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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. The 2021 rainy season featured long dry spells at critical times in the crop cycle, leading to declines in food production across the Sahel and West Africa region.Since then, insecurity and armed conflict continue to increase the number of people on the move in the region. Burkina Faso has more than 1.5 million people displaced by fighting, and there are more than 5 million people displaced in the Lake Chad Basin area. Meanwhile, the conflict in Ukraine, increased demand, 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 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. All this is being delivered during the summer lean season, when most families run short of food and money and farmers have invested in their crops and are waiting and hoping for seasonal rains.

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.

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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.

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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 intend to reach more than 345,000 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. 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).

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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

Mali is facing one of its worst seasons of food insecurity in the last 10 years. Oxfam and our partners intend to help 132,630 people, 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.

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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

Chad

By early June 2022, 1.3 million people in Chad were in need of immediate humanitarian assistance and the government haddeclared a national food and nutrition emergency. Oxfam is working with partners to help more than 72,000 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.

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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

Niger

Before the planting season started, 3.3 million people in Niger were suffering from food insecurity, and there is a risk that during the lean season over the summer this could increase to more than 4 million. At the same time, the country has seen a 39 percent reduction in cereal production while food prices have increased 30 percent. Oxfam intends to help 336,933 people with emergency cash and food and clean water, and assistance for farmers and livestock herders. This work is being carried out in Diffa, Tillabéri, Tahoua, Zinder, and Maradi in collaboration with partners: AGIR, DEMI-E, ADLI, AGIR PLUS, Hed Tamat and Garkoua. In every community, Oxfam is working with groups to help raise awareness of the need for good hygiene to reduce the threat of disease, as well as what to do in cases of violence against women and girls in the community.

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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. Oxfam intends to work with partners to reach 306,000 people. 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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