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  • 12/06/12--09:31: Mali: Moving Mali forward
  • Source: Christian Science Monitor
    Country: Mali

    Mali was turned upside down last spring as armed groups overran the north and the military toppled the president. For some, crisis is a wake-up call, offering Malians a chance to create a new path.

    Read the full report on the Christian Science Monitor.

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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic (the), Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the), occupied Palestinian territory, Philippines (the), Somalia, Sudan (the), World, Yemen, Zimbabwe, South Sudan (Republic of)

    Humanitarian action in 2013 aims to deliver aid to at least 51 million people in 16 countries who desperately need life-saving assistance. Hundreds of international aid organisations and their counterparts in the affected countries have come together to share and analyse information on humanitarian needs, to make a unified strategic response plan, and to organise implementation so as to deliver aid as effectively as possible to those most in need. Delivering emergency aid is a vital contribution of the international humanitarian community in situations where national government capacity is stretched.

    These people in need may be displaced from their homes and cut off from their livelihoods. They may have lost access to essential services—health care, physical security, education. They may be re-settling in their communities after displacement but without shelter, safe water sources and sanitation, livelihoods, and other means for survival. Poor harvests, loss of livestock, and other stresses may have made them unable to feed their children or care for their elderly. The humanitarian imperative is to meet all of these needs—thespecific needs of women, girls, boys and men—plus take every opportunity to help people restore their self-sufficiency, security and dignity.

    International humanitarian actors are the outermost circle of help for these people. Neighbours, communities, civil society organizations, businesses, local and national governments, and diasporas are almost always the first responders and, throughout a protracted crisis, the most important providers of aid. Governments’ ability to respond has been strengthening over the last decades, with efforts to reinforce preparedness and response capacity. The international humanitarian system recognizes this central role that affected people, local communities, and a range of other local actors have in coping with a crisis, supporting each other, and rebuilding their lives. International humanitarians supplement and support these main providers of aid.

    The circle of international humanitarian action is widening: implementing organizations and donors from many regions are now more recognized for the scale and success of their contributions, which were so evident in the response to the Horn of Africa famine in 2011. As there is no let-up in humanitarian needs around the world—and indeed a prospect of deepening needs if climate trends continue—the full capacity of all parts of the international humanitarian system will be tested and new ways of working need to be developed: new partners, innovative ways of responding, better early warning and early action, preparedness, and faster recovery to limit interruptions to development.

    Coordinated humanitarian methods will continue to improve in 2013, building on recent experience in the consolidated appeal process and the Transformative Agenda. Needs assessments will be further harmonized, and the results jointly analysed so as to enable planning based on a clear quantitative and qualitative understanding of the needs and priorities of all segments of the affected communities. Common strategic planning and budgeting will be further strengthened to provide a clearer framework for programme and project planning. Consolidated appeals will draw on the plans to advocate funding at the required levels. The gender marker will continue to be used to improve impact of response. Strategic objectives and indicators will be monitored and reported on more systematically, to support informed decision-making by humanitarian leaders.

    To achieve the humanitarian objectives in these major crises in 2013, voluntary contributions amounting to US$ 8.5 billion will be necessary.

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    Source: ALIMA
    Country: Niger (the)

    En dépit des grands efforts qui sont faits pour prendre en charge les aspects alimentaires et nutritionnels de la crise au Sahel, plusieurs maladies telles que le paludisme continuent de tuer. Le risque est d’autant plus important que la détérioration de l’état nutritionnel d’un enfant de moins de cinq ans le fragilise gravement. Une prise en charge intégrée du paludisme est donc nécessaire afin de réduire significativement le taux de mortalité des enfants de moins de 5 ans.

    Alima et BEFEN interviennent depuis 2009 au Niger. Ils gèrent actuellement deux projets médico-nutritionnels ciblant les enfants de moins de 5 ans : un à Dakoro dans la région de Maradi et un à Mirriah dans la région de Zinder. La région de Zinder est la région la plus fortement touchée par le paludisme (WHO maps of malaria prevalence in Niger, 2010).

    Les équipes d’Alima et BEFEN débutent un nouveau projet de dépistage et de prise en charge du paludisme à Mirriah afin de réduire son impact : environ 120 509 cas de paludisme ont été enregistrés dans cette zone en 2010 et 93 000 en 2011.

    D’une durée de 5 mois, ce projet est financé par The ELMA Relief Foundation ( et permettra de prendre en charge 40 000 cas de paludisme simple, confirmés par des tests de diagnostic rapide, et 1 200 cas de paludismes compliqués qui nécessitent une hospitalisation.

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    Source: Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de I'Homme
    Country: Mali

    How has the situation evolved in the North of Mali these past few months?

    The situation in the North of Mali remains practically unchanged for us. From a humanitarian perspective, I’ve just been informed that since the establishment of the corridor many families in the North of Mali haven’t received a single grain of rice.

    Also, the right to education is non-existent as schools have closed. The right to health is also violated; there are no more specialists in the hospitals. The elderly and patients with diabetes or hypertension lack proper care and their health is deteriorating.

    The Sharia continues to be enforced in Gao and in Timbuktu. There is no more freedom of movement. People cannot go about their business. Men and women walking together are systematically asked whether they are married.

    For all these reasons, we believe that the situation in northern Mali has not really changed.

    What is the balance of power between the different factions in the north at this time?

    In northern Mali, the Unicity Movement and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao) and ‘Ansar Dine’(Defender of Islam) are currently the main movements. Mujao is composed of some Arab militia fighters and some Songhai combatants. They are currently occupying Gao and Timbuktu.

    Ansar Dine is only based in Kidal.

    Near Gao, in particular in the Menaka circle, elements of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) are also present. They are also located on the Algerian and Burkinabé borders.

    Of these three forces, we can say that the most dominant today is Mujao.

    How do these different factions affect people’s lives? Earlier you spoke of obstacles to the freedom of movement, etc ... Do you have other examples?

    Summary executions are still perpetrated. The AMDH Gao section has just reported to me that in Menaka, a young man was shot dead by members of the MNLA for refusing to give them his mobile phone. Many examples of this kind have been reported in the Gao region.

    The MNLA was defeated (by Mujao) in the city of Gao. Their men have withdrawn to the outskirts of the city and are now attacking peaceful fishermen and farmers in order to survive.

    Regardless of this, the Sharia remains in force in the Gao and Timbuktu regions. And although amputations have ceased, severe curtailments on liberty amount to overwhelming deprivation of freedom.

    Do you know why amputations aren’t taking place anymore?

    Because the population rose up against them; the youth in Gao and Timbuktu began to protest against these amputations and against restrictions on their liberties a few months ago. They stopped the amputations, but people still can’t watch television or smoke cigarettes. They are prisoners. Nevertheless, the population is organising itself, and discussing ways to counter these impostors.

    Also, we are seeing a very worrisome phenomenon: the Mujao is recovering ground. It is trying to bribe imams with money in order to get them to explain to young people that Sharia is compatible with the culture of the North and the deprivation of civil liberties.

    Do you have any information about how these young people and women are gathering or organising themselves to denounce violations and ensure that they diminish or cease?

    We are talking about spontaneous uprisings. People truly have had enough. But it seems that these uprisings were driven by members of the Songhai ethnic group. They are the ones who told people they had to prevent the executions and the deprivation of liberty.

    Do these uprisings persist to this day?**

    These movements are relatively new. But, as I said, the Mujao is trying to undermine the youth by bribing them, sometimes using imams as intermediaries. This is causing division, destroying relationships between young people and weakening their movement.

    If a young person is able to mobilize their entire neighborhood against the present forces, then the Mujao just have to go and see this person’s parents and give them a lot of money to keep them quiet. The money used is money obtained by Mujao through liberating the Spanish hostages.

    The recent FIDH and AMDH report "War crimes in northern Mali" emphasized the presence of vigilante groups and armed militias created or reactivated during the crisis. These groups defend their populations or ethnic groups and have in some cases been responsible for violations against the civilian Tuareg population in the regions of Timbuktu and Gao. Do you have any information about these events?

    These groups have almost all disbanded and are now located near Mopti and Douentza, the buffer zone between the occupied areas and southern Mali. The militias currently present in the north are almost all Arab militias, who are very close to the Mujao. They are the ones supplying men to the Mujao.

    The vigilante groups referred to, which initially automatically defended black people and often attacked small Tuareg camps, have disappeared from the north of Mali and are now in the south.

    One of our sections in the north has begun an investigation concerning these vigilante groups because we had actually heard that they had committed atrocities in the course of protecting their ethnic groups . If abuses were indeed committed, our section has unfortunately not yet been able to accurately document them due to the deterioration of the situation in this area.

    As you can see in the report, we approached the leaders of the Songhai vigilante groups and they told us that the camps they had attacked were military camps and that they had considered the people there to be combatants and not civilians. We have not really been able to deepen this inquiry, but our sections are on site and trying to clarify the position further. This is not easy whilst the Mujao occupy the land.

    On 18 July, the Malian government seized the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open an investigation. Has there been any advancement in this case?

    Everyone in Mali is worried about this; they think that the matter won’t be followed up. After the referral, the prosecutor sent a team of analysts to interview almost all of Mali’s civil society sector. They were also able to reach some victims of rape and abuse. The ICC delegation did not make ​​it to the North but rather went to the south, to the refugee camps.

    However, since the departure of this delegation the status quo has persisted. It is now time for this procedure to be reactivated if hearts are to be emptied of resentment. Everyone in Mali, especially those in the north, want justice to be done.

    It is important that the ICC gets to grips with the fight against impunity in Mali before the people of the North decide to take justice into their own hands.

    Has the government of unity taken concrete steps to fight impunity outwith its referral to the ICC?

    In the south of the country, the justice system is trying to do its job. Indeed, whenever we learn of cases of torture, we inform the Ministry of Justice. Attacks on journalists and citizens are systematically subject to investigation in Bamako. However, most of the time these cases are not followed up. Is this due to a lack of political will? Are judges afraid? It is hard to say, but every time we, as human rights defenders, question them on progress in these cases, they say they are doing what they can.

    The Ministry of Justice has set up a commission to document human rights violations, of which AMDH is a member. This commission is currently investigating in the south and every month a meeting is held at the office of the Minister to review the information collected.

    What conditions are your sections in the North working in?

    From a security point of view, the situation is very complicated. For instance, when MNLA was still in Gao, they went to collect our representative after he made a declaration on RFI (French International Radio) condemning atrocities committed in the city.

    Our desk in Bamako continues to send mission orders to our sections in the North to check and obtain information from the ground. We are regularly in contact with them, which allows us to check facts and to rule out rumours.

    The UN Security Council should come to a decision concerning an international intervention in the coming days. What is your opinion on this issue?

    I think that such an intervention is exceedingly welcomed, even if collateral damage is inevitable. And it must be carried out soon, because as I was saying, Mujao is taking over and corrupting the population. Indeed, weddings are being organised between Mujao members and civilians.

    This intervention should not start in Gao or Timbuktu, but in Kidal or Tessalit, because that is where Ansar Dine has concentrated its forces. It has also been joined by some MNLA fighters who have switched sides.

    If the intervention starts in Kidal, there will be less damage because fighter positions are much more visible. In Gao and Timbuktu, however, fighter positions are right in the middle of the population.

    It is definitely time to act. In Timbuktu, Mujao has created jails for women where they are raped every night. Women are sent to these prisons because they were not wearing the veil or because they were wearing trousers. Intervention is necessary to end such acts of barbarity.

    Also, food and medical aid does not really get to Gao and Timbuktu and only a small part of the population has access to it. If this lasts, populations will be forced to ally with Mujao simply to survive because the Mujao are the one who control all the aid. And this is highly worrying.

    Ansar Dine and Mujao have also been recruiting children. This is how they proceed: they come to see you at home and offer you money to teach the Koran to your children. If you don’t accept, then they cut off your allowance.

    We are talking of 10 to 12 year old boys, who, once enrolled, can’t even hold their gun. In Gao and Timbuktu, you can see them among armed groups. They also offer money to marry young girls. This is a well-tried strategy which establishes ties between the locals and the armed groups. This could compromise the success of any military intervention, if it comes too late.

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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Chad, Sudan (the)

    1. SUMMARY

    Despite recent political upheavals in Libya and neighbouring countries across the Sahel, Chad is on a steady path to sustainable recovery and stabilization.

    Favourable rain patterns in the Sahel in 2012 are expected to yield better agricultural production in 2013. However, given the severe food-insecurity trends of 2012, the 1.8 million people who were food-insecure will now need assistance to recover sustainably and protect their livelihoods.
    The situation will require close monitoring, and a targeted response is needed for the food-security and nutritional needs of vulnerable communities.

    Chad avoided a cholera epidemic in 2012 (whereas in 2011, about 17,000 cases were reported, including 455 deaths). However, given the recurring nature of such epidemics, prevention and preparedness are priorities. In 2012, there was a resurgence of other diseases, including poliomyelitis and measles, and a spike in malaria and other water-related diseases linked with a severe rainy season.

    Floods affected more than 560,000 people in 2012, of whom thousands were displaced. This will likely have a lasting impact on short- and medium-term livelihoods in affected areas in 2013. A combination of actions is needed to increase communities‘ capacity to manage the negative impact of future floods and avoid damage to residential areas and crops near riverbeds. This will involve collaboration among national authorities, the humanitarian community and the private sector.

    Following the Libya crisis, more than 90,000 Chadian migrant workers returned to areas of origin or settled in transit zones, mostly in Faya Largeau and around Bourkou, Ennedi, Tibesti and the Sahel belt. These areas are already at high risk of food insecurity. There are still 288,457 Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad and 58,197 Central African refugees in the south, plus 537 urban refugees in N‘Djamena. An estimated 91,000 former IDPs have returned to their areas of origin, but 90,000 are still displaced. The lack of basic social services and the absence of rule of law in return areas need to be addressed using a multi-sectoral approach that includes capacity-building of local authorities and establishing conflict-resolution mechanisms to avoid intracommunity disputes. The Early Recovery Cluster is a key forum for supporting such holistic strategies.

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    Source: NATO Civil-Military Fusion Centre
    Country: Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Morocco, occupied Palestinian territory, Somalia, Sudan (the), Tunisia, South Sudan (Republic of)

    This document provides an overview of developments in the Mediterranean Basin and other regions of interest from 13 November—03 December, with hyperlinks to source material highlighted and underlined in the text. For more information on the topics below or other issues pertaining to the region, please contact the members of the Med Basin Team, or visit our website at


    In Focus 1

    North Africa 2

    Northeast Africa 4

    Horn of Africa 6

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    Source: Inter Press Service
    Country: Mauritania

    By Mohamed Abderrahmane

    NOUAKCHOTT, Dec 6 2012 (IPS) - Cattle herder Mohamed Ould Bouthiah has seen the future, and he likes what he sees. “Five of my cows are crossbreeds with a European variety, and those five together produce 80 litres of milk a day.”

    Bouthiah, 50, says that with a herd of 150 of the local breed of cows, he could only produce 320 litres of milk per day on his farm in Rosso, in the south of Mauritania, but he could produce the same with just 20 of the hybrid cattle.

    “Genetic improvement is the best way to promote cattle rearing, because I can turn a profit with a smaller herd that goes through less fodder,” Bouthiah, a cattle herder in Rosso, south of Mauritania, told IPS.

    Mauritanians are big consumers of milk, drinking an average of nearly a litre of milk per person per day, compared to just 0.08 litres per person across sub-Saharan Africa, said Mohamed Lemine Ould Hakky, head of the division responsible for improving animal production at the Ministry for Rural Development.

    According to the ministry, Mauritania imports 70 percent of its dairy needs.

    Yet a 2004 study done by the World Bank suggested that if the livestock sector received greater attention, it could meet 70 percent of the country’s dairy needs.

    Hakky told IPS that local cattle breeds lacked some important characteristics.

    “To overcome these shortcomings, between 2006 and 2009, the rural development ministry put a programme in place to improve the genetic stock and promote animal health. The campaign targeted 1,000 dairy cows in the regions of Trarza, Brakna and Gorgol (in the southwest and southeast of the country),” he said.

    Hakky is also responsible for a pilot farm at Idini, 50 kilometres east of the capital, Nouakchott, set up in 2011 to promote meat and diary production. Some 300 cows were inseminated.

    While Mauritania’s traditional cattle breeds don’t produce more than three litres of milk per day, the hybrid cattle can produce over 16 litres per day, according to Dr Mohamed Ould Hacen, a vet with the rural development ministry’s livestock office.

    When it comes to meat production, Hacen also said that the birthweight for the hybrid calves averages 28 kilos, compared to 16 kg for local breeds.

    Zeindine Diallo, who rears cattle at Gorgol, wants better care for the inseminated cows in order to allow the country’s herders to move away from the existing breeds and increase production.

    “After three years, the artificial insemination operations, carried out with the technical support of the Inter-State School for Veterinary Science and Medicine based in Dakar (Senegal) are having an effect, as the hybrid heifers themselves begin to calve. Of the 1,000 cows that have been inseminated, we’ve achieved a 40 percent success rate,” Hacen said.

    According to Hakky, total consumption of milk in Mauritania is some 52,000 tonnes per year, more than three times greater than domestic production of 12,000 tonnes.

    Official trade statistics show that the annual cost of dairy imports into Mauritania is 50 million dollars, according to El Hacen Ould Taleb, a herder and president of the National Grouping of Associations of Pastoral Cooperatives (GNAP).

    In November, the minister for rural development, Brahim Ould M’Bareck, announced the creation of two more farms for artificial insemination, at Kankossa Lake in the south of the country, and at the Mahmouda Depression in the southeast.

    Fodder will also be grown in these two areas, with help from Chinese experts, the minister added.

    GNAP is calling for more extensive scientific research into the sustainability and profitability of the experiment. Taleb told IPS he doesn’t think Mauritania is currently able to produce enough cattle feed for intensive livestock rearing.

    The four domestic milk production companies, all based in the capital, can only absorb five percent of the country’s dairy output, Hakky said. The rest, he says, is consumed locally in camps, villages and other cities, and also goes to feed calves, baby camels and smaller livestock.

    “We are calling for a facility to be set up to produce long-life milk, and for tanning factories. And for increased production of fodder to allow the country to save the 50 million dollars devoted to imports,” Taleb said. “And – why not, in time – for the export of milk from Mauritania.”

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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Mali, Nepal, Philippines (the), Uganda

    By Marie-France Bourgeois

    BRUSSELS, Belgium, 6 December 2012 – The European Union (EU) and UNICEF have joined forces to protect more than 30 million children’s lives by improving nutrition security in five Asian and four African countries.

    The EU is providing €41 million over four years to fund programmes in Bangladesh, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the Philippines, as well as Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Mali and Uganda. The aim is to improve nutrition security for children during the first 1,000 days of life, including pregnancy.

    Focus on both interventions and policy

    Nutrition security is not just about having enough food – it’s the outcome of good health, a healthy environment and good care. That’s why the EU-funded programme will focus on high-level policy engagement, as well as making sure that nutrition goals are incorporated into health, development and agricultural sectors.

    It will also feature low-cost, high-impact interventions, including promoting the use of available foods and resources, breastfeeding, distribution of vitamin and mineral supplements, appropriate complementary foods, fortification of staple foods and integrated management of acute malnutrition.

    UNICEF is working with governments and partners to target 30 million children and five million pregnant and lactating women in the five Asian countries, along with one million children and 600,000 pregnant and lactating women in the four African nations. UNICEF and the EU are hoping that other nations can learn from these countries’ experiences.

    Fighting a hidden crisis

    The hidden crisis of chronic malnutrition is robbing millions of children of their full potential and hampering the social and economic progress of their nations.

    In both Asia and Africa, the EU’s contribution is vital to a wider multi-donor initiative. The EU is playing a strong role in bringing together and leveraging the work of governments, NGOs and international organizations in the fight against undernutrition – a sound investment that will ensure children can grow, learn and earn, reach their full potential and contribute to resilience and sustainable development.

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    Source: IFRC
    Country: Mali, Mauritania

    Summary: CHF 157,396 was allocated from the Federation’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the National Society to deliver immediate assistance to 600 families (3,000 beneficiaries).

    The DREF operation started on 23 th February 2012 and ended 25 August 2012, after an extended timeframe of one month.

    125 volunteers from the Mauritanian Red Crescent (MRC) distributed non-food items (NFIs) to 600 families, reaching its target population of the emergency intervention.

    The MRC volunteers promoted health and hygiene to 4,297 families (30,089 beneficiaries) in the Mbera refugee camps, as well as to 1,537 Mauritanian families (9,819 persons) hosting refugees. Additionally, trained MRC volunteers implemented the first campaign on Polio and Vitamin A supplement in the refugee camp, in cooperation with the government.

    The capacity of the MRC volunteers was strengthened in the area of relief distribution, vaccination awareness raising, First Aid, community based health, Epidemic Control for Volunteers (ECV), and WATSAN and hygiene promotion.

    This DREF operation was expected to be implemented over four (4) months and completed by June 30th 2012. Due to an initial delay in starting up the operation as well as challenges to implement the activities in a very remote area under difficult circumstances (including lack of local capacity and infrastructure, recurrent sandstorms, limited institutional and emergency response capacity with the national society) - an extension of the time frame with one (1) month was granted.

    Contributions from the Canada Government have replenished part of the allocation made for this operation. The major donors and partners of DREF include the Australian, American and Belgian governments, the Austrian Red Cross, the Canadian Red Cross and government, Danish Red Cross and government, the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), the Irish and the Italian governments, the Japanese Red Cross Society, the Luxembourg government, the Monaco Red Cross and government, the Netherlands Red Cross and government, the Norwegian Red Cross and government, the Spanish Government, the Swedish Red Cross and government, the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the Medtronic and Z Zurich Foundations, and other corporate and private donors. The IFRC, on behalf of the National Society, would like to extend thanks to all for their generous contributions.

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    Source: Kenya Daily Nation
    Country: Kenya

    By DAVE OPIYO in Doha, Qatar

    An innovative project expected to provide safe drinking water annually to 4.5 million people in western Kenya has been feted at the ongoing climate change talks in Doha, Qatar.

    The LifeStraw Carbon for Water in Kenya, undertaken by Vestergaard Frandsen, was showcased and honoured at an event attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and the top UN climate change official Christina Figueres.

    Also honoured were eight others projects from other developing countries selected as the winners of the 2012 Momentum for Change ‘lighthouse activities’ that are either helping to curb greenhouse gas emissions or assisting people adapt to climate change.

    “These stories of nine excellent activities should inspire and encourage all of us. These ideas, their contribution, may be modest. They may not be modern technology, but small, creative ideas can help deal with climate change,” said Mr Ban.

    “Real action is taking place on the ground, and these initiatives deserve to be scaled-up and replicated at an increasing pace. I call on governments to make the difficult compromises in the climate negotiations, and take the necessary steps to address climate change at home."

    The Momentum for Change initiative, launched last year in Durban, South Africa, is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

    On Tuesday, Mr Ban said even though climate change does not affect all equally, there was a need for nations to move quickly towards a low-emissions pathway to minimise climate risks and build the future we want.

    The LifeStraw is an easy to set up and maintain water purification system that uses no fuel, meaning those who receive the filter no longer need to treat water by boiling it using wood fuel – a traditional necessity that releases greenhouse gasses.

    Remove dirt

    Each filter can purify at least 18,000 litres of water – enough to supply a family of five for three years. Studies indicate that the product removes at least 99.9 per cent of all bacteria, viruses and parasites. It also removes dirt from water.

    Dr Willis Akhwale, the Ministry of Health’s head of disease prevention and control said the project will help the region reduce cases of diarrhoea.

    “Diarrhoea is a major cause of deaths amongst children in the area. But the project is expected to provide safe drinking water which will go a long way in controlling the disease while at the same time saving the environment,” said Dr Akhwale, moments after receiving the award.

    S O Otieno, Vestergaard Frandsen’s Regional Director Carbon Credits said he was happy the UN had recognised their efforts to reduce the negative effects of climate change.

    “This initiative will go a long way in accelerating Kenya’s vision 2030 goal of providing Kenyans will clean drinking water,” said Mr Otieno.

    According to a brief by Vestergaard Frandsen, carbon emission reductions were reported at 1.4 million tons after the first six months of its launch in the country in 2011.

    Annually, the activity is expected to reduce an estimated 2.7 million tons of carbon emissions.

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    Source: Oxfam
    Country: Somalia

    By Stella Kangua Madete

    “I used to be the captain of the Somalia Women’s National Basketball team in 1991, just as the country was beginning to fall apart. While this was taking place, the team and I were in Ethiopia participating in the regional championships. We could not return so we were instead taken to Nairobi.”

    These were the words of Mulki, a former national team player in Somalia. Since that time, life has never been easy, but she has always been able to provide for her family. Today the 42 year old is a mother of 10 and runs a small shop in Mogadishu, where she sells fruits, vegetables and other assorted items. Mulki is the sole provider for her family.

    Mogadishu has been at the center of a 22-year-old war that has ravaged the country and lefts its people at a state of despair. However, this was not always the case. Somalia was once a prosperous country, the most developed in East Africa.

    “We were encouraged to play sports”

    “I started playing basketball in 1982,” Mulki recalls. “I was inspired to play after watching other people play the sport and seeing how exciting it was. I am very tall so it was not a problem to pick up the game. I was an exceptional athlete, eventually rising up the ranks to the national team and becoming its captain. Things were different then. It was not a problem for women to play sports. In fact, we were encouraged to.”

    To Mulki, that seems like a lifetime ago. Since then, Somalia has been plagued by continuous conflict and disasters. It was difficult to continue playing the sport she loved while busy trying to provide for her growing family. Despite all this, Mulki saved enough money to open her small shop 12 years ago.

    “I have been running my shop for a long time and it has helped me and my family survive through all the hardships. I used to sell only fruits and vegetables, but I wanted to sell more things to earn more money,” Mulki said. “When I was selected for support from Oxfam and Hijra’s cash program, I was very happy because I could finally fulfill my plans.”

    Receiving money on the phone: a slam dunk

    Mulki and her family were selected as recipients of the E-cash pilot project launched by Oxfam and our partner Hijra in August of 2012, the first of its kind in Somalia. The project targeted over 2,090 households of internally displaced people and urban community members, to receive cash support via mobile phones.

    “I was prepared to line up for a long time before receiving the cash, because this is what usually happens,” Mulki said. “Instead, I went to the Nation Link [mobile service provider] office, received a free phone and got the money transferred to my phone; all in a very short time.”

    “After I received the money, I used some of it to buy additional items to sell in my shop such as biscuits, books, pens, salt and sugar,” Mulki said. “These items sell very fast and they do not go bad like the vegetables. I am able to buy a lot of stock and earn more money over a longer period of time.”

    “I also used some of the money to buy food for my family,” she continued. “In the near future, I plan to save more money to build a permanent structure for my shop, and stock even more types of goods. Hopefully those dreams come true as well.”

    “I missed playing”

    Never forgetting her passion for basketball, Mulki began coaching a women’s basketball team in Mogadishu in 2000.

    “I coach the Hegan women’s basketball team,” she said. “There is not much freedom to play the sport, due to cultural differences and perceptions, but the girls I coach are passionate and always come for practice twice a week. Two of my elder daughters play on the team as well.”

    Her love of basketball was not the only reason she started coaching the team. “I wanted to show my daughters that there is more to life than what they see around them,” she said. “I wanted to share with them a part of me that was important when I was younger. I also missed playing so this was a chance to do it again.”

    “This project really benefited me and my family’s life,” she said gratefully. “The money received was sufficient for us at that time. At least I was able to pay to improve my business and provide for my family. Any support is always welcome.”

    “I hope for a better life where I don’t have to struggle to make ends meet,” she said. “This is a start.”

    Oxfam and Hijra have been working together as partners since 2007 to provide livelihood support to people in Mogadishu. This work to help the people of Somalia continues today.

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    Source: Inter Press Service
    Country: Senegal

    Farmers in Médina Yoro Foula, in Senegal’s southern Kolda region, are expecting a good grain harvest this year, and hope to sell thousands of tonnes of grain in the local and regional markets.

    “The harvest will be far better than last year’s,” said Moussa Sabaly, from the Regional Office for Rural Development (DRDR) in Kolda.

    Médina Yoro Foula département has a population of around 120,000, nearly 90 percent of whom are farmers and herders. Local farmers will also sell part of their produce in the neighbouring countries of Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Guinea.

    DRDR statistics show that in 2011, farmers harvested 8,225 tonnes of millet from 1,012 hectares. They also reaped 1,626 tonnes of sorghum from 2,255 hectares and 4,485 tonnes of maize from 2,997 hectares. Fifty-five hectares planted with black-eyed peas yielded 30 tonnes.

    According to the Ministry of Agriculture’s Office for Analysis, Projections and Statistics, Senegal produced more than one million tonnes of grain in 2010-2011, including 102,714 tonnes from the Kolda region.

    “Every Sunday throughout the year, producers bring three or four trucks – each loaded with ten tonnes of locally-produced grain – to the weekly market in Médina Yoro Foula,” farmer-herder Moussa Sabaly (no relation to the DRDR official), president of the National Federation of Cotton Producers of Senegal, told IPS.

    “Our area is truly a grain-producing zone. I can’t say what the total tonnage of grain will be by the time the growing season ends, but we are definitely expecting an extraordinary harvest,” he said.

    The ministry’s office for statistics is still working on the results of the 2011-2012 growing season, and has not provided definitive figures for the present year.

    “We are expecting an increase in grain production despite difficulties linked to a lack of resources for smallholders, poor soil, and the lack of roads to provide access to farms,” said Aliou Badara Baldé, who was a grain producer before his election in 2009 as the mayor of Pata, a commune in Médina Yoro Foula.

    Baldé told IPS: “The total grain production here will be 50, even 60 percent higher than last year.” The harvests will be completed between late September and late December.”

    In this part of Senegal, in addition to family farms, producers are members of cooperatives known as economic interest groups (GIEs) with a view to combining their efforts to increase production.

    The Pata agro pastoral coop, created ten years ago, planted 50 hectares of maize this year. “This area can yield 2.5 tonnes per hectare, which would mean a total of 125 tonnes of maize,” said Kébé Baldé, one of the leaders of the cooperative.

    “We have not yet finished harvesting our maize, but we’re expecting a good yield. And our GIE has just acquired, with support from our (Senegalese and Spanish) partners, some agricultural equipment including threshers, in anticipation of a commercialisation programme which has not yet started,” Baldé told IPS.

    For his part, the Senegalese minister for agriculture and rural infrastructure, Abdoulaye Baldé, speaking on the sidelines of the launch of a campaign for the commercialisation of groundnuts, said that grain production at the national level is estimated at 1,673,730 tonnes in 2011-2012, against 1,099,279 the previous year.

    According to the minister, cereal production this year recorded an increase of 52 percent when compared to the 2010-2011 campaign.

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    Source: Première Urgence - Aide Médicale Internationale
    Country: Niger (the)

    Au Niger, les populations doivent composer avec un climat contraignant, des sols peu fertiles et un accès aux semences difficile. Dès que la production agricole baisse et que la sècheresse s’installe, ce pays de l’ouest de l’Afrique subit de plein fouet leurs effets. Les populations sont plongées dans une situation d’instabilité alimentaire qui devient chronique.

    Cette année les troubles politiques au Mali ont augmenté la pression sur les vivres.

    À chaque crise alimentaire, de nombreuses personnes se replient sur Niamey, la capitale. Les déplacés saisonniers ou permanents s’installent dans la ville et ses environs à la recherche de quelques moyens de subsistance. Dans ses faubourgs, faute d’assistance organisée, les difficultés sont exacerbées. Les prix augmentent, les conditions d’hygiène se détériorent et les risques pour la santé sont décuplés.

    En juin 2012, la population en insécurité alimentaire sévère était estimée à plus d’un million d’habitants.

    Pour lutter contre cette situation, l’équipe de Première Urgence - Aide Médicale Internationale (PU-AMI) se mobilise afin de réduire la mortalité causée par la malnutrition chez les enfants et les femmes enceintes.

    «La plus-value des activités de PU-AMI», explique Yannick Deville, chef de mission dans le pays « est d’avoir une approche à moyen terme. Encourager et stimuler le renforcement des capacités locales est indispensable et fait partie intégrante du projet. Les collaborations et partenariats, que ce soit des structures ou des initiatives de la société civile, sont favorisés».

    À ce jour, PU-AMI soutient trois centres de santé et un hôpital. Les activités permettent à près de 33 150 personnes de bénéficier d’un programme de dépistage et prise en charge de la malnutrition en milieu urbain.

    Le district compte 44 centres et l’objectif du projet pour la suite est d’en appuyer davantage de centres afin de permettre aux femmes enceintes et aux enfants de bénéficier de services dans l’ensemble de la zone.

    Yannick conclut en souhaitant « une extension du projet au niveau thématique, car la malnutrition a notamment des causes et des facteurs qui l’aggravent, comme la qualité de l’eau et de l’assainissement ».

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    Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid department
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali

    Key messages

    • Child suffering in Burkina Faso, where more than half of the population lives in extreme poverty, is at the level of emergency. The country has the third highest child mortality rate in the world. Life-saving programmes are therefore vital as well as measures to reduce vulnerability to disease, malnutrition and food insecurity in the future.

    • The European Commission funds humanitarian projects that provide treatment for malnutrition, transfers of cash to the poorest groups of society, and free health care for children under five and mothers.

    • The international donor community should support Burkina Faso to mainstream these interventions as part of a social protection package for the poorest of the poor.

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    Source: IFRC
    Country: Ethiopia

    This report covers the period 1 January 2012 to 30 June 2012


    Meeting the objectives of the 2012 – 2015 Long Term Planning Framework continues to be a commitment of both IFRC and ERCS. ERCS are implementing a number of long term programmes bilaterally with PNS and four sectoral programmes multilaterally funded by Swedish Red Cross in the areas of food security, organisation development, CBHFA and WATSAN. During the first 6 months, IFRC supported ERCS by providing technical support for the implementation of activities against their long-term programmes as per the 2012 plans developed. Modest progress has been made over the past 6 months against each plan.

    Achievements have been made against the 2012 food security programme which is being implemented in the Dergajen, Dedba and Shibta tabias of Enderta woreda in Tigray region. 2012 targets have been fully met against the construction of 2 school latrines, 3 check dams and 3 shallow wells. Against the income generation component of the programme, 19 cross breed milk cows were distributed to beneficiaries and technical training on cattle fattening conducted with 200 project participants. Activities against environmental conservation included the establishment of nursery fruit seedlings in garden sites and the distribution of 7,800 avocado seedlings to beneficiaries.

    The CBHFA programme which is being implemented in the 5 regions of East Gojam, East Showa, North Wollo, Siliti and Somali also made progress in the first 6 months of 2012. In quarter 2, ERCS branch offices conducted induction workshops for the selected zonal, district and kebele authorities. The induction workshops aimed to give the participants a full overview of the CBHFA programme, including its primary aims and objectives and what the 2012 interventions are designed to achieve. The induction workshops were considered successful in achieving stakeholder ownership and commitment. A ten day training of trainers (ToT) CBHFA workshop for the newly hired programme officers was also completed in Debre Zeit Town. Key personnel at headquarters and branch level have also been recruited including the HQ programme coordinator, 5 branch programme officers, accountants and 450 volunteers.

    The first 6 months of the WATSAN programme was characterised by the completion of activities related to 2011 plans including cascading PHAST and CBHFA training to communities in West Wollega and sanplat production in West Shoa. Accelerating implementation against the 2012 plans is intended for the upcoming 6 months.

    Progress against the OD programme has also been modest. A total of 23 computers and 23 printers were procured and delivered to ERCS branches in Q1 and Q2. The equipment is necessary to support membership management at branch level, in order to use computer database systems to effectively organize information related to membership and volunteer pools. Progress was also made with the construction of multi-purpose buildings, which are being built as part of ERCS’s drive to generate sustainable income streams and become a self reliant national society.

    IFRC continued to provide support to ERCS in the form of institutional development which has included the finalisation of the change plan, which was completed in Q2 of 2012. ERCS’s change plan was developed with technical support from the Federation and will be implemented for the next two years (July 2012 to July 2014). The overall objective of the plan is for ERCS to become an ‘efficient, effective and responsive humanitarian organization with up-to-date and integrated systems and congruent leadership and skilled and motivated staff’. This is with the ultimate aim of making ERCS a leading humanitarian and developmental organization in the country, delivering quality services to people of Ethiopia.

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    Source: ICRC
    Country: Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Iraq, Mali, Nepal, Niger (the), occupied Palestinian territory, Somalia, Sudan (the), Syrian Arab Republic (the), World, Yemen, South Sudan (Republic of)

    - Video of the press conference
    - The ICRC priorities for 2013
    - Key data for 2013
    - Overview of the ICRC's operations in 2013

    06-12-2012 News Release 12/240

    Geneva (ICRC) – Millions of people around the world are suffering the effects of increasingly complex armed conflicts and other situations of violence, with little prospect of significant improvement in their daily lives. Against this backdrop, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is asking for 1.17 billion Swiss francs (0.97 billion euros, or 1.21 billion US dollars) to cover its humanitarian activities in 2013.

    The ICRC's budget for next year includes the initial figures of 988.7 million Swiss francs for field operations and of 186.8 million francs for support provided by the organization's headquarters in Geneva.

    "This budget will enable us to maintain a wide range of activities in response to a wide range of needs, while taking the difficult security environment into account," said ICRC President Peter Maurer, speaking at a press conference in Geneva on the occasion of the launch of the organization's emergency appeals.

    "In 2013, the ICRC will deal with a very diverse set of situations and with a great variety of consequences for men, women and children who are wounded, sick, displaced, detained or separated from their families," said Mr Maurer. "The mix of acute and protracted conflicts will lead to an overall increase in the scope of the humanitarian activities we need to carry out, whether to alleviate immediate needs or to support people's longer-term resilience."

    "The toll on civilians of the escalating conflict in Syria is of great concern, as are the renewed fighting and numerous abuses in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo," explained the ICRC president. "People in northern Mali are becoming increasingly vulnerable as a result of food shortages and the breakdown of basic services that have compounded the effects of the armed conflict. Prospects are bleak for the population of Afghanistan, which has faced danger and abuses for the past three decades. Fighting in Sudan and South Sudan, which has resulted in thousands having to flee their homes, shows no signs of abating. Forms of violence other than armed conflict, such as inter-community violence in parts of Asia and tribal clashes in several African nations, also appear set to cause enormous further suffering. In addition, the economic crisis could bring more instability to certain countries."

    "While Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mali may grab the headlines, we are also at work where suffering goes relatively unnoticed, as in the Philippines, Madagascar or the Central African Republic," said Mr Maurer.

    Violence, abuses and disruption to health-care, water and electricity services all have a dramatic impact on civilians. ''Some of the most urgent situations that our staff have to deal with are those in which entire communities are denied basic services because fighting is restricting their freedom of movement, or those in which attacks on ambulances, medical staff, rescue workers and hospitals make it difficult or impossible to provide prompt and vital emergency care."

    In 2013, the ICRC's largest operations in terms of expenditure will be in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Syria, Israel and the occupied territories, Sudan, Mali/Niger, and Yemen. Africa will once again account for over 40 per cent of the ICRC's operational commitments worldwide.

    "Our budget fully reflects our objective of taking action and attending to needs in the most suitable and meaningful ways. We always aim to take account of people’s circumstances, the risks and dangers they are exposed to, their gender and their age. We also take into account the level of access available to the ICRC, the degree to which our organization is accepted and the nature of security risks confronting it," said Mr Maurer. "For the ICRC, 2012 was one of the most challenging years ever in terms of security. In 2013, striking the right balance between the risks undertaken and the scope of the humanitarian response will remain no easy task. In order to be successful in this endeavour, the ICRC will have to do everything possible to ensure that it is accepted as neutral, independent and impartial."

    To carry out its activities, the ICRC relies on 12,000 staff in the field working in close partnership with national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, but also, increasingly, in cooperation with other international or local organizations. In Nepal, for example, where the ICRC supports families of missing persons – many of which are headed by women – it is working in close cooperation with local organizations that provide economic assistance, legal advice, medical rehabilitation and community support.

    "Now as ever, we are fully committed to doing everything we can to help people in need, wherever they may be," said President Maurer. "But it is important to remember that the lives of countless people who need protection and assistance ultimately depend on the continued support of our donors."

    For further information, please contact:
    Dorothea Krimitsas (English, French), ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18
    Carla Haddad Mardini (English, French, Arabic), ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 05 or +41 79 217 32 26
    Alexis Heeb (Spanish), ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 37 72 or +41 79 218 76 10
    Anastasia Isyuk (Russian), ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 30 23 or +41 79 251 93 02

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    Source: Danish Refugee Council
    Country: Ethiopia, Somalia

    War, drought and consequences of famine in Somalia continue to force people to seek refuge across the border in Ethiopia. There, Danish Refugee Council has provided shelter and emergency assistance to thousands, but more aid is needed in one of the region’s fast growing refugee settlements.

    On the dry and barren lands of Dolo Ado in Ethiopia, with not much else happening than a strong wind constantly blowing, covering everything in a layer of soil and sand, hope is again thriving. It can be hard to understand that this would be a place to seek refuge, but when history is one of years of hardship, loss, and fear, then this is finally a place to find at least some relief and protection.

    Many people have heard of the 2011 famine that hit the Horn of Africa including large areas of Somalia, creating an exodus of people fleeing their homes. Millions are still displaced in Somalia and those who crossed the borders to neighboring countries are still there and still depending on aid and assistance. While some areas have become known to the wider world following the famine, even less have heard of the five camps constituting the Dolo Ado settlements. This settlement grew significantly during 2011 and are now hosting more than an estimated 174,000 Somali refugees fleeing drought and conflict.

    During the last month of 2011 until now, the Danish Refugee Council has been able to support Somali refugees in Dolo Ado through funds from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO). These funds have enabled Danish Refugee Council to provide Somali refugee families and individuals with more than one thousand emergency shelters. Along with the shelter construction, a number of activities have been carried out to strengthen the resilience of both Somali refugees and vulnerable Ethiopian local communities hosting them, including cash for work projects and skills trainings.

    Today, long lines of different types of shelter have appeared in the Dolo Ado settlements in Ethiopia. Danish Refugee Council is one of the humanitarian aid agencies working here in support of the Somali refugees of which the vast majority have arrived during 2011. More refugees are coming every day. It is no longer famine forcing Somalis to give up their homes and livelihoods, but instability and extreme poverty following more than two decades of war in Somalia. A situation that continues to make it hard for millions to cope with natural hazards and now also recover from the 2011 famine.

    “We still see immense needs of people struggling to manage everyday life in the Dolo Ado settlements in Ethiopia. Shelter, access to safe drinking water, sanitation and simple ways to support alternative livelihoods for people in Dolo Ado - these are still significant needs and should remain key priorities to aid agencies, governments and international donors”, says Michael Adams, director of the Danish Refugee Council’s activities in Ethiopia.

    Danish Refugee Council works throughout the Horn of Africa and Yemen, including Ethiopia and is now exploring new ways to continue relief efforts in the Dolo Ado settlements.

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    Source: Islamic Development Bank
    Country: Somalia

    Jeddah, KSA, 02.12.2012 – In line with its continued efforts to improve the living conditions of the people of Somalia, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is increasing its humanitarian aid to Somalia in coordination with various recognized charitable institutions. IDB thus recently delivered a consignment worth US$ 300,000 of medical equipment and supplies for upgrading and development of four hospitals in different regions in Somalia. It also delivered another consignment of the same type worth US$ 75,000 offered by a philanthropist to various hospitals in the country.

    According to Dr. Awadh Al-Asaime, Head of the IDB’s Special Assistance Office, IDB has, since June 2011, dispatched several missions to oversee the distribution of US$ 750,000 worth of milk powder and other food supplies among women and children in different regions of Somalia. “Also, the Bank has so far granted US$ 450,000 for building three irrigation canals each stretching six kilometers to combat drought and increase crops output”, said Dr. Awadh adding; “We are closely following up on the progress of the projects which, once completed, will provide better food security to 2.5 million people living in Hiirran, Middle and Lower Shebelle regions.” He further underlined that IDB, in the very near future, will take action for rehabilitation of 16 other similar canals in other regions of Somalia most hardly hit by the drought.

    IDB has, since 1991, provided nearly US$ 17.3 million in grants and assistance to Somalia covering almost all regions in the country. The Bank’s support mainly focused on providing medical supplies and emergency relief items in addition to supporting other sectors such as education, health, irrigation and drinking water supplies.

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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia (the), Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the), Nigeria, Senegal

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    Source: Guardian
    Country: Somalia

    Local head of Food and Agriculture Organisation wants co-ordinated aid approach to helping Somalia be self-sufficient

    Read the full report on the Guardian.

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