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Central African Republic

West Africa hunger crisis & Sahel drought

Conflict, drought, skyrocketing prices for food and fuel, and the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have combined to create a massive humanitarian emergency in the region.

People in the Sahel region and across West Africa, one of the most unequal and impoverished parts of the world, are enduring a severe hunger crisis. Recent rainy seasons have featured long dry spells at critical times in the crop cycle, leading to declines in food production across the Sahel and West Africa region. Insecurity and armed conflict continue to increase the number of people on the move in the region. More than 5 million people have been displaced (or are refugees, having crossed borders) in six countries.

Meanwhile, the conflict in Ukraine, increased demand, inflation, higher fuel prices, and lower food production in the region are all contributing to rising prices of key staple foods.

Oxfam and our partners are helping people in the affected areas, offering food and cash and other lifesaving support to families and children in crisis. We are improving water and sanitation systems while promoting good hygiene to help communities avoid deadly diseases. We distribute seeds, tools, and provide assistance to livestock farmers.

While immediately assisting people affected by this crisis, Oxfam is also advocating for governments in West Africa and international donors to invest in local agricultural production, health, education, water, electricity, and social protection programs for rural communities to help them ensure their long-term food security.


How Oxfam is responding to the West Africa hunger crisis

Oxfam is providing cash, food, and specific nutrition assistance for pregnant and lactating mothers and vulnerable children. Working with local partners, Oxfam is also helping to provide clean water, building/repairing sanitation systems, and promoting good hygiene measures to help head off serious epidemics like cholera and COVID-19. We also work with local groups to raise awareness of the need to keep women and girls safe from violence, and provide survivors with cash and refer them to organizations that can get them the services they need.

Oxfam is providing cash to families in Burkina Faso to help them get the food they need, and meet other crucial needs. Cissé Amadou / Oxfam

Burkina Faso

Oxfam and our partners in Burkina Faso are helping people with cash, food assistance (including enriched flour for families with pregnant and lactating mothers and infant children), and water and sanitation projects accompanied by hygiene promotion as well as training in the basic rights of women and children and how to help people at risk of or affected by violence. The program is centered in the Sahel and Centre Nord regions and is being carried out with partners Alliance Technique d’Assistance au Développement (ATAD) and Association de Gestion d’Environnement et le Développement (AGED).

A farmer in Mali arranges a row of stones next to his vegetable garden, a technique for capturing rainwater and reducing erosion. STOP-SAHEL, an organization that works with Oxfam in Mali, trains farmers in these types of water and soil conservation measures. sfrontières/STOP-SAHEL/Oxfam


Mali is facing some of its worst seasons of food insecurity in the last decade. Oxfam and our partners are providing cash or food vouchers, access to water and sanitation, and training about nutrition and how to prevent violence. We are working in Mopti, Segou, and Gao regions, with partners Stop Sahel, Action Mopti, G. Force, and CAEB.

A women in Chad tends to her goats, which she received from the AIDER organization that works with Oxfam. “Even if I don't have food at home, my children can drink the milk produced by my goats,” she says. “I worry less about them now. There are difficult times but thank God the help Oxfam has given me has really made my life easier." Leila Abbo Outman/ Oxfam


By early June 2022, 1.3 million people in Chad were in need of immediate humanitarian assistance and the government had declared a national food and nutrition emergency. Oxfam is working with partners to help people in Lac, Guéra, and Bahr El Gazal regions, providing cash and enriched flour to households with pregnant or lactating mothers and young children as well as access to clean water. The same households and communities will also be involved in meetings designed to help raise awareness of human rights and violence against women, learn what steps to take to prevent violence, and what to do in cases of violence in communities. In response to the sudden influx of people from Sudan in 2023, Oxfam installed water storage bladders and piping systems as well as latrines in communities hosting refugees.

A woman displaced by violence in Niger prepares a meal for her five children. Conflict that displaces families is contributing to the scarcity and high price of food across the Sahel region of West Africa. Tagaza Djibo /Oxfam


In 2022, 3.3 million people in Niger were suffering from food insecurity. The country saw a 39 percent reduction in cereal production while food prices increased 30 percent. In 2023, nearly 4.3 million people are acutely food insecure, and 1.9 million children suffer from acute malnutrition. Roughly 17 per cent of Niger’s 25 million population (4.3 million people) require humanitarian assistance. Among them are 670,000 forcibly displaced people who left their homes in search of safety in 2023. Working with our partners, Oxfam provides humanitarian aid to vulnerable populations, notably by installing water supply systems and distributing food and hygiene kits containing mosquito nets and soap. Following a change in government in July 2023, Oxfam and our partners are continuing our work to deliver emergency humanitarian assistance and long-term development projects despite some restrictions on the movements of humanitarian organizations and UN agencies in some of the regions on the grounds of military operations. One of the humanitarian projects that has continued is the multi-sectoral aid project funded by the German Federal Foreign Office which aims to reduce morbidity and mortality by improving food security and enabling access to water and sanitation services, and improved protection for the most vulnerable women, men, girls and boys of the region of Tillabéri.

Oxfam staff install piping from water tanks to taps near the capital Bangui in the Central African Republic. Clean water, soap, and awareness of good hygiene help to avoid outbreaks of diseases like cholera and COVID-19. Aurelie Godet / Oxfam

Central African Republic

Recent conflict and displacement have contributed to the humanitarian challenges in the Central African Republic, where 1.2 million people are in immediate need of nutrition assistance. As much as 80 percent of these people are children. The work includes helping people get clean water, primarily by repairing wells and other water sources, and providing hygiene kits with soap to help people keep clean and prevent diseases. To help farmers, the program is hiring agricultural trainers to provide advice as well as seeds (groundnuts, maize) and tools, as well as cash. To help build respect for women’s rights and to reduce violence, Oxfam is supporting the formation and training of community groups aware of women’s rights and how to refer survivors to organizations that can provide services. Oxfam’s partners include APSUD, AFRBD, AFEB, I3D, and the program will be centered in Bria, Batangafo, Bangassou, Paoua, and Bakala.

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