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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Senegal

    By Azzurra Massimino

    “Sometimes there is rain, but it is not well distributed. We lack good quality seed, and termites eat our plants.” These are, in the words of Binta Ndao, a Senegalese farmer and mother of seven, some of the challenges faced by subsistence farmers in Eastern Senegal. An innovative resilience-building initiative implemented by WFP and Oxfam America is helping farmers like her break out of chronic food insecurity.

    Since 2014, Binta has participated in the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative which is helping her better manage her natural resources and cope with more frequent droughts. The aim is to ensure food is on the table all year long, while also expanding her sources of income.

    The first assessment of the programme in Ethiopia shows that female participants are the ones obtaining the greatest gains in productivity. Now, two recent studies further show how the programme is strengthening women’s ability to adapt to climate change and secure their families’ food security and livelihoods through a combination of risk management activities which reduce the impact of weather uncertainty, and the damage when a disaster does hit.

    Women are the central pillar of family and economic life in rural Senegal. They take care of children and the home. They are also farmers and traders, contributing substantially to the agricultural and economic activities of the household despite their often limited access to resources such as land and equipment.

    Women Are More Vulnerable to Climate Shocks

    Yet, women are often more vulnerable to climate shocks than men. Women lack recognition for the unpaid work they perform. They tend to have higher rates of illiteracy which limits their ability to access more profitable income generation opportunities. Women are often more vulnerable to malnutrition. They also have fewer coping strategies available because they are less mobile and lack access to resources.

    R4 Reduces Women’s Vulnerability And Empowers Them

    The two studies conducted by the Institute of Development Studies and Oxfam America found that R4 is reducing women’s vulnerability and contributing to their empowerment enabling them to improve their families’ income and food security in the following ways:

    • Women report increased access to land, seeds and water for irrigation and drinking.
    • They benefit from training in numeracy, literacy and business which open opportunities in terms of access to credit and financial instruments.
    • With more food and water available, they no longer have to travel far from home, gaining time to dedicate to their families and small businesses.
    • In turn, this makes them more confident about their ability to feed their children, pay school fees and other expenses through small financial gains.

    How is R4 doing it?

    Binta Ndao is part of Oxfam America’s Saving for Change programme, on which R4’s savings component is built. Her story shows how R4 is enabling women farmers to cope with climate risk by establishing small-scale savings. These act as a buffer against short-term needs and other shocks, such as illness and death. Her gains, as well those of other women, have been possible thanks to practices developed through the R4 initiative, including:

    • Equal participation of men and women in village-level planning and management committees. This has led to better identification of participants and their needs. For example, the division of labor on community disaster risk reduction activities was made on a consensual basis, with men devoted to tasks that require more physical strength.
    • Inclusion of activities explicitly targeting women, such as the development of vegetable gardens, the improvement of rice cultivation, and the creation of savings groups.
    • Inclusion of men in activities traditionally reserved to women such as savings groups, which increase household resources and solidarity between men and women.

    “I really appreciate this group,” says Binta talking about the savings group established by R4. “Before I could get these loans, if someone was sick or you had a problem, you did not have any resources.” For more on Binta, click here

    R4 in Senegal

    R4 Senegal started operations in 2013 and today is working with over 5,000 farmers. The program, financed by USAID, Swiss Re and the Government of Norway recently received a $500,000 award from USAID’s prestigious Development Innovation Ventures Program (DIV), to further expand the program in the region of Kolda, Southern Senegal. DIV is an open innovation fund within USAID that sources, tests, and scales breakthrough solutions to global development challenges.

    R4, a partnership between WFP and Oxfam America since 2011, has broken new ground in climate risk management by integrating various risk management strategies, including innovative index-based insurance, that enable the poorest farmers to pay for drought insurance with their labour, increasing their food and income security.

    The four components of R4 are: • Improved resource management through asset creation (risk reduction) • Insurance (risk transfer) • livelihoods diversification and microcredit (prudent risk taking) and • Savings (risk reserves)


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    Source: UN Security Council
    Country: Mali

    SC/11820-AFR/3095-PKO/475

    The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President François Delattre (France):

    The members of the Security Council expressed their regret at the death of two Dutch peacekeepers of the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in the region of Gao, Mali, on 17 March, which resulted from the accident of a MINUSMA helicopter.

    The members of the Security Council extended their deepest condolences to the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and to the families of the two peacekeepers who lost their lives in this tragic accident.

    The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Mali and MINUSMA to assist the Malian authorities and the Malian people in their efforts to bring lasting peace and stability to their country, as mandated by the Security Council in resolution 2164 (2014).


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    Source: UN Security Council
    Country: Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan

    SC/11821

    7407th Meeting* (AM)
    SECURITY COUNCIL
    MEETINGS COVERAGE

    During a mission to Africa last week, the Security Council held wide-ranging exchanges with key stakeholders in the peace processes in the Central African Republic and Burundi, witnessing progress and challenges on the ground, and discussed ways of bolstering the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union to ensure broader stability and development in the continent.

    Briefing the 15-member Council on the first leg of the visit, François Delattre, the representative of France and mission co-leader, said the team spent two days in the Central African Republic holding discussions with political leaders and other stakeholders in the capital, Bangui, as well as in the countryside of Bria in the east.

    “While the situation remains precarious on the humanitarian front, the country has made progress in stabilizing the security situation,” Mr. Delattre said. The desire expressed by political leaders to complete the transition process successfully was encouraging. The Council urged the Government to “spare no effort” in that regard, by continuing broad-based consultations and conducting free and fair elections. The overall situation was “fragile”, but the political trend was “positive”, he said, adding that the international community’s support must be commensurate with the significant challenges there.

    In Burundi, the Council held “far-reaching exchanges” with the country’s President and leading ministers, civil society representatives, religious authorities and United Nations agencies. The Council noted that Burundi had made significant progress by overcoming challenges left behind from the conflict, but that peace remained tenuous. During the exchanges, the Council stressed the importance of holding credible, free and democratic elections to ensure durable peace and stability. All parties must abide by the letter and spirit of the Arusha Agreement, which remained the “compass”, and preserve cohesion within Burundi’s society by avoiding divisive debates, he added.

    Representatives of political parties and civil society also voiced their concern to the Council over limits to freedom of expression and assembly and freedom of the judiciary, Mr. Delattre said, and stressed that all should put country above and make peace the priority of their actions. He described the meetings in that country as “extremely edifying and useful”.

    Between the country visits, the Council mission stopped in Addis Ababa on 12 March for the ninth joint annual meeting with the African Union Peace and Security Council. Briefing on that segment, Ismael Abraão Gaspar Martins, the representative of Angola and mission co-leader, said the agenda was aimed at enhancing partnership between the two organizations on matters relating to peace security in Africa, and on strengthening conflict prevention and peacebuilding management tools.

    The session provided an occasion to exchange views on the Great Lakes region, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Mali and the Sahel, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan, Darfur, the fight against Boko Haram and the strategic partnership between the African Union and the United Nations.

    On the Great Lakes region, the joint meeting expressed the importance of all signatories adhering to all aspects of the Peace and Security Agreement Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region. Members expressed grave concern about the humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic and underscored the importance of bringing to justice perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and putting an end to the culture of impunity there.

    Speakers also took note of the concept letter on operations of a multinational task force to fight Boko Haram and the need for appropriate action in that regard.

    Welcoming the ongoing negotiations on Mali and the Sahel, the joint session expressed concern at the grave violations of human rights committed by armed groups in Libya. On Darfur, the joint meeting expressed concern at the humanitarian and security situation, while, on South Sudan, it stressed the importance of imposing sanctions on those undermining peace. The two councils noted the positive developments and partnership in Somalia in the fight against Al-Shabaab during the “crucial and decisive” period ahead of elections next year.

    The joint meeting looked forward to the recommendations of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peacekeeping Operations and highlighted the importance of continued dialogue between the two councils on addressing common challenges. A joint communiqué was being drafted and finalized, Mr. Gaspar Martins said, and underscored the need to improve preparations for and coordination on such meetings in the future.

    The meeting began at 10:08 a.m. and ended at 10:28 a.m.


    • The 7406th Meeting was closed.

    For information media. Not an official record.


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    Source: UN Development Programme
    Country: Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Japan, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, World

    New York - The Government of Japan has contributed USD 26.5 million towards the work of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Africa, focusing on preventing and responding to crises.

    The funding will support a number of UNDP projects across the region, including helping to stop Ebola and boosting recovery efforts, restoring stability and livelihoods along the borders of the Sahel region, and enhancing resilience and preparedness in countries affected by instability such as South Sudan and Cameroon, which is hosting large numbers of refugees from the Central African Republic and Nigeria.

    “Africa is progressing but that road isn’t without its setbacks,” said the Director of UNDP in Africa, Abdoulaye Mar Dieye. “The key is to make sure the areas that remain fragile, or those that are threatened with instability, can quickly get back on their feet and build a more sustainable development process”.

    Japan is a key strategic partner for UNDP in Africa through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). TICAD has played a critical role in raising global awareness on African development since 1993 and continues to promote sustainable development, inclusive and resilient societies, and the promotion of peace, stability, and human security across the continent.

    Contact Information

    In New York: Nicolas Douillet nicolas.douillet@undp.org

    In Tokyo: Toshiya Nishigori toshiya.nishigori@undp.org


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Mauritania

    De probables écarts de consommation chez les ménages pauvres du centre et du sud du pays

    MESSAGES CLÉS

    • Les données sortis par le Ministère de l’Agriculture montrent une production annuelle supérieure à celle de 2013/14 et à la moyenne quinquennale. On note une forte progression du riz irrigué mais les cultures traditionnelles qui concernent surtout les ménages pauvres accusent, comparativement aux périodes citées, de fortes baisses. Il en résulte une absence de stocks chez les ménages pauvres alors qu’en pareille période d’une année moyenne ces derniers sont importants.

    • Il y a déjà Crise (Phase 3 de l’IPC) insécurité alimentaire aiguë avec des écarts de consommation alimentaire attendus dans le centre-sud du pays causés par un profond déficit de leur production agricole annuelle, des conditions pastorales dégradées qui les poussent à de multiples ventes atypiques d’animaux à des prix bas et une forte baisse des revenus saisonniers. L’insécurité alimentaire aiguë élevée se poursuivra pour ces ménages affectés jusqu'en Septembre.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Nigeria

    Maiduguri, Nigeria | | Thursday 3/19/2015 - 13:55 GMT

    Dozens of Nigerian women who were forced to marry Boko Haram fighters were reportedly slaughtered by their "husbands" before a battle with troops in the northeast town of Bama, multiple witnesses said Thursday.

    Five witnesses who recounted the massacres to AFP said the Islamist militants feared they would be killed by advancing soldiers or separated from their wives when they fled the town.

    They killed the women to prevent them from subsequently marrying soldiers or other so-called non-believers, they added.

    "The terrorists said they will not allow their wives to be married to infidels," said Sharifatu Bakura, 39, a mother of three.

    According to Bakura's account, which was supported by others, Boko Haram fighters received word of a military assault on Bama, formerly an Islamist stronghold in Borno state.

    The insurgents had decided to flee to the nearby town of Gwoza before the troops' arrival but first decided "to kill their wives so that nobody will remarry them", she said.

    Bukara's husband was killed by the insurgents four months ago but she was spared from a forced marriage because she was visibly pregnant.

    Boko Haram forcibly married scores of women in Bama after seizing it in September. Nigeria's military announced the recapture of the town on Monday.

    Witnesses, who were taken under military protection this week to Borno's capital Maiduguri, 73 kilometres (45 miles) away, said the killing of women began 10 days before Bama was liberated.

    The Islamists said "if they kill their wives, they would remain pious until both of them meet again in heaven, where they would re-unite", said Salma Mahmud, another witness.

    A vigilante who fought alongside the military in the battle to retake Bama, Abba Kassim, said he saw "dozens of women corpses" in the town.

    While other witnesses reportedly a similarly high casualty figure the numbers were impossible to verify.

    Nigeria's national security spokesman Mike Omeri told AFP he would try to verify the reports while the military could immediately be reached for comment.

    str-abu-bs/phz/jz

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Nigeria

    Maiduguri, Nigeria | | Thursday 3/19/2015 - 18:26 GMT

    by Bukar HUSSAIN with Aminu ABUBAKAR in Kano

    Boko Haram militants killed 11 people in an attack on Gamboru in northeast Nigeria after the Islamists reportedly slaughtered dozens of women in nearby Bama, witnesses said Thursday.

    Troops from Chad were credited last month with liberating Gamboru in Borno state from Boko Haram control but Chad's withdrawal from Nigeria last week appeared to have left the town exposed.

    The latest violence underscored the challenges facing Nigeria as it heads towards March 28 general elections.

    Despite claims of major victories over the Islamist rebels thanks to a joint offensive involving Chad, Cameroon and Niger, the threat posed by Boko Haram remains severe.

    The insurgents have been resilient in the past and doubts persist over whether the regional offensive will prove capable of ending the violence.

    • 'Back in Gamboru' -

    Residents of Fotokol, a town in Cameroon but effectively attached to Gamboru, said the rebel onslaught began on Wednesday and there were indications that Boko Haram intended to occupy Gamboru again.

    "Boko Haram gunmen returned on motorcycles to Gamboru yesterday (Wednesday)... and shot dead eight people," said Mudi Dankaka in an account supported by others.

    Three more people were killed on Thursday, he added.

    About 2,500 Chadian troops withdrew from Nigerian territory last week, with indications they would be redeployed for fresh offensives elsewhere, military sources in northern Cameroon told AFP.

    Chadian troops last month escorted residents of Gamboru back into the town from Fotokol across the 300-metre (yard) bridge that forms the border.

    One resident described Gamboru as "a ghost town strewn with burnt vehicles, destroyed buildings and emptied homes".

    ‎"Boko Haram are back in Gamboru," said Fotokol resident Umar Ari on Thursday.

    Ari and others noted that Nigerian forces had not been spotted in the area, leaving Gamboru with no security presence since the Chadian withdrawal.

    • 'Wives slaughtered' -

    The Gamboru attack came after reports of another atrocity blamed on Boko Haram in Bama.

    Dozens of Nigerian women who were forced to marry Boko Haram fighters were reportedly slaughtered by their "husbands" before a battle with troops for control of the town.

    Five witnesses who recounted the massacres to AFP said the Islamist militants feared they would be killed by advancing soldiers or separated from their wives when they fled the town.

    They killed the women to prevent them from subsequently marrying soldiers or other so-called non-believers, they added.

    "The terrorists said they will not allow their wives to be married to infidels," said Sharifatu Bakura, 39, a mother of three.

    According to Bakura's account, which was supported by others, Boko Haram fighters received word of a military assault on Bama, formerly an Islamist stronghold in Borno state.

    The insurgents had decided to flee to the nearby town of Gwoza before the troops' arrival but first decided "to kill their wives so that nobody will remarry them", she said.

    Bukara's husband was killed by the insurgents four months ago but she was spared from a forced marriage because she was visibly pregnant.

    Boko Haram forcibly married scores of women in Bama after seizing it in September. Nigeria's military announced the recapture of the town on Monday.

    Witnesses, who were taken under military protection this week to Borno's capital Maiduguri, 73 kilometres (45 miles) away, said the killing of women began 10 days before Bama was liberated.

    The Islamists said "if they kill their wives, they would remain pious until both of them meet again in heaven, where they would re-unite", said Salma Mahmud, another witness.

    A vigilante who fought alongside the military in the battle to retake Bama, Abba Kassim, said he saw "dozens of women corpses" in the town.

    While other witnesses reported a similarly high casualty figure the numbers were impossible to verify.

    Nigeria's national security spokesman Mike Omeri told AFP he would try to verify the reports while the military could not immediately be reached for comment.

    The Boko Haram conflict has claimed more than 13,000 lives since 2009 and Nigeria's response to the violence has been widely criticised.

    Victories recorded by the four-nation coalition since last month have been applauded but the gains may prove hollow if the Islamists can regroup.

    burs-bs/phz/mjs

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Reuters - AlertNet
    Country: Niger, Nigeria

    Source: Reuters - Wed, 18 Mar 2015 22:45 GMT

    NIAMEY, March 18 (Reuters) - Niger faces a large cereal deficit and will struggle to feed its people as well as the thousands of Boko Haram refugees that have spilled over its border, the prime minister said on Wednesday.

    Read the story on Thompson Reuters Foundation


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Nigeria, Ukraine

    (New York, 19 March 2015): Addressing the media today after returning from a week-long mission to Nigeria and Ukraine, the Emergency Directors of two IASC agencies, John Ging of OCHA and Afshan Khan of UNICEF, called on the international community to support efforts underway to assist civilians in both countries.

    In Nigeria, the Emergency Directors travelled to Yola, where they met with local government officials, humanitarian partners, including inter-faith groups such as the Adamawa Peace Initiative, and women’s groups, and visited IDPs living in formal camps, informal camps and with host communities. In Abuja, they met with government officials, humanitarian partners and donors.

    “The people of north-east Nigeria have suffered immensely,” said OCHA Operations Director, John Ging. “With the rainy season just two months away, and host communities’ resources rapidly diminishing, we must urgently mobilize assistance to help people in need, in support of the local communities and organizations who have done so much already.”

    The Emergency Directors were particularly concerned by the plight of women and children, many of whom have suffered and witnessed horrendous atrocities – they have seen their husbands and children slaughtered, walked for days with nothing but the clothes on their backs to seek refuge, been exposed to abuse and violence, and lost their homes and belongings.

    “Despite all they have been through, the women we met held unshakeable strength, courage and determination to rebuild their families, their communities and their country,” said UNICEF Emergency Director, Afshan Khan. “Their asks are extremely humble – protection and justice, a plot of land, an opportunity for a livelihood, free access to healthcare, and education for their children – and we must all work to support them.”

    In Ukraine, the Emergency Directors travelled to Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk and, in Kiev, met with the Deputy Prime Minister, humanitarian partners and Member States.

    “This conflict has exacted a huge toll on civilians, and particularly older women and men,” said Mr. Ging. “We urgently need all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and ensure that they have access to the finances, supplies and services they need to survive this crisis. We also urgently need free and unhindered access for humanitarian organizations to reach people in need.”

    The protection of medical facilities and delivery of medicines and medical supplies to conflict-affected areas is particularly urgent. More than 100 health facilities have been damaged or destroyed during the fighting in Donetsk and Luhansk alone, and the Emergency Directors visited a hospital in Donetsk which lacked even the most basic supplies, including surgical gloves, IV fluid, antibiotics and bandages.

    In both Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk, the Emergency Directors saw the psycho-social and physical toll that the conflict has taken on children. Visiting a bomb shelter in Donetsk, the Emergency Directors met with families too afraid to have their children return to school for fear of ongoing shelling.

    “Children are bearing the brunt of this conflict,” said Ms. Khan, “Many of them have fled their homes and left their belongings behind. Half of the children in conflict-affected areas are out of school, some of whom have had their schools damaged or destroyed. Many of these children have witnessed unimaginable violence and need urgent psycho-social support.”

    Additional humanitarian funding is urgently needed for the responses in both Nigeria and Ukraine, where the appeals are just 8 per cent and 5 per cent funded respectively.

    The Emergency Directors of FAO, IOM, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, UNHCR, WFP and WHO also joined the entire mission, while UNDP and Caritas Internationalis joined for Ukraine.

    For further information, please call:
    Michelle Delaney, OCHA NY, delaneym@un.org, Tel + 1 917 367 4568, Cell +1 917226 6308
    Najwa Mekki, UNICEF NY, nmekki@unicef.org, Tel. +1 917 209 1804


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    Source: Reuters - AlertNet
    Country: Mali

    BAMAKO, March 18 (Reuters) - Mali's government said on Wednesday it would not participate in further talks with rebels seeking autonomy for northern Mali, leaving the future of a U.N.-brokered peace process in question.

    A collapse in peace talks could leave the question of north Mali's political status open indefinitely, a factor that may be exploited by Islamist militants active in the region.

    read the full story here


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria

    (New York, 19 March 2015) – United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has approved US$28 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support life-saving relief work for people fleeing violence in Nigeria.

    More than 1.2 million Nigerians have been driven from their homes as a result of Boko Haram-related violence which escalated dramatically since the start of 2015. Over 150,000 people have fled to neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger, putting a further strain on some of the most vulnerable communities in the world.

    “The insurgency in the northeast of Nigeria is having a devastating impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people,” said Valerie Amos, the Emergency Relief Coordinator. “This allocation from CERF will be used to support people in the most vulnerable communities who have been directly affected by the violence. It will provide urgently needed humanitarian relief including food, clean water, shelter, medicine, protection and security, particularly for women and children who are exposed to or have experienced violence and brutality.”

    Given the urgent need to scale up humanitarian operations and assist those in need across affected countries, a regionally coordinated $28 million rapid-response allocation will go to relief agencies operating in Nigeria ($10 million), Cameroon ($7 million), Niger ($7 million) and Chad ($4 million). Like many places in the Sahel, most communities where the newly displaced have sought refuge already face food insecurity and malnutrition, and are prone to disease outbreaks and natural disasters. They often already host hundreds of thousands of refugees, returnees and migrants who have escaped violence and hardship throughout the region.

    In 2014, CERF allocated more than $8.7 million to relief agencies responding to the regional impact of ongoing crisis in Nigeria. Almost $3.6 million went to life-saving relief, including the provision of clean water, health services and protection in Nigeria, and another $5.2 million allowed humanitarian partners to provide urgent food, shelter and medical support to refugees and host communities in Niger. CERF pools donor contribution in a single fund so that money is available to start or continue urgent relief work anywhere in the world. Since its inception in 2006, 125 UN Member States and dozens of private-sector donors and regional Governments have contributed $3.8 billion to the fund. CERF has allocated more than $3.7 billion in support of humanitarian operations in 88 countries and territories.


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    Source: British Red Cross
    Country: Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria, World

    The British Red Cross has pledged more than half a million pounds to help people caught up in a growing and underreported crisis in Africa. Countries across the Sahel, an area stretching from Eritrea on the Red Sea to Senegal on the Atlantic coast, are experiencing acute food shortages brought on by the late onset of rains. Estimates suggest that more than 24 million people are affected. The situation is further compounded by separate conflicts in Nigeria, Central African Republic and Mali.

    Background to the crisis

    The Sahel is no stranger to crisis. The region has long experienced droughts and chronic food shortages. For many, the current situation is not out of the norm.

    However, there are pockets across Cape Verde, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Chad and Nigeria, where the food shortages are now acute.

    Failure to act now could further exacerbate the situation, according to Alex Carle, British Red Cross head of West and Central Africa.

    “Humanitarian organisations have been carrying out an in-depth analysis of the situation, assessing the early-warning systems and weather patterns,” said Alex.

    “We also have excellent knowledge of local markets and food prices. All signs point to an increasing number of people living in the Sahel finding it harder and harder to feed their families.

    “It is important to act now before things become even worse and people, predominantly the vulnerable such as children, start to die of malnutrition.

    “There is enough food globally – we must act now to ensure it goes to those most in need.”

    Made homeless by conflict

    The humanitarian crisis is complicated by multiple conflicts in the region.

    Hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes. This has placed huge pressures on neighbouring countries and aid agencies.

    Cameroon is hosting about 66,000 refugees from northern Nigeria, along with approximately 245,000 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR).

    Chad has also seen a large influx of refugees from Nigeria and CAR, while approximately 100,000 people have fled to Niger from northern Nigeria.

    More than one million people have been forced from their homes within Nigeria.

    The volatile situation in northern Mali has also left people in desperate need of aid. Around 80,000 Malians have been forced to flee their homes. A further 133,000 Malian refugees remain in Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso.

    “Families have had to flee their homes due to conflict and are being hosted in communities that already have insufficient resources to feed and house the local populations,” said Alex.

    “This is happening within Nigeria, but also across the borders in Niger, Cameroon and Chad. The lack of resources only escalates an already difficult situation into one which is very complex.

    “Communities are left highly vulnerable to further crises such as cholera and malaria outbreaks.”

    Red Cross pledge

    The British Red Cross has pledged £595,000 from our Disaster Fund. The money will be split between emergency relief work in Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria.

    Food, clean water, sanitation, health care and shelter are being provided to families.

    Preventing further crises, such as disease outbreaks, is a crucial part of the Red Cross response.

    The pledge will also fund training and assessment work aimed at addressing the food shortages across the Sahel.


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    Source: US Institute of Peace
    Country: Nigeria, World

    By: Viola Gienger

    The helplessness pours out of a crying mother in India, so silenced by patriarchal traditions that she’s afraid to speak up about the risk that her son might be drawn to radicalism. Continents away in Nigeria, police officers are ashamed to admit the poor working conditions that weaken their ability and motivation to protect their communities. The seemingly disparate scenes are elements of the same puzzle – how to combat violent extremism. And in both countries, local women activists are putting the pieces together.

    Archana Kapoor, a filmmaker, activist and founder of a community radio station in India, tells the story of the mother from Mewat, a poor, rural area about 45 miles (70 km) south of the capital New Delhi. Many women there don’t have much freedom or authority, much less their own phones, bank accounts or other tools of independence. Kapoor helped establish a series of “Mothers Schools” to support and train women in expressing their concerns about the effect of radicalization in their communities and families.

    “She said, `Who will listen to me? I’ve never been allowed to speak,’” says Kapoor, whose radio station has won three national awards in its four years of operation and who launched a broadcast called “Mothers on Air” to give women a platform. “She just started crying. She said in all her years, her father told her to shut up because she’s a woman … then her brother, then her husband and now her son. She had never had a voice. The radio gave her a voice, and the confidence to speak on the radio came from the Mothers School.”

    In the state capital of Jos in northern Nigeria, Christian Missions Pastor Esther Ibanga nurtures ties between local citizens and police usually better known for their corruption. So when the militant group Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of young girls a year ago, police actually guarded a protest march that she organized with a consortium of organizations. They included her own, Women Without Walls Initiative, which connects women across religious, tribal and ethnic lines to address the conflict that had gone on for decades.

    “The police have not had a good reputation in my state, as in most countries. They are looked at with suspicion, they are extremely corrupt, nobody wants to have anything to do with them,” Ibanga explains. “To have Nigerian police and women as well in one place was unheard of.”

    Kapoor and Ibanga this month joined 9 other women from India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Kenya and Indonesia and a man from Tanzania to compare notes on community approaches to countering violent extremism during a three-day symposium at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Each of these activists has been working on one of two pilot projects funded by the U.S. State Department: USIP’s Women Preventing Extremist Violence (WPEV), which helped connect women activists with police in their communities and policymakers at the national level; and Sisters Against Violent Extremism (SAVE) by Vienna-based Women Without Borders, a project that establishes the “Mothers Schools” to give women the confidence, skills and outlets to speak up against radical influences in their communities.

    'Broader Global Agenda' Interest in countering violent extremism has heightened with the spreading carnage by groups such as Boko Haram in Nigeria, the so-called “Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria and Buddhist monks in Burma. The issue got top billing in the U.S. last month as President Barack Obama convened his White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism.

    Community-led initiatives “have much to contribute to the broader global agenda,” said Kathleen Kuehnast, director of USIP’s Center for Gender and Peacebuilding, during a public discussion that capped the three-day symposium.

    The idea of involving women and others at the community level in countering radicalization is finally winning support from a wide range of officials as well as political and military leaders, said Edit Schlaffer, founder and executive director of Women Without Borders.

    “It was always considered something touchy-feely, too soft,” Schlaffer said during a discussion earlier in the symposium with Sarah Sewall, U.S. undersecretary of state for civilian security, democracy and human rights. Sewall, the former director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, wanted to hear from the group of women about what strategies work and should be supported in the future.

    The White House summit’s involvement of civil society organizations in high-level discussions was “a breakthrough moment for us as civil society to get this confirmation and this endorsement,” Schlaffer said. “We’re talking big strategies now.”

    Strengthening the role of women in traditional societies also means bringing men into the conversation to address how the ascribed norms of men and masculine identities contribute to -- and may even help mitigate -- violent conflict. Omar Mattar Tajir, the chief executive officer of Zanzibar Youth Education, Environment and Development Support Association (ZAYEDESA) in in Tanzania, established Mothers Schools under the SAVE project and says there’s also a desperate need for a Fathers School to build support among men for women and girls and for improving skills in preventing radicalization of youths. The Mothers Schools were established in the wake of attacks by radicals on clerics and imams and violent youth protests in the streets of Stone Town, according to Women Without Borders.

    “The idea of including fathers is critical as well,” Tajir said in an interview on the sidelines of the symposium. “The system of our society is patriarchal, and the role of the father cannot be underestimated. The mothers and fathers must work together in preventing radicalization.”

    In Kenya, women activists are taking the issues of violent extremism to the national level. In the aftermath of the attack by the Somali al-Shabab Islamic militant group on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi in 2013, Somalis in Kenya felt the backlash with the Kenyan government’s “Operation Sanitization,” said Fauziya Abdi, a consultant to USIP as well as for a British research organization and a European Union program in the Horn of Africa. Conversely, after al-Shabab killed 28 non-Muslim passengers, including 22 teachers in the November 2014 hijacking of a bus in the town of Mandera near the Somali border, Kenyan teachers in the area refused to return to work for fear of attacks.

    Mothers of Al-Shabab Recruits
    Under USIP’s Women Preventing Extremist Violence program, Abdi helped bring together representatives of 12 organizations working to counter trends towards radicalization into a consortium called Sisters Without Borders.

    “They have been doing a lot of community work,” including with mothers and young people, Abdi told Sewall. Sureya Roble-Hersi, who supports rural women as national vice chairperson of the Maendeleo Ye Wanawake Organization in Kenya, said the Sisters consortium’s biggest achievement is persuading mothers of sons recruited into al-Shabab to speak out.

    “There has been a lot of fear that if the women come out and speak openly, then they will be targeted by the security forces,” Roble-Hersi said. “Some of them have not even reported that their sons are missing.”

    But national-level policies also are lacking, said Abdi. The Kenyan Prevention of Terrorism Act, for example, doesn’t address those who are forced to join extremist groups, she said. So the consortium wrote a letter to the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association asking for a meeting to discuss the challenges of violent extremism. The activists pressed the lawmakers to do more to address the economic factors that drive youth toward radical groups, improve conditions for police officers that communities depend on to provide security and call for teachers to return to work after the Mandera bus attack.

    “Engaging at different levels is very important,” Abdi said. “On the economic front, in particular the private sector, when there is a terrorist attack, it affects businesses … [and] it goes all the way down to the household level.”

    Back in Nigeria, the efforts of women activists in the USIP project to connect citizens more constructively with police worked in part because the women had experience in mobilizing their communities. On the police side, they identified officers who had “a very unique combination of humility, commitment to service and influence,” said Georgia Holmer, interim director of USIP’s Rule of Law Center. “Each of those elements on their own doesn’t quite get you there, but they were willing to be very open and humble and honest about the challenges that the police face.”

    They told stories of horrid living conditions and of having to provide their own supplies and make their own uniforms, humiliations that citizens rarely considered when depending on security forces for protection. The openness helped build mutual trust with the women activists and their communities in a way likely to last longer than top-down attempts at enforcing standards.

    “The competence and confidence of women” can help “establish a sustainable security platform,” Schlaffer said of longer-term prevention efforts. “We have to be part of a new security architecture, and we identified the missing building block, and that is women.”

    Viola Gienger is a senior writer at USIP.


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    Source: Guardian
    Country: Mali

    After failed peace talks in Algiers, Mali is no closer to resolving the internal upheaval that is often oversimplified as a clear rift between north and south

    The story of modern Mali may at first look like a battle for supremacy between the Bamako-based government in the south and rebel factions in the country’s north. Time and again, attempts to broker a peace deal have faltered. The latest talks, which ended inconclusively in Algiers last week, promise to perpetuate the pattern, with some rebel groups unimpressed by the government’s offer of locally elected leaders, greater representation of northern populations in national institutions, and the transfer of one-third of state budget revenues to local authorities from 2018.

    read the full article here


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Tunisia

    Zarzis, Tunisie | | jeudi 19/03/2015 - 19:41 GMT

    La dépouille d'un migrant clandestin qui tentait de rallier l'Italie depuis la Libye a été repêchée en mer au large de la Tunisie et 83 autres personnes ont été secourues, a indiqué jeudi le Croissant-Rouge tunisien.

    "A la suite d'une panne sur leur embarcation de fortune, ils ont été coincés en mer avant d'être repérés par des marins tunisiens au large de Zarzis", dans le sud-est de la Tunisie, a indiqué le directeur du Croissant-Rouge dans le gouvernorat de Médenine, Mongi Slim.

    Sur les 83 personnes secourues --âgées entre 14 et 30 ans--, seize ont été hospitalisées.

    Des survivants, dans un état de grande faiblesse physique, ont indiqué à l'AFP être restés trois jours en mer. D'autres ont aussi fait état d'un autre mort, dont la dépouille aurait été jetée en mer deux jours auparavant.

    Selon M. Slim, le clandestin décédé était de nationalité nigériane. Parmi les 83 survivants figurent 54 Nigérians et six Maliens.

    Plongée dans le chaos et échappant au contrôle des autorités, la Libye est devenue pour les passeurs un point de départ privilégié des voyages clandestins à destination de l'Europe.

    La grande majorité des migrants sont africains mais nombreux sont aussi ceux venant des zones de conflit au Moyen-Orient, la Syrie en particulier.

    str-kl/iba/alf/vl

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria

    Conflict in the North-East of Nigeria has escalated in recent months with more than 1.2 million internally displaced persons (IDP) in need of humanitarian assistance as of 4 March 2015, as registered by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). In addition, some 194,0001 refugees, returnees and stranded migrants have fled to neighboring countries to seek safety from the violence and inter-communal violence in North- Central Nigeria continues to have a humanitarian impact.

    DISPLACEMENT
    1.2 million Estimated internally displaced people by conflict and inter-communal violence as of 04 March 2015

    194,000 People fled to neighbouring countries including refugees, returnees and stranded migrants as 10 March 2015

    ACTORS RESPONDING
    20 humanitarian actors, including the United Nations, the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement and International NGOs and the National Emergency Management Agency are responding to the humanitarian needs in the three states under recurrent Boko Haram attacks and the surrounding states in the North-east.

    CRITICAL NEEDS The most urgent needs of people affected by the conflict include protection, shelter, food and access to education and health services for both displaced persons and host communities remains.


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    Source: Danish Refugee Council, Handicap International, Action Contre la Faim, Solidarités International, Oxfam
    Country: Mali

    En bref

    Bénéficiaires Atteints :

    • 39749 ménages

    • 42 562 enfants de 0 à 23 mois

    • 25 586 femmes enceintes et allaitantes (FEFA)

    Activités :

    • Transferts monétaires inconditionnels

    • Distribution Alimentaire Générale (DAG)

    • Nutrition : Blanket feeding et sensibilisation nutritionnelle

    Zones d’intervention :

    • 74% des communes Gao

    • 45% des communes de Tombouctou

    • 31% de taux de couverture des ménages

    Période de mise en œuvre

    • avril 2014 à mars-mai 2015

    Budget

    • 10 millions d’Euros

    • Financement ECHO

    Actualités

    • Evaluation de la sécurité des systèmes semenciers dans les régions de Gao et Tombouctou en partenariat avec la FAO et le cluster sécurité alimentaire

    • Etude rétrospective conjointe (Programme national sur les filets sociaux JIGISEMEJIRI, CCFS et Coopération Suisse) des processus de ciblage des ménages vulnérables au Mali

    • Etude de capitalisation des pratiques et des expériences du CCFS

    • Enquêtes de suivis post-distribution (2ème et 3ème transfert) .


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

    Faits saillants

    • Deux nouvelles attaques de Boko-Haram ont été repoussées par l’armée tchadienne à Kaiga (le 4 mars), et à Djarguimaro ( le 15 mars), dont la première a entrainé l’arrivée de plusieurs centaines de réfugiés Nigérians sur le site de Dar-es-Salam, et des quelques mouvements internes de populations Tchadiennes.

    • Une mission inter-agence multisectorielle coordonnée par OCHA du 21 au 26 février a révélé d’importants besoins humanitaires pour les retournés Tchadiens du Nigéria, les déplacés internes et les réfugiés Nigérians ainsi que leurs familles hôtes dans six sous-préfectures du Lac.

    • Un fonds CERF d’un montant de 4 millions de dollars américains a été alloué le 10 mars pour fournir une assistance aux populations déplacées, pour répondre à l’impact de la fermeture de la frontière, et pour protéger les personnes vulnérables.

    • Une opération conjointe organisée par le HCR, la CNARR et l’OIM du 25 février au 4 mars dans la ville de Baga-Sola a permis de faire le profilage des quelques 2670 déplacés internes et 812 retournés Tchadiens du Nigeria, dont 29 retournés ont été transportés par l’OIM dans leur zone d’origine au Mayo-Kebbi (sud du Tchad) et assistés en vivres et articles ménages essentiels.

    • L’assistance se poursuit pour les réfugiés sur le site de Dar-es-Salam. Le nombre total de 15 000 réfugiés arrivés du Nigéria en 2015 est globalement stable depuis plusieurs semaines, même si près de 300 réfugiés sont arrivés de façon spontanée sur le site de Dar-es-Salam depuis le 18 février.

    • Quelques 1 300 personnes en provenance du Nigéria et du Cameroun ont été identifiées dans le Mayo-Kebbi Est. Elles sont arrivées en plusieurs vagues successives entre 2013 et 2015, dont une partie suite aux violences de Boko-Haram au Cameroun et au Nigéria.


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    Source: Médecins Sans Frontières
    Country: Chad, Nigeria

    Suite aux attaques menées par Boko Haram dans le nord-est du Nigeria, des milliers de personnes ont récemment franchi la frontière du Tchad en quête d’un lieu sûr. D’après les estimations officielles, ils sont quelques 18 000 réfugiés à vivre rassemblés dans des camps et au sein de la communauté dans la région du lac. Mais récemment, l’insécurité est également montée d’un cran au Tchad, où une attaque a été menée dans la ville de Ngouboua, à 25 kilomètres de la frontière avec le Nigeria, entraînant la fuite de milliers de résidents et de réfugiés.

    Pour répondre à cette situation, Médecins Sans Frontières a dépêché une équipe d’urgence dans la région pour évaluer les besoins humanitaires. L’équipe a réussi à atteindre les villes principales et le camp de réfugiés de Dar es Salam, qui accueille actuellement environ 3700 personnes. Néanmoins, pour des raisons de sécurité, elle n’a pas pu accéder à plusieurs petites îles sur lesquelles de nombreux réfugiés sont pour la plupart piégés et incapables de partir. « Les gens vivent dans des conditions extrêmement précaires, déclare Stéphanie Giandonato, chef de mission pour MSF au Tchad. Les résidents tchadiens n’ont pas été épargnés par l’instabilité, et beaucoup d’entre eux ont été contraints de partir de chez eux. Les réfugiés du Nigeria sont partis en laissant tout derrière eux, ils sont arrivés sans aucun bien. Au sein des communautés, l’afflux de ces milliers de personnes exercent une forte pression sur les structures médicales depuis un mois. »

    Les priorités : soins médicaux et soutien psychologique

    Les structures sanitaires étant sous pression, MSF a distribué des kits médicaux au centre de santé de Ngouboua. Les médicaments et les équipements médicaux qu’ils contiennent doivent permettre de traiter 1000 personnes. Des cliniques pour les soins de santé de base vont être mises en place pour cette semaine pour apporter une aide médicale dans les zones les plus affectées.

    Le soutien psychologique sera également un élément clé des activités médicales. Au cours des prochains jours, des psychologues de MSF donneront les premiers soins de santé mentale dans le cadre de séances individuelles et collectives dans le camp de réfugiés de Dar es Salam, à Bagasola et Ngouboua. MSF fournira également un soutien psychologique et une assistance médicale spécifique aux victimes de violence sexuelle.

    « Les gens sont extrêmement effrayés après avoir vécu deux fois le traumatisme des attaques : d’abord au Nigeria, puis au Tchad, ajoute Stéphanie Giandonato. Ils sont nombreux à avoir perdu des membres de leur famille, ils sont angoissés et ne savent pas ce que l’avenir leur réserve. »

    Distribution d’articles de secours essentiels

    En collaboration avec les autorités locales, MSF a distribué des kits d’hygiène et des abris à environ 6000 personnes à Ngouboua, Bagasola et à Forkouloum. Ces kits comprenaient des couvertures et des bâches en plastique ainsi que des moustiquaires pour se protéger contre le paludisme, endémique dans la région.

    L’accès à l’eau propre est un problème majeur, surtout en raison du taux élevé de maladies diarrhéiques dans cette zone. Après avoir organisé des sessions de sensibilisation sur l’importance de l’eau propre, l’équipe a distribué des kits de chloration aux résidents de Ngouboua et Forkouloum.

    MSF continuera d’évaluer les besoins humanitaires dans la région du lac Tchad à mesure que la situation évoluera. L’organisation se tient prête à étendre ses activités médicales et de secours dans le cas où une nouvelle vague de réfugiés arriverait.

    MSF travaille au Tchad depuis plus de trente ans. L’organisme mène des programmes réguliers à Abéché, Am Timan, Massakory, Moissala et Tissi. En 2014, MSF a également lancé des projets d’urgence à Bokoro en réaction à une malnutrition aigüe, ainsi qu’à Sido et Gore au sud du Tchad afin de répondre aux besoins humanitaires des réfugiés fuyant la République centrafricaine.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Nigeria

    Lagos, Nigeria | Friday 3/20/2015 - 09:04 GMT

    Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan said in an interview broadcast on Friday that he hoped that Boko Haram militants would be pushed out of captured towns and villages within a month.

    "I'm very hopeful that it will not take us more than a month to recover the old territories that hitherto have been in their hands," he told the BBC.

    Nigeria's military has had a remarkable transformation, claiming to have recaptured dozens of communities from the Islamists in the restive northeast since early February.

    Ill-equipped soldiers had previously appeared unable -- even unwilling -- to respond to attacks by the heavily armed rebels, whose insurgency began in 2009 and has killed more than 13,000.

    The military, backed by soldiers from Chad, Cameroon and Niger as well as foreign private military contractors, claim to have "cleared" the northeast states of Yobe and Adawama of insurgents.

    Borno state, which has been worst affected by the insurgency, is expected to be liberated "soon", they have said.

    In the interview, Jonathan, who is seeking re-election at polls on March 28, said Boko Haram were "getting weaker and weaker every day".

    He blamed the military's inability to put down the rebellion previously to a lack of weapons and resources, which have now come through.

    Military and political rhetoric from Abuja suggests that victory over Boko Haram could be declared soon but security analysts have warned that this could be premature.

    On Wednesday and Thursday, Boko Haram fighters demonstrated that they were still able to mount hit-and-run attacks, storming the border town of Gamboru and killing 11 civilians.

    The town, in eastern Borno on the frontier with Cameroon, was previously recaptured by Chadian forces but they withdrew last week, leaving it without a security presence, residents said.

    The lack of troops suggested a problem in co-ordination between the allies, with anglophone Nigeria having long been suspicious of its francophone neighbours and ties tense.

    phz/yad

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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