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    Source:  UN Children's Fund, Save the Children
    Country:  Mali

    Education in Mali Threatened by the Conflict in the North and the Nutrition and Food Crisis

    In Mali, following the conflict in the North, the Ministry of Education has identified 6,895 in-school displaced students. According to the estimations from the Education Cluster, 10,000 students (in school and dropped-out after displacement) are currently displaced in South Mali. It is estimated by the Education Cluster that by the end of 2012 there will be 25,000 displaced students in the South of Mali. Estimations show that amongst the 300,000 students in the North, only 20% are displaced to the South or are refugees in the neighboring countries. The 80% who remain in the North currently have no access to education - leaving children at risk of recruitment into armed groups. Furthermore, at national level, children are also affected by the food and nutrition crisis. According to a joint assessment held by the Education Cluster and the Child Protection Sub-cluster, in 50% of the surveyed villages, there is a trend of school drop-outs, mainly because of the food insecurity. Until the end of the year, the Education Cluster and its partners are focusing on a back-to-school campaign targeting conflict-affected children: displaced children in the South and children who remain in the North.

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    Source:  UN Children's Fund, Save the Children
    Country:  Mali

    L’éducation au Mali menacée par le conflit au Nord et les crises alimentaires et nutritionnelles

    Au Mali, suite au conflit au Nord, 6 895 élèves déplacés scolarisés ont été identifiés au Sud par le Ministère de l’Education. Selon les estimations du Cluster Education, ce sont environ 10 000 élèves (scolarisés et non scolarisés suite au déplacement) qui sont actuellement déplacés vers le Sud. 25 000 élèves déplacés sont attendus au Sud jusqu'à la fin de l'année, selon nos estimations.
    Les estimations montrent que sur les 300 000 élèves au Nord, seuls 20 % des ces derniers sont déplacés au Sud et réfugiés dans les pays voisins. Pour les 80 % restés au Nord, ces derniers n’ont actuellement pas d’accès à des activités éducatives, avec les risques d’enrôlement dans les groupes armés que cela implique.
    Ces élèves sont également touchés par les crises alimentaires et nutritionnelles au niveau national. Selon une évaluation conjointe avec le Sous Cluster Protection de l'Enfant, dans 50 % de villages enquêtés, il y a une tendance à la déscolarisation avec comme principale raison la hausse de l’insécurité alimentaire.
    D'ici à la fin de l'année 2012, le Cluster Edcuation et ses partenaires se focalisent sur une campagne de retour à l'école pour les élèves affectés par le conflit : ceux déplacés au Sud et ceux restés au Nord.

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    Source:  Save the Children
    Country:  Somalia

    by Mark Kaye

    The village elders are quick to tell me that Boodhlay, the name of this village, means dusty. A quick glance around shows that this name is very apt indeed.

    There is hardly any vegetation here at all. No grass, just pockets of dry scrub, spiky acacia trees and dust as far as the eye can see. Unusually for this part of Somaliland, I can’t see a single camel.

    Almost everyone in the village is a pastoralist. This means that they are largely reliant on their herds of camels, goats and sheep to provide food, milk and income for their families. When there is not enough rain, the pasture soon disappears and people are forced to move in search of food and water for their animals.

    “It is affecting every aspect of life”

    Yusuf, one of the village elders tells me: “There have been droughts here for a long time now. The situation is very difficult. It is affecting the food and water supply, our incomes and the children’s education. It is affecting every aspect of life.”

    When the drought came last year many people lost animals. In a place where your livestock are your livelihood, some families lost everything.

    Recently, the humanitarian situation in Somaliland has modestly improved. The rainy season – known in the region as the Gu rains – was not as meagre as predicted this year. But there are many pockets of land, like Boodhlay, where the rains have been both late and insufficient. In these areas pasture remains extremely limited and water – both for livestock and human consumption – is scarce.

    As Yusuf told me: “People think that because we have had some rains recently everything is OK. But they are wrong. Ten days ago it rained for two days. We’ve had nothing since. These two days of rain will not fix things. It takes a long time to recover. Nothing has changed.”

    Our response

    Unless assistance is provided, these factors could lead to destitution for many of the pastoral communities that call eastern Somaliland home. We’re calling for urgent funding to contribute towards sustainable early recovery in these areas.

    We have also have launched an emergency intervention to address the lack of water in villages where we are already working, such as Boodhlay.

    The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) component of our response is already underway, and we’re aiming to provide immediate access to safe water for more than 7,000 families. This is being achieved via emergency water trucking, the restoration of water sources (berkads), or a combination of both. 

    In total we’re targeting 21 villages in eastern Somaliland. To date, we’ve reached 13,557 people, including 6,110 children in the area through our WASH intervention.

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    Source:  Norwegian Refugee Council
    Country:  Burkina Faso, Mali

    Christian Jepsen (10.10.2012)

    NRC has engaged in close dialogue with Malian refugees in Burkina Faso to develop a durable shelter, suited to the harsh climate of the Sahel. The shelter design is based on traditional nomad designs and utilizes carefully chosen materials to spare the environment and keep construction costs low.

    Confident hands are tying pole after pole together to form strong frames that are subsequently covered with sheeting and mats to form a nomad-style shelter, tailor-made to local desert conditions. A key feature is the low, open design, allowing cooling air to pass through the interior.

    NRC’s shelter team developed the shelter – inspired by traditional nomad design – in close cooperation with the Malian refugees and has focused on local materials to make the shelter cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Rope, machetes, mats, plastic sheeting and eucalyptus poles are handed out by NRC, after which the Malian refugees proceed to construct their own shelters.

    Women lead the way

    It is customary amongst the Tuareg tribes in the Sahel that women lead the way in constructing and designing shelters. For 40-year-old Fatima Welet Hamat there was no other choice. With her husband remaining in Mali, she has to assemble the shelter herself, assisted by her children and neighbors when needed.

    Only one day after receiving the shelter kit, the shelter is close to completed. Fatima is all smiles as she invites NRC to have a look inside.

    ‐ I am very, very happy. Look around, here is much more space, says the proud new homeowner surrounded by her children. - There is even enough space for the little ones to play inside, and I have room for visitors.

    NRC’s social worker notices that Fatima’s shelter is larger than recommended, leaving small gaps in the roofing. Fatima agrees: – Yes, I know. I will have to do some adjustments and improvements but that is no problem at all. We are used to this, she insists.

    The recent improvement in Fatima and her family’s lives follows some troubled months with an arduous escape from the volatile northern Mali in March this year.

    More than 100,000 refugees

    ‐ I fled with my children because of the fighting in our area and because we were scared of the Islamists, Fatima explains. – We travelled on foot during the day and hid in the bushes at night.

    The journey from Gao in northern Mali lasted an entire month before the exhausted family finally found safety in the Ferrerio camp in Burkina Faso.

    According to UNHCR, The UN’s Refugee Agency, more than 100,000 civilians from northern Mali have sought refuge in Burkina Faso. Most are residing in camps near the border where the UN and humanitarian partners are working hard with limited funding to provide much needed services such as food, clean water, sanitation and shelter. Education and livelihood programmes are being planned, but most children are still to attend their first day in school.

    NRC’s programme in Burkina Faso

    NRC initiated operations in Burkina Faso in May 2012 in close cooperation with the Burkinabe government, the UN and NGOs. NRC is currently implementing a shelter programme, benefitting some 1,000 vulnerable families in Ferrerio and Gandafabou camps. Other activities include a forthcoming construction of a health clinic and water trucking to Gandafabou camp. NRC’s projects are carried out with funding from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM).

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    Source:  Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country:  Kenya


    • Unfavourable weather conditions affect the 2012 long-rains season maize crop

    • Maize prices began to decline following the start of harvest

    • Food security situation generally improves, but concern remains in pastoral and marginal cropping areas

    Below average maize production expected from the 2012 long-rains season

    In major cropping areas of the Rift valley, Western and Nyanza provinces, harvesting of the 2012 long-rains cereal crops has just started and will continue until the first months of 2013. A below average crop is expected following late and erratic rains in Nyanza, parts of western and southern Rift Valley and parts of Central and Eastern provinces. The outbreak of the highly contagious Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND) in some districts of southern Rift Valley and Nyanza provinces has affected about 60 000 hectares where production may drop by 60-80 percent.

    In bimodal south-eastern and coastal marginal agricultural areas, harvesting of the 2012 long-rains cereal crops is almost complete and production is estimated at below average levels as rains have been erratic and ended earlier than usual. Major soil moisture deficits were reported in Taita Taveta, Kitui, Mwingi, Meru and Makueni districts, where the rainy season has been extremely poor leading to a complete crop failure in some areas. A poor long-rains season has also characterized some northern and north-eastern pastoral areas including Mandera, Wajir, Isiolo, central Garissa and Tana River, where water resources have been only partially recharged, pasture conditions declined and livestock trekking distances increased. In other pastoral areas that received adequate rainfall, pasture availability is good and livestock productivity has significantly improved.

    On the other hand, planting of the 2012 short-rains season crops has just started in eastern and coastal areas. Enhanced precipitations are forecast until the end of the year (especially in the eastern half of the country) which is expected to have a positive impact on crop yields and pasture conditions. However, concern over localized flooding is raised in some areas and may result in increased post-harvest losses and outbreak of water-borne diseases.

    Overall, the 2012/13 cereal production, even assuming an above average output for short-rains crops to be harvested in March/April 2013, is forecast at 3 million tonnes, about 10 percent below last five years average. Cereal import requirements for 2012/13 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at a high of 2.3 million tonnes (about 15 percent up on last year), including 1.2 million tonnes of maize, 600 000 tonnes of wheat and 400 000 tonnes of rice.

    Maize prices decline in most markets, but generally remain high

    Prices of maize peaked seasonally in June/July and began to decline following the start of the 2012 “long-rains” harvest. In main markets, maize prices in September were between 7 and 25 lower than the seasonal peak in June/July. Although maize prices remain particularly high across most pastoral areas, livestock-to-maize terms of trade are relatively favourable for pastoralists. Compared to a year earlier, current maize prices are still between 5 and 20 percent higher, due to the strong local demand coupled with the expectations of a below average seasonal production.

    Overall food security improves but concerns remain in pastoral and marginal cropping areas

    Currently the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance is estimated at about 2.1 million, about 43 percent less than in August 2012, following the start of harvesting of 2012 long-rains crops and improved market supplies. Most food insecure areas are located in north-eastern and north-western pastoral districts and in south-east and coastal marginal cropping areas, including Wajir, Mandera, Moyale, Marsabit, Turkana, Mwingi and Tana River districts. Here, food security of most vulnerable households has been seriously affected by low cereal production, low milk productivity, high food prices as well as inter-communal conflicts between herders and farmers (in particular among about 13 000 displaced people in Tana River district). Food security conditions are expected to improve soon in northern pastoral areas as the short-rains season, starting in October, is expected to bring some relief to depleted grazing resources. Conversely, food security in south-eastern and costal lowlands is expected to deteriorate until March 2013 when the next harvest will take place.

    As of end of September 2012, according to UNHCR and OCHA, about 473 000 refugees, mostly from Somalia, were hosted in Dadaab camps in Garissa district and access to basic necessities such as food, shelter, water and sanitation is often precarious due to the high concentration of people.

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    Source:  UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Department of Public Information
    Country:  Mali, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger (the)

    Le Sous-Secrétaire général de l’ONU aux droits de l’homme, M. Ivan Simonović, s’est inquiété, aujourd’hui devant la presse, des graves violations des droits de l’homme dans le nord du Mali, contrôlé par des mouvements rebelles islamistes qui y ont imposé une version extrémiste de la charia.

    Invité du Point de presse quotidien du Porte-parole du Secrétaire général, le Chef du Bureau de New York du Haut-Commissariat des Nations Unies aux droits de l’homme vient de rentrer d’une visite de quatre jours au Mali, au cours de laquelle il a eu des entretiens avec les autorités maliennes, plusieurs membres du Gouvernement, des responsables de partis politiques et de la société civile, ainsi que les membres de la Commission nationale des droits de l’homme.

    Durant sa visite au Mali, du 5 au 8 octobre, M. Simonović s’est rendu à Mopti, ville située à la frontière de la zone contrôlée par les rebelles, et qui abrite, a-t-il précisé, environ 40 000 personnes déplacées.

    S’agissant du nombre total des déplacés, le responsable onusien a affirmé ne pas être en mesure de communiquer des chiffres exhaustifs. Sur la question des réfugiés, M. Ivan Simonović s’est alarmé du fait que l’on retrouve un nombre important d’entre eux dans les pays voisins du Mali, ces derniers craignant pour leur sécurité.

    « Les Nations Unies ont enregistré près de 100 000 réfugiés en Mauritanie, 100 000 autres au Burkina Faso, 30 000 en Algérie, ainsi que 40 000 au Niger »,

    a-t-il déclaré.

    Sur le volet des violations des droits de l’homme, il a souligné qu’elles étaient devenues systématiques depuis que les groupes armés extrémistes, à savoir Ansar Dine et le Mouvement de l’unité du djihad en Afrique occidentale (MUJAO), ont pris le contrôle du nord du pays. Il est, à cet effet, revenu sur des cas d’exécutions publiques, d’amputations et de flagellations. Les populations, a-t-il poursuivi, sont empêchées d’écouter de la musique ou de fumer.

    Les femmes demeurent les plus vulnérables, a-t-il fait remarquer, indiquant que le nombre des mariages forcés prenait de l’ampleur, dans un contexte où le prix d’achat d’une femme dans cette région du pays n’excédait pas les 1 000 dollars, a-t-il ajouté.

    Dans la catégorie des groupes vulnérables dans le nord du pays, l’on compte également les enfants dont plusieurs auraient été recrutés en tant que soldats au sein des groupes armés avec la complicité de leurs parents, a affirmé M. Ivan Simonović.

    « Il existe des informations crédibles indiquant que des enfants se sont faits enrôlés dans la ville de Gao par le MUJAO, et que leurs parents ont reçu en contrepartie moins de 600 dollars en vue d’encourager le recrutement de leurs enfants par les groupes armés », a-t-il précisé. Il s’est également déclaré préoccupé par les allégations récurrentes selon lesquelles des enfants seraient impliqués dans la fabrication d’engins explosifs.

    Au regard de cette situation alarmante, le Sous-Secrétaire général de l’ONU aux droits de l’homme a lancé un appel urgent aux autorités maliennes, les exhortant à mettre tout en œuvre en vue de la reprise de la zone nord du Mali aux mains des rebelles et l’organisation d’élections.

    Dans la foulée, il a également recommandé au Gouvernement malien d’ouvrir des enquêtes concernant la disparition d’une vingtaine de personnes considérées comme loyales à l’ancien Président malien Ahmadou Toumani Touré, et qui avaient au lendemain du coup d’État, tenté de renverser la junte militaire dirigée par le capitaine Sanogo.

    Selon M. Simonović, il est crucial pour les autorités maliennes d’envoyer des signaux positifs à la communauté internationale en diligentant des enquêtes afin que soient traduits devant les tribunaux, les responsables de ces violations, et dont certains sont issus des rangs de l’armée. Autrement, il a averti qu’il sera difficile à l’ONU de répondre favorablement à la requête du Gouvernement malien de voir les Nations Unies l’appuyer pour mettre fin à la rébellion dans le nord du pays.

    Dans un rapport présenté récemment au Conseil des droits de l’homme des Nations Unies à Genève, la Haut-Commissaire aux droits de l’homme, Mme Navi Pillay, a fait état de toute une série de violations des droits de l’homme et de violations présumées du droit international humanitaire commises dans le nord du Mali par le MUJAO et Ansar Dine.

    À l’intention des organes d’information • Document non officiel

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    Source:  European Commission Humanitarian Aid department
    Country:  Somalia, Ethiopia

    The European Commission is increasing by €30 million its aid to the Horn of Africa, helping a million people in Somalia and Ethiopia in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. The primary goal is to support immediate life-saving activities with an important share of these funds dedicated to helping build the resilience of vulnerable communities to withstand future disasters.

    The new funding comes from the Commission's Emergency Aid Reserve (EAR) and brings the total humanitarian financial contribution from the Commission for the region to €162 million this year.

    Increased rainfall and sustained humanitarian assistance has resulted in improved food security in the entire Horn of Africa compared to the acute humanitarian crisis the region faced last year, when famine was declared for the first time since 1992 by the United Nations in parts of Somalia.

    But more than two million people still have insufficient food in Somalia and depend on humanitarian aid. In Ethiopia, the number of people in need of humanitarian aid has increased by 16 per cent since the beginning of this year and more than 100,000 people have been affected by recent flooding.

    In addition, Ethiopia hosts more than 368,000 refugees from neighbouring countries and Somalia has more than 1.3 million internally displaced persons in the country.

    "Thanks to sustained humanitarian assistance and better weather conditions, the situation in the region has improved but more than nine million people in the Horn of Africa still need food, shelter, water and protection. There are more than 1.5 million internally displaced people and 1.2 million refugees in the region,” said Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Civil Protection and Crisis Response.

    "Our main goal is to help vulnerable people to survive but we can best do this by also strengthening their resilience and helping prepare them to be ready for when the next disaster inevitably strikes”.

    By promoting long-term solutions to the Horn of Africa's chronic problems (drought risks, insecurity, weak communal ability to withstand shocks, precarious livelihoods) the new funding will target local communities and those displaced by conflict and hunger.

    The funds will be channelled through the EU's SHARE strategy (Supporting Horn of Africa Resilience) which has become one of the main vehicles for EU assistance to the Horn of Africa after its launch this year.

    SHARE pools humanitarian assets with long-term development capabilities and directs them towards removing the root causes of food crises with the goal to prevent their reoccurrence.

    This new contribution will help support speedy recovery from the stresses and shocks that vulnerable populations in the Horn of Africa face every day.

    The aid will target people in greatest need and will be channelled through the European Commission's humanitarian partners in the field, including UN agencies and non-governmental organisations.


    Last year, the Horn of Africa faced one of the worst droughts in 60 years, which led to a large humanitarian crisis affecting more than 13 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia.

    The European Union (the European Commission and Member States), one of the world's largest humanitarian donors to the Horn of Africa, quickly moved to tackle the humanitarian crisis in the region, providing €807 million in relief aid since the beginning of 2011. The European Commission alone provided €181 million and reached about 6.5 million people in 2011.

    The Horn of Africa is faced with increasingly frequent and intense droughts. At the same time, population growth, increased pressures on resources, insecurity and prolonged geo-political instability have made it harder for the poorest communities to cope with and recover from the droughts.

    With the aim to foster long-term food security and build up the population's ability to cope with future droughts in the Horn of Africa, this year the European Commission launched "SHARE - Supporting Horn of Africa Resilience". SHARE is a joint humanitarian-development initiative to improve the ability of people, communities and countries to face persistent and acute emergencies.

    With a package of more than €270 million, SHARE is financing a variety of projects: from the treatment of severe malnutrition in infants to improved management of natural resources, livestock health and trade, agriculture (improved and adapted practices, small-scale irrigation), alternative income generating activities and basic services (water, sanitation).

    On October 3rd the Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, and the Commissioner for Humanitarian aid, International Cooperation and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, proposed a new initiative to help vulnerable communities across the world build resilience to future crises. The "EU Approach to Resilience" Communication draws lessons from recent food crises and outlines the measures which will help reduce their future impact.

    For more information

    The European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:

    Commissioner Georgieva's website:

    The Horn of Africa factsheet:

    Website on SHARE initiative:

    Website on Resilience:

    Communication "The EU Approach to Resilience: Learning from Food Security Crises":

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    Source:  UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country:  World, Afghanistan, Cameroon, Central African Republic (the), Chad, Colombia, Congo (the), Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (the), Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger (the), Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines (the), Sierra Leone, South Sudan (Republic of), Sri Lanka, Sudan (the), Syrian Arab Republic (the), Turkey, Yemen

    Responding to the Crisis in Syria

    Instability and conflict in Syria continue to affect hundreds of thousands of people. An estimated one million Syrians have been internally displaced, while the overall total affected population is estimated at up to 2.5 million.

    CERF has responded to the crisis with a total of US$30 million in 2012 – most recently with $16 million to FAO, UNICEF, UNRWA, UNHCR, WFP, UNFPA, IOM and WHO to enable a scaled-up response through provision of life-saving assistance in the areas of shelter, food, health, education, livelihoods, agriculture and water and sanitation. In 2012, $9 million has also been allocated to neighbouring countries affected by the conflict.

    New CERF Advisory Group Members

    The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced seven new members for the CERF Advisory Group. More than 30 nominations were received. The nominations were reviewed with a view to gender balance, broad geographic representation, and a healthy donor and recipient balance.

    The new members are Ms. Catherine Walker (Australia), Mr. Wenliang Yao (China), Ms. Nancy Butijer (Croatia), Mr. Mathewos Hunde (Ethiopia), Ms. Yuka Osa (Japan), Ms. Susan Eckey (Norway) and Ms. Susanna Moorehead (UK). The new members will participate in the next Advisory Group meeting in Geneva on 30 and 31 October.

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    Source:  ACT Alliance
    Country:  Burkina Faso

    Appeal Target: US$1,176,176 Balance Requested: US$346,252

    Geneva, 08 October 2012

    Dear Colleagues,

    This appeal has been revised to extend the implementation period for Christian Aid to 31st December 2012 and correct the errors on the Christian Aid budget.

    More than 19 million people in the Sahel region including 2.8 million from Burkina Faso are at risk of food insecurity according to FAO report1. The reason for this severe food crisis is not only caused by a prolonged drought and the subsequent severe decline of agricultural production but is also a consequence of high food prices, displacement and chronic poverty. The situation has been further worsened by the political instability in Mali and the influx of an estimated 65,0002 Malian refugees in Burkina Faso.

    To tackle the worsening food crisis in the country, ACT Forum members in Burkina Faso; the Association des Eglises Evangéliques Reformées du Burkina (AEERB), Christian Aid, Lutheran World Relief (LWR), ICCO&KerkinAktie, and Diakonia Sweden have assessed the overall situation and designed a coordinated emergency response appeal. The requesting members in the appeal are Diakonie Sweden and Christian Aid who will be working with local implementing partners to provide food and psychosocial support to affected people.

    The objectives of the appeal are: 1) to increase the food and nutritional accessibility for 42 751 persons and 2) to improve the living conditions of children refugees in Burkina by increasing their daily food intake and psychosocial care. A total of 58,000 people will benefit directly from the proposed emergency response.

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    Source:  Agence France-Presse
    Country:  Mali

    10/11/2012 17:00 GMT

    by Claire Rosemberg

    BRUSSELS, Oct 11, 2012 (AFP) - The EU is working on plans to help Mali's army oust rebels and Islamic extremists controlling the country's north, including the dispatch of 150 trainers, according to EU sources and a draft document obtained by AFP Thursday.

    "The situation in the Sahel is not looking good," said a senior EU official close to the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity. "If we don't take action it will only get worse."

    A two-page document detailing an EU response to the Mali crisis calls for "planning work on a potential military mission ... to be pursued and deepened urgently."

    The document, agreed by ambassadors of the 27-nation bloc, is to be put to foreign ministers meeting for talks in Luxembourg on Monday. "We need to be sure members states are on board before we go on," said another senior EU diplomat.

    European Union planning concerned "a crisis management concept relating to the reorganisation and training of the Malian defence forces," the document says.

    As France calls for international military intervention, sources said up to 150 military trainers could be involved in getting Malian forces into offensive mode.

    "We have an ungoverned space under the control of terrorists, with narco-trafficking and smuggling of all kinds," an EU official said. "A credible threat of force -- that is what is lacking."

    Different ideas are currently under examination ahead of Monday's Luxembourg talks, aimed at signing off on an accord before a key meeting in Bamako five days later.

    At those talks on October 19, members of the West African regional body ECOWAS, the African Union, the EU, the United Nations and Mali's neighbours are hoping to thrash out a political and military strategy to end the crisis.

    The most likely scenario will be the quick dispatch of some 150 senior army trainers, an EU official said.

    But another scenario is for sending EU instructors to work alongside the Mali military, Afghan-style, as its soldiers march north.

    "We need to offer swift training for the Malian army, and we need to act quickly," said a third EU source. "There has to be a military response... to gain reasonable control of the terrain."

    France has drawn up a UN Security Council resolution seeking a detailed plan within 30 days on an international military intervention following a formal request from the authorities in Bamako.

    The draft resolution by the formal colonial power also calls on UN member countries and organizations such as the EU to train and equip the Malian army to fight the rebel groups and fighters from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in the north.

    Both the French resolution and the EU proposals also demand political action, calling for the return of democracy and negotiations with the rebels to restore government in the north.

    In March, military putschists seized power in the capital Bamako, ousting President Amadou Toumani Toure, only to see the north and east fall to Tuareg rebels and militias linked to Al-Qaeda.

    In Bamako on Thursday, thousands took to the streets demanding armed intervention by a West African force to reconquer the north from the Islamists who have forced women to wear veils and destroyed ancient tombs as they impose Sharia law.


    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse

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    Source:  Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country:  Burkina Faso

    Millet, maize, and sorghum are the most important food commodities for household consumption. Millet is the staple of the most vulnerable households, while maize and sorghum also contribute to the food basket of a majority of all households. Sankaryare market is the largest and most important market in Ouagadougou and supplies other markets within the country and region. Koudougou is located in one of the most populated areas in the country, where a majority of households depend on the market for their food needs. Djibo is in the highly vulnerable Sahelian zone.

    Pouytenga is an assembly market for products from Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, and Togo. Solenzo is a rural market located in the middle of a surplus production zone. Bobo Dioulasso is important center for both consumption and production – it functions as both the economic capital of Burkina Faso and is located in an important cereal production zone.

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


    • Tchad : un nouveau financement de la BAD (Le Griot, 8 oct.)

    • Santé : L’UNFPA assiste le Gouvernement Tchadien dans la lutte contre la mortalité infantile (ATPE, 10 oct.)

    • Tchad - Les Etats-Unis offrent des équipements antiterroristes à l'armée tchadienne (Xinhua, 10 oct.)

    • Food security in 75% of African countries at high or extreme risk (Maplecroft, 10 Oct.)

    • Les combattants de l'ex-rébellion tchadienne rapatriés par la République centrafricaine (RFI, 8 oct.)

    • With zero reserves, UN refugee agency faces ‘unprecedented’ combination of crises (UN News Centre, 5 Oct.)

    • ALIMENTATION: Augmentation de la demande de céréales en Afrique (IRIN, 11 oct.)

    • Arche de Zoé: le Tchad continue de demander des réparations (L’Express, 11 oct.)

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    Source:  Christian Aid
    Country:  Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger (the)

    Christian Aid needs more funds to help us deliver emergency assistance in the Sahel region of west Africa, where over 19 million people are in the midst of a severe food crisis.

    Since we returned to supporters in mid August with a call for further support, the response has been enormously generous and we have received more than £525,000 in donations.

    This is helping us continue to support more than 214,000 people. But the situation remains severe for people across the region. Due to poor rains for several seasons, there is an overall cereal deficit across the Sahel.

    The rains have now arrived but intense rainfall has brought fresh misery to many, with flooding in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

    More than a million children across the region remain at risk of severe acute malnutrition and an estimated three million are at risk of moderate acute malnutrition.

    Ongoing insecurity

    In Mali and neighbouring countries, the situation has also been exacerbated by political instability and conflict.

    In March, junior officers from the Malian army launched a coup and took control of the country. Tuareg rebels and Islamist fighters took advantage of the confusion to seize large parts of the north of the country.

    Since then, more than 174,000 people have been displaced within Mali's borders and more than 250,000 refugees have fled to neighbouring countries, most of them moving to areas where food and pasture were already in short supply.

    The UN is currently deliberating on plans for an international intervention in which an African-led force would help the Malian army try to regain control of the north. But there are concerns that an escalation in conflict could, in the short term, exacerbate the food crisis by driving many more people from their homes.

    Our response

    We are bringing help to communities in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, some of the worst affected countries. Our immediate response involved sending funds to finance an urgent early intervention programme in those countries where we have long-term partners.

    And our resilience programmes will enable farmers to grow enough food for their families, despite the increasingly difficult weather conditions.

    This film, about an UKAid-funded project in Burkina Faso, reflects our long-term work with drought-threatened communities in the region.

    Our other activities include:

    Supplying improved seeds to communities in Burkina Faso to help them grow food despite the drought.

    Distributing rice and cereal for displaced families in Mali. Despite the conflict we are working successfully in communities badly hit by the shortages.

    Providing food and nutrition training to pregnant women and mothers of malnourished children in northern Niger, allowing them to have two meals a day for one month.

    Christian Aid is also now responding to the flooding, providing food, blankets and hygiene kits for those left homeless.

    And we are working with fellow NGOs in the Sahel Working Group (SWG), lobbying international bodies to release sufficient funds to tackle the crisis.

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    Source:  Government of Canada
    Country:  Senegal, Canada

    Dakar (Sénégal)

    Le gouvernement Harper du Canada est déterminé à lutter contre la faim et la malnutrition et à jeter les bases de la santé et de la prospérité dans les pays en développement. À cette fin, le 11 octobre 2012, le Premier ministre Stephen Harper a annoncé l'octroi de 20 millions de dollars sur trois ans (2012-2015) pour le projet intégré d'appui à la sécurité alimentaire et à la nutrition au Sénégal. Ce projet s'inscrit dans le prolongement d'un engagement antérieur, le projet d'appui à la sécurité alimentaire et à l'alimentation, pris en 2010, dans le cadre duquel 5 millions de dollars ont été versés sur deux ans pour réduire la malnutrition et la faim chronique.

    Au cours des dernières années, les crises alimentaires et nutritionnelles au Sénégal sont devenues plus fréquentes et plus graves, principalement en raison de précipitations sporadiques, de l'insuffisance des récoltes locales et du prix élevé des aliments. Cette situation a entraîné au sein de la population une diminution de la résilience et de la capacité à réagir à ce qui est en voie de devenir un problème récurrent. Au Sénégal, plus de 800 000 personnes, soit six pour cent de la population, risquent de souffrir de pénuries alimentaires. De ce nombre, 120 000 enfants de moins de cinq ans risquent de souffrir de malnutrition ou en souffrent à l'heure actuelle.

    Par l'entremise de l'Agence canadienne de développement international, le Canada apportera son soutien à ce projet en ayant recours et en assurant l'intégration de trois organismes clés : le Programme alimentaire mondial (PAM), l'Organisation pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture (FAO) et le Fonds des Nations Unies pour l'enfance (UNICEF). Chacun de ces organismes apportera son savoir-faire particulier dans les domaines de la production agricole, de la nutrition et de la distribution de nourriture, ce qui permettra d'offrir une réponse plus complète et plus efficace à cette situation complexe.

    En s'attaquant à l'insécurité alimentaire chronique qui existe au Sénégal, le projet intégré d'appui à la sécurité alimentaire et à la nutrition sert de complément à l'aide humanitaire vitale que le gouvernement du Canada a récemment fournie dans la région du Sahel. Ce projet entraînera une amélioration en matière de nutrition et de sécurité alimentaire dans les régions les plus vulnérables du Sénégal, particulièrement pour les femmes et les enfants. Il permettra d'accroître la production agricole dans des régions menacées par l'insécurité alimentaire; de donner accès à des denrées alimentaires de base aux populations des zones vulnérables; d'améliorer l'accès aux services de prévention en matière de malnutrition chronique et aux services thérapeutiques dans les régions vulnérables; d'améliorer l'accès à des semences de qualité; et d'améliorer les pratiques agricoles actuelles. Le projet aidera le Sénégal à composer avec la crise alimentaire et nutritionnelle actuelle, tout en aidant la population à acquérir la résilience nécessaire pour affronter les futures crises.

    En avril 2011, le Canada a été le premier pays à s'acquitter intégralement de l'engagement pris au Sommet du G 8 à L'Aquila et à verser 1,18 milliard de dollars pour le développement agricole durable. Le Canada a présidé les négociations entourant la nouvelle Convention relative à l'assistance alimentaire, laquelle a permis de réunir les principaux donateurs d'aide alimentaire et de les amener à s'engager dans la lutte mondiale contre la faim. Fort de ce leadership du Canada, le Premier ministre a annoncé, lors du Sommet du G 8 de Camp David en mai 2012, l'octroi de 219 millions de dollars sur trois ans à la Nouvelle Alliance pour la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition du G-8.

    La sécurité alimentaire constitue une priorité du Canada dans l'aide internationale qu'il apporte, et nous continuons d'appuyer plusieurs autres initiatives visant à améliorer la situation à cet égard. En juin 2012, lors du Sommet du G 20 tenu à Los Cabos, le Premier ministre Harper a annoncé l'appui du Canada à AgRésultats – une initiative novatrice qui vise à améliorer la sécurité alimentaire dans les pays en développement, en étroite collaboration avec le secteur privé.

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    Source:  European Union
    Country:  Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia (the), Mauritania, Niger (the), Senegal

    The EU has a comprehensive approach to the crisis in the Sahel region. In March 2011, the Council welcomed the presentation of an EU Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel. This strategy is based on the assumptions that development and security are interconnected and can be mutually supportive and that the complex crisis in the Sahel requires a regional answer. On 23 July, the Council adopted conclusions aimed at accelerating the implementation of this strategy.

    The EU is concerned by the deteriorating political, security, humanitarian and human rights situation in the Sahel region since early 2000. This situation predates the Libyan crisis, but was further exacerbated by its consequences.

    In this context, the EU Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel, which is currently being implemented in Mauritania, Niger and Mali, has proven a useful tool to enhance the coherence of the EU approach to the crisis. The EU has allocated over € 660 million to the region under the 10th European Development Fund (2007-2013). In the framework of its Sahel strategy; the EU has further mobilised additional financial resources for development and security related projects worth € 167 million along the four lines of action of the strategy:

    (i) Development, good governance and internal conflict resolution;
    (ii) Political and diplomatic action;
    (iii) Security and the rule of law; and
    (iv) Countering violent extremism and radicalisation.

    Since fighting erupted in early 2012 in northern Mali, groups of various affiliations – most of them with well documented links to Al-Qaida – are expanding their influence and establishing safe havens for terrorist and criminal activities. Violence has forced 446,000 Malians to flee their homes and further aggravated the food crisis. More than 18 million people are at risk of hunger throughout the Sahel region. In this context, the European Commission committed € 172 million under its humanitarian aid budget and launched an international partnership for resilience in the Sahel region (Alliance Globale pour l'Initiative Resilience - AGIR).

    On 23 July 2012, the Foreign Affairs Council expressed its alarm at the deteriorating situation in Mali and its adverse impact on regional and international peace and stability. It invited the EU High Representative and the European Commission to make proposals with a view to a gradual resumption of development cooperation partly suspended following the military coup of 22 March and to possible support for a well-prepared ECOWAS stabilisation force in Mali, under the mandate of the UN Security Council and in coordination with the African Union, as well as support to ECOWAS mediation efforts.

    Though the EU development assistance to Mali was put on hold, the EU has showed determination to enhance its humanitarian aid and direct support to the population of Mali. In the framework of the Strategy, the EU also launched a new civilian CSDP mission "EUCAP SAHEL" in July 2012 in order to contribute to the fight against crime and terrorism in Niger and abroad. Liaison Officers were deployed to Nouakchott (Mauritania) and Bamako (Mali).

    The EU is committed to contributing actively to a peaceful and credible transition process in Mali and to long-lasting solutions to the security crisis in northern Mali and in the Sahel region across the board, in close coordination with other regional and international stakeholders.

    Diplomatic efforts with national, regional and international stakeholders
    The EU pursues diplomatic efforts with national, regional and international stakeholders who have an interest in resolving the crisis in the Sahel region. The EU is in constant dialogue at the highest level with the authorities in charge of the political transition in Mali.

    The EU is in favour of an enhanced international coordination and considers that the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy Mr Romano Prodi should play an important role to this end. President Van Rompuy participated in the High Level Meeting on Sahel organised in the margins of the UN General Assembly on 26 September 2012.

    The EU is a core member of the international Support and Follow Up Group on the situation in Mali co-chaired by the African Union and the UN. The EU has also strong working relations with ECOWAS and Algeria and Mauritania who are not members of the group.

    Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) civilian mission "EUCAP SAHEL iger" The EU launched a civilian CSDP mission EUCAP SAHEL in Niger in July 2012 with the objective to fight terrorism and organised crime. Over its initial 2 years mandate, the mission will aim at:

    (a) Advising and assisting in the implementation of the security dimension of the Nigerien Strategy for Security and Development at national level, with other actors,
    (b) Supporting regional and international coordination in the fight against terrorism and organised crime,
    (c) Strengthening the rule of law through the development of the criminal investigation capacities and adequate training programmes,
    (d) Enhancing the sustainability of Nigerien Security Forces (Gendarmerie, Garde Nationale and Police Nationale),
    (e) Contributing to the identification, planning and implementation of projects in the security field.

    With an annual budget of € 8.7 million, the mission will rely by December 2012 on 50 international police and military experts under the authority of the Head of Mission, Colonel Francisco Espinosa Navas. A coordination mechanism between the mission and the relevant ministries is already in place under the auspices of the Prime Minister. Particular attention will be given to synergies with other EU and bilateral projects funded through the European Development Fund, the European Commission Instrument for Stability or by EU member states.

    Liaison Officers have already been already deployed to Bamako and Nouakchott, to foster regional cooperation between the security forces of Niger, Mali and Mauritania in their fight against terrorism and organised crime, as well as to explore the opportunity to propose future actions at the request of relevant national authorities.

    Response to the food crisis and long-term food insecurity in the Sahel region
    The Western Sahel region suffers from chronic food insecurity, linked to national under-production, increase of food prices on international markets or local agricultural over-production which causes rapid price fluctuations. Some specific areas are constantly suffering from food insecurity. In the countries of the Sahel (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) acute malnutrition rates are persistently above the internationally recognised alert threshold of 10% Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rate. An estimated 226,000 children in average die because of malnutrition or directly related causes every year, whether or not there is a crisis.

    The 2012 crisis had a bigger than usual impact in a large number of countries across the Sahel region, including the northern zones of some coastal countries in West Africa.

    The difficulties to secure adequate food supply and decent income in the Sahel region are due to:

    · Climate change and ecosystem degradation increase the unpredictability of rainfall.
    · Population growth is among the highest in the world (on average, the population of the Sahel doubles every 25 years). This increases pressure on natural resources and food supply.
    · Chronic poverty. The Sahel states rank at the bottom of the 2011 UN Human Development Index (Niger ranks 186, Burkina Faso 181, Chad 183, Mali 175 and Mauritania 159 out of the 187 countries listed).
    · Regional economic disparity (between Sahel countries and coastal countries) and low resistance to external economic shocks (e.g. the food price crisis of 2008) contribute significantly to the fragility of the Sahel. As a result, food insecurity in the Sahel is primarily a matter of income and not production. For example, Senegal, which imports nearly half of its food consumption needs, is less food insecure than Niger. As another example, widespread lack of economic access to basic healthcare contributes substantially to malnutrition among children under five and pregnant and breastfeeding women.

    · Weakness of public finances and national institutions in some countries hampers adequate responses to the increasing frequency of crises that affects the region. However, large-scale funding by donors, including the European Commission, has contributed to some improvements in recent years.

    The on-going emergency and the recurrent nature of the crisis in the Sahel call for both an immediate response to help the people in need and a long-term strategy to reduce the chronic risks of food security and strengthen people's resilience.

    Humanitarian aid
    The Commission allocated a total of € 172 million of humanitarian aid to respond to the crisis in the Sahel region in 2012.

    To reinforce the capacities of the countries to cope with the present situation, the EU has adopted a three-phased approach based on close coordination between international humanitarian, development aid agencies and national governments. The main phases and their timeframe for the 2012 crisis are 'mitigation and preparedness' (November 2011 – February 2012), 'emergency response' (March – September 2012) and ‘recovery/resilience building’ (after September 2012).

    Long-term EU development response
    In addition to humanitarian support, the EU is operating development programmes, funded through the EU budget and the European Development Fund. Projects for over € 200 million are currently on-going or planned in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Chad.

    Due to the aggravation of the food crisis the European Commission decided to allocate an additional € 164.5 million. It will be divided between six countries in the West Africa region as follows: Mauritania (€ 13 million), Burkina Faso (€ 17 million), Mali (€ 15 million), Niger (€42.5 million), Chad (€ 35 million), Senegal (€ 5 million) and other West African regional initiatives (€ 38 million).

    The EU will continue and intensify the work it has been carrying out in the region: strengthening resilience, working on the root causes of malnutrition, improving the functioning of regional markets, and increasing the regional and national capacity to reduce the risks of disasters.

    More Information:

    EU Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel

    CSDP civilian mission "EUCAP SAHEL Niger"

    Response to the food crisis and long-term food insecurity in the Sahel region of Africa

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    Source:  European Union
    Country:  Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Niger (the)

    L’UE a adopté une approche globale face à la crise au Sahel. En mars 2011, le Conseil a accueilli favorablement la présentation d'une stratégie de l’Union européenne pour la sécurité et le développement dans la région du Sahel, qui repose sur deux postulats: premièrement, développement et sécurité sont étroitement liés et peuvent se renforcer mutuellement et, deuxièmement, la crise complexe qui frappe le Sahel appelle une réponse régionale. Le 23 juillet, le Conseil a adopté des conclusions visant à accélérer la mise en œuvre de cette stratégie.

    L’UE est préoccupée par la dégradation de la situation politique et humanitaire, la détérioration des conditions de sécurité et le recul des droits de l'homme dans la région du Sahel depuis le début de l’année 2000. Cette situation, bien qu’antérieure à la crise libyenne, se trouve aggravée par les conséquences de celle-ci.

    Dans ce contexte, la stratégie de l’Union européenne pour la sécurité et le développement au Sahel, actuellement mise en œuvre en Mauritanie, au Niger et au Mali, s'est avérée utile pour renforcer la cohérence de l’approche adoptée par l’UE face à la crise. L’UE a alloué plus de 660 000 000 EUR à la région au titre du 10 e Fonds européen de développement (2007-2013). Dans le cadre de sa stratégie pour le Sahel, elle a mobilisé des ressources financières supplémentaires pour des projets en rapport avec le développement et la sécurité. Dotés d'un budget de 167 000 000 EUR, ceux-ci s’articulent autour des quatre grands axes de la stratégie:

    i) développement, bonne gouvernance et résolution des conflits internes;
    ii) action politique et diplomatique;
    iii) sécurité et État de droit; et
    iv) lutte contre l'extrémisme violent et la radicalisation.

    Depuis les affrontements qui ont éclaté au début de 2012 dans le nord du Mali, des groupes d'affiliations diverses - dont la plupart entretiennent des liens avérés avec Al-Qaida - étendent leur influence et créent des zones de refuge pour des activités terroristes et criminelles. Les violences ont contraint 446 000 Maliens à fuir leur foyer et ont encore aggravé la crise alimentaire. La famine menace plus de 18 millions de personnes dans toute la région du Sahel. Dans ce contexte, la Commission européenne a engagé 172 000 000 EUR sur son budget «aide humanitaire» et a lancé un partenariat international pour la résilience au Sahel (Alliance globale pour l'initiative Résilience – AGIR).

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    Source:  Government of Canada
    Country:  Senegal, Canada

    11 October 2012 Dakar, Senegal

    The Government of Canada is committed to combating hunger and malnutrition and creating the basis for health and prosperity in developing countries. To this end, on October 11, 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced $20 million over three years (2012-2015) to the Integrated Support to Food Security and Nutrition project in Senegal. This project builds on a previous commitment, the Support To Food Security and Nutrition Project in Senegal, made in 2010 which provided $5 million over two years to reduce undernourishment and chronic hunger.

    Food and nutrition crises in Senegal have grown in frequency and severity in recent years, mostly driven by sporadic rainfall, insufficient local harvests, and high food prices. As a result, people's resilience has been eroded, undermining their ability to respond to what is becoming a recurrent challenge. In Senegal, over 800,000 people, or six percent of the population, are at risk of suffering from food shortages, including 120,000 children under five who are at risk of suffering or currently suffering from malnutrition.

    Through the Canadian International Development Agency, Canada's support for this project will tap into and integrate the strengths of three key agencies: the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Each agency will bring its specific expertise in the areas of agricultural production, nutrition and food distribution, resulting in a more comprehensive and effective response to this complex situation.

    The Integrated Support to Food Security and Nutrition project complements the Government of Canada's recent life-saving humanitarian assistance to the Sahel region by addressing chronic food insecurity in Senegal. This project will improve nutrition and food security in the most vulnerable areas of Senegal, especially for women and children. It will increase agricultural production in areas at risk of food insecurity; provide access to basic food commodities by the local populations in vulnerable areas; provide increased access to chronic malnutrition prevention and therapeutic services in vulnerable areas; increase access to quality seeds; and enhance current agricultural practices. The project will help Senegal deal with the current food and nutrition crisis, while helping them to build the resilience to face future crises.

    In April 2011, Canada was the first country to fully meet its G-8 L'Aquila commitment and disburse $1.18 billion for sustainable agricultural development. Canada chaired the adoption of a new Food Assistance Convention which brought together the leading food aid donors to commit to global response to hunger. Building on this Canadian leadership, at the G-8 Camp David Summit in May 2012, the Prime Minister announced $219 million, over three years, as part of the G-8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.

    As a thematic priority for our international assistance, Canada continues to support several other initiatives to improve food security. At the June 2012 G-20 Summit in Los Cabos, Prime Minister Harper announced Canadian support for AgResults – an innovative initiative which aims to improve food security in developing countries in close cooperation with the private sector.

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    Source:  Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country:  Burkina Faso, Mali

    Improved Food Situation, Good Harvest Prospects

    Key Messages

    • Crop development is above average for this time period throughout the country, due to regular rainfall since the third dekad of July and no major crop disease or pest problems. Preliminary estimates issued in August by the Ministry of Agriculture’s Department of Agricultural Statistics forecast potential cereal production at 7 percent to 17 percent higher than the five-year average.

    • Consumer and producer cereal prices remained stable in comparison to the previous month. However, they were higher than last year (by 23 to 60 percent) and higher than the five-year average (by 36 to 59 percent). Prices are expected to follow seasonal trends and drop gradually as the new harvests come in and traders sell their stocks.

    • The food situation of poor households is gradually improving with the arrival of newly harvested foods and the continuation of food aid. However until the main harvest at the end of September, most poor households in the country’s northern, north-central and eastern livelihood zones will remain at the Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity levels.

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    Source:  World Concern
    Country:  Somalia, Kenya

    Note: This article was originally published on the Huffington Post Impact X blog on Oct. 10, 2012.

    Getting food into the hands of the hungry in the Horn of Africa is about to go high tech. Seattle-based humanitarian organization World Concern is piloting a new mobile phone app in the drought-stricken region, aiming to streamline the process of tracking food distributed to hungry families and payment to local merchants.

    World Concern has been distributing food and emergency supplies to families affected by the Horn of Africa drought since July 2011. As famine spread throughout the region, aid organizations struggled to reach millions of people, especially those living in southern Somalia. World Concern distributed vouchers to hungry families who were able to purchase food from local merchants. The system supports the local economy and helps ensure food reaches those in greatest need.

    This method has been extremely effective, even in dangerous and hard-to-reach places. More than 30,000 vouchers have been distributed so far, each representing a two-week supply of rations for a family of six.

    The new mobile app allows field staff to use a tool they are already carrying (a mobile phone) to record data in the field (instead of a pencil and paper), and negates the need for re-entry into a computer at a later date. This saves time and reduces the risk of errors.

    The system tracks beneficiaries and the food they receive via bar codes that are scanned into a mobile phone. Merchants have an I.D. card with a barcode, which is also scanned so they can be paid via wire transfer almost instantly.

    The mobile app was developed by Seattle start up ScanMyList, whose founder, Scott Dyer, created a mobile application to help retail businesses track inventory. When Dyer saw one of World Concern’s vouchers, he realized the same system could help the humanitarian organization reach people during a disaster more efficiently and track aid more accurately.

    Dyer traveled to the Horn of Africa with World Concern to kick off the pilot program, which will put the new technology into action in the field this month, as 4,000 food vouchers are distributed in Eastern Kenya and Southern Somalia.

    “Not many people can say they’ve birthed an idea and seen it to fruition,” said Dyer. “It’s super exciting.”

    The real brain behind this technology is the custom database, which is not only programmed to receive data from mobile phones, but to “think” about what it receives. The database will identify possible duplicate entries, flag significant variations in data, and crosscheck entry errors. Then, the database is programmed to generate custom reports in real time. World Concern staff can view these on a website, seeing exactly how many meals are distributed immediately.

    “This technology will enable our staff to report on their life-saving distribution in real-time, increasing our ability to respond to immediate needs as they arise,” said Chris Sheach, deputy director of disaster response for World Concern.

    While the “famine” has officially ended in the Horn, the long-term effects of such a severe drought and crisis will be experienced for many years to come. As NGOs shift our response from disaster to development—teaching pastoralists who lost their herds to farm and other forms of livelihood diversification—there are still many hungry people to feed. This new technology will enable us to do this even more quickly and efficiently. It can also be used in other types of disasters, particularly in cash-for-work programs.

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    Source:  Agence France-Presse
    Country:  Mali

    10/11/2012 20:20 GMT

    BAMAKO, Oct 11, 2012 (AFP) - Several thousand people marched in Mali's capital Bamako on Thursday to call for armed intervention by a West African regional force to help wrest back the vast north of the country from armed Islamist groups.

    The demonstrators carried banners and placards supporting the Malian army, Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is preparing to send troops if it gets the backing of the United Nations and Western countries.

    The rally in the city centre came as France and its United Nations partners pressed ECOWAS and the African Union to come up within 30 days with proposals to reconquer Mali's north, an area the size of Texas or France.

    Additionally, according to European Union sources and a document obtained by AFP on Thursday, the EU is working on plans to help Mali's army, including the dispatch of 150 trainers.

    "We have an ungoverned space under the control of terrorists, with narco-trafficking and smuggling of all kinds," an EU official said. "A credible threat of force -- that is what is lacking."

    At the Bamako rally, protesters urged Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo and other troops to the front lines. Sanogo led the March 22 coup that toppled president Amadou Toumani Toure and caused chaos, opening the way for the Islamists, including Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), who are applying hardline Islamic sharia law in northern cities under their control.

    Sanogo ceded power in April, but remains influential in Bamako, where his men are accused of many human rights abuses.

    "The place of the soldiers is at the front, all the military must go there," one demonstrator said.

    Another said, "I back the Malian army, the arrival of ECOWAS troops, I want intervention."

    Many marchers emphasised the secular nature of the sub-Saharan country, criticising Islamists for their radical stance and for punishments they have meted out to civilians, such as death by stoning for an unwed couple and amputations for theft.

    Other slogans and banners targeted Tuareg rebels of the separatist National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA), which launched an offensive in the north in January.

    At first allied to the Islamists, the MNLA was swiftly overpowered and sidelined by them.

    Some banners said there should be "No independence, no self-determination" for the Tuaregs, after the MNLA initially proclaimed independence in northern Mali before the Islamists took over. Demonstrators stressed the unity of the country.

    "If nothing is done in coming days, the existence of our country will be in danger," said a statement by march organisers.

    "To fail to help Mali will be a serious error on the part of the African and international community in the face of history ... a crime of non-assistance to a people in danger," the text added.

    A draft resolution proposed by France aims to bring about "detailed recommendations" and an "operational concept" ahead of any military operation in a sensitive part of Africa, amid fears that Mali could become a base for AQIM and traffickers of various kinds.

    French President Francois Hollande said Thursday that diplomatic solutions had come up short, a day after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged for dialogue.

    "Dialogue with whom? With AQIM? Can you imagine there ever being any conversations that would be useful?" Hollande said in televised comments.

    As France calls for military intervention to return the north to government control, EU nations are considering proposals that include sending scores of military trainers to whip the Malian military into offensive mode.

    Bamako has officially called on the United Nations to hand down a mandate for an international force in Mali.

    Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird meanwhile told reporters in Paris that he was worried Mali could go the way of Afghanistan.

    "Terrorism is the great struggle of our generation," Baird said after meeting his French counterpart Laurent Fabius.

    "We must not allow the same problems that the world allowed to happen in Afghanistan to show their face in the Saharan region and Mali," he said.


    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse

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