regional project based on official requests for support received from Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. It was agreed that the proposed project align closely with the Country Programming Papers for Ending Drought Emergencies (CPPs) and the subsequent Regional Programming Framework coordinated by IGAD.


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    Source: Assessment Capacities Project
    Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Uganda, World, Yemen, South Sudan
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    Pakistan: Water, sanitation, and health services are urgent needs among the 780,000 registered displaced from North Waziristan (government figures). The data is being cleaned to check for duplication.

    Iraq: Access to areas within the governorates of Anbar, Babylon, Diyala, Salah al Din, Kirkuk, and Ninevah remains difficult due to ongoing violence clashes, disruption of communication and transportation routes, and a widespread shortage of fuel.

    Syria: Islamic State has reportedly expelled 60,000 people from the homes in Deir-ez-Zor. In Dar’a and Rural Damascus, barrel bomb attacks were reported. Some 200,000 Syrians are estimated to have died from chronic illnesses since the start of the conflict due to lack of access to treatment and medicines. Water and sanitation systems are deteriorating significantly.

    Updated: 08/07/2014 Next Update: 15/07/2014

    Global Emergency Overview Web Interface


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    Source: UN Security Council
    Country: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, World
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    S/2014/442
    Distr.: General
    26 June 2014
    Original: English

    1. Introduction

    1. In a letter dated 23 December 2013 (S/2013/759), the President of the Security Council agreed to extend the mandate of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) until 31 December 2016 and requested that I report to the Council every six months on the implementation of the mandate.

    2. The present report covers the period from 1 January to 30 June 2014. It provides an overview of developments and trends in West Africa and outlines the activities undertaken by UNOWA in the areas of good offices, enhancing subregional capacities to address cross-border and cross-cutting threats to peace and security and promoting good governance, respect for the rule of law, human rights and gender mainstreaming. It also outlines the efforts of UNOWA in engaging regional and subregional organizations, in particular the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Mano River Union, to promote peace and stability in West Africa.


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    Source: UN Security Council
    Country: Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

    8 July 2014
    SC/11465
    Security Council
    7213th Meeting (AM)

    With “remarkable strides” in the stabilization of Mali and Guinea-Bissau and high economic growth in West Africa, regional actors were refocusing on development needs while dealing with Boko Haram terrorists, the Ebola virus and other emerging crises, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General told the Security Council this morning.

    “The countries of West Africa continue to experience great difficulties in meeting expectations in social needs,” Said Djinnit underscored as he introduced the Secretary-General’s latest report (document S/2014/442) on the activities of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), which he heads.

    “Encouraging economic figures have not necessarily changed the living conditions for the population, who do not always benefit from the dividends of this economic progress,” Mr. Djinnit added, noting gaps in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in the region in the areas of extreme poverty, hunger, education and gender issues.

    In addition, countries that had experienced stability crises were diverting much of their limited resources to the security sector, to the detriment of development needs, he said.

    In resolving those crises, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) continued to play the primary role, he said. The organization had deployed a stabilization force in Guinea-Bissau ahead of what he called a successful transition process that had paved the way for the establishment of stable democratic institutions.

    On the other hand, the crisis in Mali, where he welcomed resumed dialogues between the parties, had shown the limits of the ability of the region and the continent to respond rapidly to crises, and ECOWAS and the African Union were now working to create rapid response mechanisms.

    The security situation in the Sahel, he said, remained of great concern, with violence against civilians in Nigeria continuing to escalate; 18 attacks were attributed to Boko Haram in the past two weeks alone. He commended those States that were helping to obtain the safe release of the abducted schoolgirls and he called it critical that Security Council members continue to support efforts to maintain Nigeria’s stability.

    Underscoring the paramount need for the Nigerian political class to forge a unified stand in confronting persisting insecurity, Mr. Djinnit said that he would soon visit Nigeria and review implementation of the Integrated Support Package and encourage further national and regional efforts to deal with the challenges.

    He noted that upcoming challenges included a new electoral cycle planned for 2015, when no less than five important elections would be organized, notably in Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger and Nigeria, often in highly polarized environments. UNOWA would continue to work closely with ECOWAS and other stakeholders to prevent political differences from developing into violence.

    He said UNOWA also continued to devote considerable effort to sensitizing the area’s leaders to the need for concerted regional efforts on transnational organized crime, backed by the international community, to fight drug trafficking, piracy, terrorism and other cross-border issues.

    In that vein, he said his office had continued to support the implementation of the Strategy for Cross-border Security in the Mano River Union, as well as the strategic framework adopted at the 2013 Yaoundé Summit on crimes in the Gulf of Guinea.

    Finally, he called the Council’s attention to the severity of the Ebola pandemic. The outbreak, identified in February in south-east Guinea, had rapidly spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone, resulting in at least 759 infections and 467 deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

    “It is important that the international community pays due attention and support to this epidemic, which is adding to many other challenges to stability in the region,” he said.

    The meeting opened at 10:04 a.m. and adjourned at 10:21 a.m., at which time Council members were invited into consultations on UNOWA.

    For information media • not an official record


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    Source: UN Office for West Africa
    Country: Mali, Mauritania

    Dakar, 08 July 2014 – The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the Sahel, Mrs. Hiroute Guebre Sellassie, concluded today her two day-visit to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

    The Special Envoy conferred with the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and current President of the African Union, Mr. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, on issues related to peace and security in the Sahel.

    Mrs. Hiroute Guebre Sellassie congratulated President Ould Abdel Aziz for his recent re-election, as well as for his efforts to improve the security situation in Mauritania and in the region. She also praised the work undertaken by the President of Mauritania and his Government to ensure peace and stability in the region, including his collaboration with the United Nations to resolve the Malian crisis.

    While encouraging Mauritania to maintain an active role to address regional challenges the Sahel is facing, the Special Envoy commended the efforts made to promote regional cooperation. The two officials stressed the need to coordinate existing initiatives for the Sahel, particularly the implementation of the initiatives of the G - 5 Sahel and of the Coordination Platform for the Sahel.

    During this visit, Mrs. Guebre Sellassie also met with the Prime Minister, Mr. Moulaye Ould Mohamed Fasseh, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Development, Mr. Sidi Ould Tah, and the President of the National Assembly, Mr. Mohamed Ould Asad, as well as with other Mauritanian leaders and representatives of the United Nations system in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

    The Special Envoy will continue her consultations with the leaders of the region and will travel to Burkina Faso for a two day official visit on 9 July.


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    Source: Reuters - AlertNet
    Country: Mali

    PARIS, July 8 (Reuters) - Mali government officials will meet northern Tuareg separatist rebels in Algiers on July 16, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday, indicating progress in their stalled peace talks.

    Read the full article here


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    Source: UN Office for West Africa
    Country: Mali, Mauritania

    Dakar, 08 juillet 2014 - L’Envoyée Spéciale du Secrétaire général des Nations Unies pour le Sahel, Mme Hiroute Guebre Sellassie, achève aujourd’hui sa visite de deux jours en République Islamique de Mauritanie, effectuée dans le cadre de son tour officiel dans la région du Sahel.

    L’Envoyée spéciale s’est entretenue avec le Président de la République Islamique de Mauritanie et Président en exercice de l’Union Africaine, M. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, sur les questions de paix et de sécurité dans la région du Sahel.

    Mme Hiroute Guebre Sellassie a félicité le Président Ould Abdel Aziz pour sa récente réélection, ainsi que pour ses efforts pour améliorer la situation sécuritaire en Mauritanie et dans la région. Elle a également salué le travail entrepris par le Président mauritanien et son gouvernement, pour assurer la paix et la stabilité dans la région, notamment sa collaboration avec les Nations Unies pour résoudre la crise malienne.

    Tout en encourageant la Mauritanie à maintenir son rôle actif pour répondre aux défis régionaux auxquels le Sahel fait face, Mme Guebre Sellassie a loué les efforts fournis pour promouvoir la coopération régionale. Les deux responsables ont insisté sur la nécessité de coordonner les initiatives existantes au Sahel, notamment la mise en œuvre de celle du G-5 Sahel et celle de la plateforme de coordination pour le Sahel.

    Au cours de cette visite, Mme Guebre Sellassie s’est par ailleurs entretenue avec le Premier Ministre, M. Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf, le Ministre des Affaires Economiques et du Développement, M. Sidi Ould Tah, et le Président de l’Assemblée Nationale, M. Mohamed Ould Boilil, ainsi qu’avec d’autres responsables mauritaniens et représentants du Système des Nations Unies en République Islamique de Mauritanie.

    Poursuivant ses consultations avec les dirigeants de la région, l’Envoyée spéciale pour le Sahel se rendra à partir du 9 juillet au Burkina Faso pour une visite officielle de deux jours.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Mali
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    Source: World Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization, Food Security Cluster
    Country: Mali
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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Burkina Faso

    Avec l’appui du gouvernement et des chefs coutumiers et religieux, le PAM aide les familles burkinabées à repenser leur organisation sociale pour le mieux-être de tous.

    Un homme qui part chercher de l’eau, un autre qui apporte du mil au moulin, une femme qui dispose de ses revenus, qui a son mot à dire dans la vie de la famille… Il y a quelques années encore, tout cela était extrêmement rare au Burkina Faso.

    Dans ce pays, aux traditions patriarcales très fortes, la femme, qui pourtant multiplie les tâches difficiles, n’a que rarement la parole et ne participe pas aux décisions sur la marche du foyer. Ces comportements ont un impact sur les capacités de développement, la production agricole et le bien-être de la famille.

    Depuis 2012, lentement mais surement, les choses changent, notamment grâce à une campagne de sensibilisation sur les questions de genre centrée sur la nutrition et la sécurité alimentaire, menée par le Programme alimentaire mondial (PAM), en étroite collaboration avec les leaders religieux, coutumiers et communautaires et le soutien des ministères de l’Agriculture et de la Sécurité alimentaire, de la Promotion de la Femme et du Genre, et de la Santé.

    Cette année encore, une campagne s’est déroulée de février à mai dans les régions du Centre-Nord et de l’Est où les taux de malnutrition modérée sont parmi les plus élevés du pays (respectivement, 13,6 et 12,6%). La sensibilisation se fait à travers différents moyens : causeries-débats, conférences, visites à domicile, théâtres, émissions radio.

    Dans les villages où la campagne a eu lieu, les changements sont visibles. Les chefs coutumiers et les chefs de ménage se sont engagés à donner aux femmes des terres et du matériel agricole. Les hommes ont pris l’engagement de s’impliquer dans la nutrition, et de veiller à la participation équitable des hommes et des femmes dans les activités menées par le PAM, notamment celles axée sur la restauration des sols et la conservation des eaux pour améliorer la production agricole.

    Les hommes commencent à autoriser leurs épouses à accéder au grenier familial. De nombreuses femmes racontent qu’aujourd’hui les hommes ont commencé à les aider pour les corvées d’eau, de bois de chauffe et aller faire moudre le mil au moulin, à accompagner les enfants au centre de santé, à les impliquer dans les prises de décision concernant la famille, et à s’impliquer dans la nutrition des enfants. Les femmes qui ne pouvaient pas se rendre au centre de santé sans l’autorisation de leurs époux, peuvent le faire maintenant.

    Les communautés renoncent aussi peu à peu à perpétuer les tabous alimentaires qui interdisent aux femmes enceintes de manger des œufs au risque de mettre au monde un enfant qui sera plus tard un voleur, ou celui qui interdit aux enfants de manger du foie, toujours réservé au chef de famille ; ou celui qui interdit à une fille ainée de manger du poulet toute sa vie.

    Les sensibilisations portant par exemple sur l’hygiène, les aliments de base nécessaires, l’utilisation adéquate des produits locaux contribuent à une meilleure nutrition aussi bien du ménage que des jeunes enfants.

    "Mon mari demande maintenant mon avis pour les questions concernant notre ménage. Les chèvres que j’élevais pour lui sont désormais ma propriété, mais que je dois en revanche contribuer aux frais de scolarité des enfants. Je suis fière parce j’ai maintenant une responsabilité dans la famille", raconte Youmali Onadja de Pama, région de l’Est.

    L’implication des chefs coutumiers et religieux ainsi que les leaders communautaires dans la campagne de sensibilisation a contribué à son succès. Elle a suscité une réelle prise de conscience et une adhésion aux changements souhaités.

    "Partout où nous sommes passés pour le suivi, on sent un changement positif qui commence à se produire aussi bien dans les habitudes que dans les comportements, surtout sur le volet alimentaire et nutritionnel" a déclaré M. Germain Ouali, Directeur régional de la Promotion de la Femme et du Genre de l’Est

    Lors de la rencontre de restitution des résultats du projet, les participants ont recommandé que le projet soit étendu à d’autres localités. Déjà, des villages voisins, constatant les changements ont souhaité bénéficier de la même activité.


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Burkina Faso

    Shifting habits and adapting cultural customs are often vital steps to improving food security. With the support of the Government as well as cultural and religious leaders, the World Food Programme (WFP) is helping Burkinabe families rethink social norms, for the benefit of the entire community.

    A man goes to get water, another carries a millet grinder. A woman manages her own income and influences decisions that affect her family. Just a few years ago, such scenes were few and far between in Burkina Faso.

    Patriarchal traditions persist in this Sahelian country; women are responsible for a number of laborious tasks but rarely have a strong voice or influence over household decision-making, to the detriment of community development, agricultural production and well-being of families.

    Since 2012, however, these norms have been evolving slowly but surely, in large part due to an awareness campaign on gender issues affecting nutrition and food security led by WFP, in close collaboration with religious, cultural and community leaders and with the support of Burkina Faso’s ministers of Agriculture and Food Security, Gender and Women, and Health.

    The campaign lasted from February to May again this year in the Center-North and East regions, where rates of moderate acute malnutrition are among the highest in the country (13.6 percent and 12.6 percent, respectively). Debates, conferences, home visits, theater and radio shows were used to raise awareness of these important issues.

    In villages where the campaign is active, communities have already marked notable changes in behavior. Cultural leaders and heads of households are working to give women access to land and agricultural tools. Men have become more involved in improving nutrition and look to ensure equal participation among men and women in WFP-supported projects, such as those that restore soil and conserve water to improve agricultural production.

    Within families, men are starting to allow their wives to access family grain reserves. Women say men now assist them with chores like collecting water and firewood, pounding millet, and bringing children to health centers. Many are also including women in family decision-making and have taken more responsibility for ensuring the nutrition of their children. In addition, women who previously could not go to the health center without authorization from their husbands now go on their own.

    Communities are also slowly abandoning cultural practices that are contrary to good eating habits. Traditional taboos, for example, forbid pregnant women from eating eggs for fear that their child will later become a thief; discourage children from eating liver, which is always reserved for the head of the family; and prohibit a family’s eldest daughter from eating chicken.

    Raising awareness around issues such as hygiene, basic food needs, and the use of local products contributes to improved nutrition among young children as well as the entire household.

    “My husband now asks for my opinion on questions affecting our household. From now on, the goats I raise for him will be my property, though I will contribute to educating our children. I am proud because I now have responsibility in the family,” recounts Youmali Onadja de Pama, from the East region.

    The involvement of cultural and religious heads as well as community leaders in the awareness campaign has been vital to its success. With their support, the campaign has promoted better understanding of and adherence to targeted behaviors.

    “In each village where we visited to follow up, we saw the start of positive changes to habits and behavior, especially related to the food and nutrition components of the campaign,” says M. Germain Ouali, Regional Director for the Promotion of Women and Gender in the East.

    At a meeting to share results of the campaign, participants recommended implementing similar awareness projects in other areas. Neighbouring villages, observing the project’s success, have requested that their communities benefit from the same activities.


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    Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    Country: Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, South Sudan
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    • Torrential rains impacted coastal Cote D’Ivoire during the past week.

    • An increase in rain was observed across dry areas in northwestern Ethiopia and southeastern Sudan

    1) Heavy and above-average rains since May have oversaturated the grounds of southern Mali and lead to rainfall surpluses greater than 200% of normal in some locations. With heavy rain forecast during the next outlook period, the risk for new flooding across the region will be increased.

    2) Above-average rain during the past thirty-days has resulted in saturated grounds and localized flooding in parts of South Sudan and southern Sudan. With above-average rain forecast during the next week, the risk for localized flash flooding is elevated.


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    Source: Government of Guatemala
    Country: Guatemala

    El programa de desnutrición crónica, a cargo del Ministerio de Salud Pública y Asistencia Social, "ha avanzado considerablemente", según el informe presentado ayer por la Coordinadora de Organizaciones No Gubernamentales y Cooperativas (Congcoop) y el Instituto por la Democracia, basado en un análisis de los servicios de dicha cartera en este año.

    Los proyectos han sido positivos a favor de la población, pero deben ser fortalecidos con más fondos, afirmaron expertos de las instituciones mencionadas.

    Arlyn Jiménez, del Instituto por la Democracia, dijo que el programa de prevención de la desnutrición crónica reporta un progreso significativo, con una buena ejecución presupuestaria. "Este proyecto tiene avances, pero debe enfocarse más al área rural, para abastecer los centros de salud y atender casos de emergencia, como el suscitado en San Marcos", agregó.

    Alejandro Aguirre, de la Congcoop, expresó: "Sería pertinente que la cartera de Salud pueda tener un presupuesto de Q8 millones para el próximo año, y así mejorar la prevención".


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua

    Key messages

    • According to forecasts provided by the U.S. National Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) and the Climate Prediction Center-International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), there is a 65 percent probability that El Niño conditions will develop over the three-month period from July to September. An El Niño event typically lasts between 8 to 10 months.

    • Due to the expected El Niño event, decreased rainfall is projected for the Central American Pacific region during the July to December 2014 period, primarily affecting the dry corridor in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Maize crops planted in the Primera season (May-August) in Central America are likely to be negatively affected during the final stages of crop development due to a prolonged canícula.

    • The Postrera season (August-December) is likely to begin in many areas with below-average rainfall, thereby delaying planting dates and disrupting seasonal sowing schedules. Postrera harvests of beans – the main crop planted in the Central America Pacific Basin during this season – are likely to be below-average due to the expected poor start of rains and below-average rainfall over the course of the season.

    • Irregular, low-intensity rainfall is projected for Haiti, primarily in the western and northern regions, from late June through December 2014. Areas previously affected by the scant rainfall recorded in 2013 will again likely be affected by poor spring and fall 2014 seasons.

    The continuation of El Niño conditions into 2015 could affect water availability for human and animal consumption and crop irrigation in Central America and Haiti.

    Understanding El Niño

    El Niño - Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the semi-regular variations of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and winds across the tropical Pacific Ocean. ENSO varies between its three phases – El Niño, La Niña, and neutral conditions – every three to seven years, and remains in one of its three phases on average between 8 and 10 months. An El Niño occurs when the magnitude of the equatorial easterly trade winds over the Pacific decrease, resulting in anomalous warm SSTs in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. La Niña occurs when the magnitude of the equatorial easterly trade winds over the Pacific increase, resulting in the accumulation of warm SSTs over the west Pacific Ocean and cooler SSTs over the central Pacific Ocean. ENSO neutral conditions occur when the equatorial winds are neither strong nor weak, which results in near-average SSTs across the eastern and central Pacific Ocean.

    El Niño affects the atmospheric circulations and precipitation globally, and its impacts are strongly felt over Central America and the Caribbean. Strong precipitation decreases relative to average typically occur during El Niño events over Central America and the Caribbean. The decrease in precipitation primarily affects subsistence farmers residing in areas of the Central American Pacific and in areas with limited rainfall (typically referred to as dry corridor areas), i.e., less than 850 millimeters per year. It also affects water availability in general, for both human and animal consumption.

    El Niño Forecast

    According to the NMME forecasts for SSTs over the eastern and central tropical Pacific Ocean and the most recent Climate Prediction Center-International Research Institute for Climate and Society Consensus Probabilistic ENSO Forecast, El Niño conditions will be met by late July 2014. Average SST forecasts by the NMME for August-October of 2014 (Figure 1) indicate warmer than average conditions across the eastern and central Pacific Ocean similar to the conditions identified by Johnson (2013) (Figure 2).

    The El Niño SST pattern identified by Johnson (2013)* is historically related to strong precipitation decreases throughout Central America and the Caribbean from August to December (Figure 3). On average, the most substantial rainfall deficits have historically affected the Pacific-facing coastal areas of Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.

    *Johnson, Nathaniel C., 2013: How Many ENSO Flavors Can We Distinguish?. J. Climate, 26, 4816–4827. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00649.1

    El Niño Impacts

    During El Niño events in Central America, basic grains planted during the Primera season (May-August) are affected during the final crop development stages by a prolonged canícula. The canícula typically has a duration of about 10 days during July-August but can last for an additional 20 or more days under El Niño conditions. This occurs primarily in the dry corridor. For areas under cultivation during the period from May to October, such as the Guatemalan Highlands (altiplano), the decreased precipitation brought on by a prolonged canícula occurs during a critical stage of plant growth, thus affecting production, as happened during the 2009 El Niño.

    Under El Niño conditions, the Postrera season (August-December) usually begins with below-average rainfall, delaying planting dates and disrupting seasonal sowing schedules. Throughout Central America, beans are most affected during this season. Rainfall for Postrera crops is expected to be below average over the course of the season.

    Decreased rainfall in Haiti is likely in the western and northern regions. Irregular and poorly distributed rainfall may affect crop development for both the spring (April-July) and fall (August-December) seasons.

    The hurricane season (June-November) is also affected by El Niño conditions, typically with a reduction in the number of hurricanes over the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.


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    Source: Internews Network
    Country: Mali
    preview


    In Mali, starting in June 2011, Internews implemented a project designed to strengthen the media’s role in informing and educating the public in preparation for the presidential and general elections that were meant to take place in April 2012.

    Following a military coup in March 2012 which halted the electoral process (and the Internews project), Internews adjusted its activities in the country in order to assess the impact of the conflict and humanitarian crisis on the Malian media landscape.

    Radio is massively the primary means of mass communication in the country, but with mobile penetration in Mali above 80% and web access at less than 5%, cell phones emerged as an ideal option for increasing the interactivity of radio programming and reaching affected communities at large scale and low cost.

    Internews entered into a partnership with mobile solutions venture Souktel – an organization which had previously worked in Mali to deliver public opinion polls via cell phone, together with international media outlets. From October 2013 to February 2014, Souktel designed and deployed a mobile software platform to support Internews’ program activities.

    This report looks at the successes and challenges of this project, which enabled Malian citizens to contribute more actively to a national discourse on key topics.


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Mali

    HIGHLIGHTS

    • 1.9 million people need food assistance
    • Inter-rebel clashes cause displacement
    • Insecurity hampers distribution of supplies

    GAO, 10 July 2014 (IRIN) - Only just recovering from a brutal Islamist occupation, residents of northern Mali are facing further devastation following recent clashes between separatist rebel forces and government troops. The violence has heightened insecurity, throttled an already difficult aid operation and driven up hunger.

    Parts of Mali’s north have fallen back into the hands of three separatist rebel groups since the clashes in May in northern Kidal Region. More than 18,000 people were forced from their homes. The fighting and the lingering impact of the 2012-2013 food crisis have had a severe effect on people, limiting their access to food and livelihoods for the most vulnerable.

    Tensions between communities, persistent insecurity, rumours and fears of violence have also caused displacements.

    “The recent fighting has set back the humanitarian situation and deepened the crisis. Services in the north are still restricted and access to health care, education and markets are limited, not to mention food insecurity that is affected by recent displacement,” said Erin Weir, protection and advocacy adviser with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

    “There is very little help for people who are struggling to rebuild their homes and their lives after years of conflict. However, crises elsewhere are overshadowing the dire situation in the north and Mali is quickly becoming a forgotten crisis,” Weir said.

    Salamatou Ba of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Mali’s northern Gao Region said: “There is a huge deficit between what is needed and what we are able to deliver. We know that the situation will continue to get worse and we would like to do more, but the money is simply not there.”

    Aid curtailed

    The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) halted food distribution outside the northern towns of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu following an attack on staff members earlier this year.

    “Following the attack and kidnapping of three of our staff in May we suspended all operations outside of major towns… Since then we have slowly been scaling up our operations to the level before the attack,” said ICRC’s Valery Mboah Nana in Bamako.

    Some 1.9 million people, or 11 percent of the population, now need food assistance - up from 1.3 million at the start of 2014, according OCHA.

    Insecurity and attacks on aid workers and food trucks have also disrupted food distributions by the World Food Programme (WFP). In addition, its Mali operations have only been one-third funded.

    “The regular food distributions were suspended for about a week [after the May clashes] and then resumed progressively as security conditions improved. However, the incident pushed 18,000 people out of their homes, increasing the humanitarian needs,” said Emmanuel Bigenimana, WFP emergency coordinator in Mali.

    Hahadou Ag Kaoussane, the mayor of N’Tilit locality near Gao, was forced to flee when armed men claiming to be members of the separatist National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) rebels took control of the village. He described the gunmen as “thieves and bandits” intent on causing fear.

    “They are all over town. Some of them are responsible for looting shops and people’s homes in Gao during the rebel takeover. During the occupation they fled to refugee camps in Burkina Faso and now they have returned,” he told IRIN. Since the armed men entered N’Tilit, aid NGOs have kept off.

    More in need

    According to a food security assessment in March, 945,284 people are currently food insecure in Mali’s north. This number includes 257,859 in phase IV or an emergency phase, and 687,425 in phase III, which is defined as crisis. The survey includes the regions of Gao, Kidal, Timbuktu and four districts in the region of Mopti where large communities of IDPs remain.

    While those displaced from northern Mali have gradually been returning since the ouster of Islamist insurgents in early 2013 after a nine-month occupation, many are still worried about their safety and some have been forced to flee once more.

    “Tensions within communities and concerns of retribution mean people do not feel safe to return home. The constant power shifts - one day an area belongs to the rebels, the other day it is back in government hands - means people might feel secure one minute, the next they are inclined to flee again,” said NRC’s Weir.

    Factional rebel clashes have also driven people from their homes. Husseini Dicko and his family fled inter-rebel clashes to settle in the open along the shores of River Niger near Gao where survival is a daily struggle.

    “It is not our land. We have no right to farm here. Even if there is fish in the river we can’t catch it because it belongs to the villagers,” said Halima Dicko, Husseini’s wife.

    Difficult survival

    In Bandiagara, a district in the central Mopti region, one the worst hit by food scarcity, people have been forced to cut meals and sell items to survive. Last year, rains failed in many areas across Mali. Usually at their heaviest between June and September, they arrived late and ended early in Bandiagara.

    “People have already started leaving Bandiagara, searching for work in towns and on farms in neighbouring districts,” said Fatoumata Maiga, who works with Oxfam in Gao. “Some families have started selling their cattle at low prices simply to survive. Most have reduced their intake of food. The majority of households are now only consuming one meal per day instead of three.”

    Herders do not have enough water for their animals, said Wanalher Ag Alwaly who works for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Gao. “Already forced to slaughter some of their animals to feed their families last year, they have no choice now but to sell them at a very low prices.”

    Algateck Ag Ouwaha, a community leader in N’Tilit, told IRIN that many herders are too afraid of bandit attacks to venture more than a few kilometres from their villages. As a result, they are concentrated in a small area, where pasture is fast running out.

    “Grazing land is becoming scarce and sometimes herders are forced to cross into areas belonging to other pastoralists, with the risk of clashes,” he said.

    Markets are also starved as people are unable to travel out of towns as the roads are unsafe for traders due to risks of banditry. Road tolls for trucks coming from Kidal to Gao have also doubled since last year, putting off many hauliers.

    “We take huge risks, first leaving Kidal where we risk being attacked by bandits and then you never know who is guarding the checkpoints,” said a Gao truck driver who only gave his name as Soumeila.

    Recurrent clashes, difficulty in resolving the crisis in the north, displacements and attacks have complicated humanitarian operations and increased the suffering of civilians in the vast arid region.

    The UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, which is tasked with helping the country back on its feet after the political and security crisis triggered by the March 2012 armed coup, is around 3,000 troops short of its full strength of 12,000.

    kh/ob/cb


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    Source: US Agency for International Development
    Country: Senegal, United States of America

    $4 million in grants will strengthen resilience

    For Immediate Release
    Thursday, July 10, 2014
    Zack Taylor

    DAKAR – In response to needs identified by the Government of Senegal and its partners, and in line with the United Nations Strategic Response Plan, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing $4 million (1.9 billion francs CFA) to assist the most food insecure in Senegal who have suffered from the effects of a poor agricultural campaign in 2013-2014.

    “This assistance aims to address acute food and nutrition needs, and also to enhance the resilience of the most vulnerable households in rural communities,” said USAID/Senegal Mission Director Susan Fine. “As a key partner in Senegal’s development, the United States through USAID is assisting the government to safeguard the food security of its most vulnerable populations at this difficult time.”

    Through a grant to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), USAID has provided $3 million (1.4 billion francs CFA) in cash and food to be distributed in three of the most affected departments of Matam region. These funds will support targeted food and cash assistance, including general food distributions, cash-for-work projects to improve community infrastructure, and nutrition programs for families in the most vulnerable areas. It will serve to strengthen complementary partnerships with Government of Senegal counterparts to provide an integrated assistance package.

    In addition, USAID has provided a $1 million (482 million francs CFA) to the Center for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI) to work in partnership with the Fouta Development Associations Federation (FAFD), a local NGO, and Action Against Hunger to support vulnerable households of Matam and Podor departments.

    Beneficiaries of this assistance will receive cereal and vegetable seeds, gardening tools, and animal feed. The assistance will also support rehabilitating wells, and managing and treating acute malnutrition for children under five in areas found with global acute malnutrition rates at or above 15 percent. Cash assistance is to be provided to the most in-need households in Podor during the lean season.

    In 2013-2014, decreased cereal production during the last agricultural harvest and localized flooding aggravated the food security situation for as many as 25 percent of families living in rural areas. USAID will continue to work in partnership with Senegal to ensure food security is maintained in the country’s most vulnerable regions.


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