WHD 2013

Monday, December 31, 2012

Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action 

By the Education Cluster Unit

Exploitation, violence, separation and sexual abuse are but a few of the hardships children suffer in emergency situations. In 2010 the members of the global Child Protection Working Group agreed on the need for child protection standards in humanitarian settings.

The Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action were developed between January 2011 and September 2012. The process of drafting the Minimum Standards involved over 400 individuals from 30 agencies in over 40 countries, including child protection practitioners, humanitarian actors from other sectors, academics and policy makers.

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Friday, December 28, 2012

SAHEL: Malnourished to remain above one million in 2013

 By IRIN, Dakar (Senegal)


Children in the Banemate village in Oullam district in Niger's Tillaberi region have been living on wild fruits since last year
© Jaspreet Kindra/IRIN

Despite good rains across much of the Sahel this year, 1.4 million children are expected to be malnourished - up from one million in 2012, according to the 2013 Sahel regional strategy.

The strategy, which calls on donors to provide US$1.6 billion of aid for 2013, says fewer people are expected to go hungry in 2013 - 10.3 million instead of 18.7 million in 2012.

Harvests across much of the Sahel were fairly good this year following more steady rains, but vulnerability remain as the 2012 crisis, on the back of crises in 2005 and 2010, left many families heavily indebted, with severely depleted assets, and with no seeds to plant.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Photo gallery: A Snapshot of Life for the Displaced in Mali's Capital, Bamako

 By Helene Caux, Senior Regional Public Information Officer for West Africa


 Click on the picture to see full gallery

Almost a year after fighting erupted in northern Mali between government troops and a Tuareg rebel movement, almost 200,000 people are internally displaced in Mali. Most have fled to areas in the south of the county, including Segou, Mopti, Kayes and the capital, Bamako, where some 47,000 people have found refuge. They come mainly from the Timbuktu and Gao regions, which are now under the control of Islamic extremist groups.

Many of the displaced have been victims of human rights abuses at the hands of the armed groups and Islamic extremists operating in the north. Women and girls have been raped, men have had limbs amputated, people have been tortured or murdered. In Bamako, many of the survivors of abuse are in urgent need of medical and psychological assistance. In addition, the internally displaced in urban areas struggle to make ends meet, buy food, pay their rent and secure employment. The children often go to school on an empty stomach in the morning. The international community, including UNHCR and its partners, urgently need funding to help the most vulnerable displaced people in Mali. The following images depict daily life in Bamako for internally displaced people.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

A propos de OCHA

Nouvelle version en français de la brochure qui explique en détail le rôle du bureau des Affaires Humanitaires des Nations Unies.

OCHA mobilise l’aide humanitaire, mais qu´est-ce que cela veut dire exactement?

Cliquez sur l´image!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tchad: la malnutrition persiste malgré les bonnes récoltes

By Pierre Péron, Chargé de l´Information Publique à OCHA, Tchad

Le Tchad a enregistré beaucoup de pluie dans la seconde moitié de 2012 et les récoltes ont fait le double de la quantité moyenne, suscitant des espoirs pour des lendemains meilleurs. Mais selon les prévisions de l'UNICEF, à peu près le même nombre d'enfants souffriront de malnutrition aiguë sévère en 2013 qu’en 2012.

Les raisons en sont complexes. Les ménages ont accumulé des dettes importantes au cours de la période de soudure en 2012, ce qui signifie que les familles pauvres devront vendre la grande partie de leur production immédiatement après sa récolte.

Selon Jane Lewis de la branche humanitaire de la Commission européenne (ECHO), cela signifie que les gens continueront de peiner pour acheter les denrées alimentaires à des prix élevés.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Central Emergency Response Fund´s support to the Sahel


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel David Gressly at the CERF High-level pledging conference. CREDIT: UNOCHA

What does Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) mean?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

As nutrition crisis starts to release its grip on Mauritania, a mother seeks care for her unresponsive baby



By Jessica Mony, Acting Head, International Programme Advisory Team. UNICEF UK


TINIZAH, Kaedi Region, Mauritania. Humming softly, Fatimatou cradles her healthy, smiling 9-month-old boy Sidiahmed in her lap. It’s been a long time since she could relax and play with him.

Just over a month ago, Sidiahmed was malnourished – and often unresponsive. “He was not moving anymore. He wasn’t playing anymore. He wasn’t breastfeeding. He just didn’t want to eat anymore,” says Fatimatou.

Without a support network

Fatimatou is a single mother. Her husband divorced her just before Sidiahmed was born. In a rural area with a baby on the way – and without a network for support – Fatimatou decided to move to live with her uncle and his family.

The divorce came at a difficult time for families across Mauritania. “Lots of animals died. People didn’t have anything to eat. It was so hard for us,” she says. Without the means to support herself, Fatimatou relied on the kindness of her extended family, even though they, too, were struggling. At the height of this hardship, Fatimatou gave birth to Sidiahmed, her first child.

Pictures: UN Special envoy for the Sahel, Romano Prodi, and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator, David Gressly, discussing humanitarian and development challenges in the Sahel region with Humanitarian Coordinators

 On Monday, the United Nations Special Envoy for the Sahel, Mr. Romano Prodi, attended a retreat of United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinators in the countries of the Sahel, in Dakar.

The meeting was organized by Mr. David Gressly, the United Nations Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel.  The discussions focused on the humanitarian and development challenges in the Sahel region, existing mechanisms to address them and ways by which they could be reinforced.

Special Envoy for the Sahel, Romano Prodi and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, David Gressly. CREDIT: Laurence Gérard/UNOWA

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Partners in the Sahel moving towards a common roadmap on resilience

By the stakeholders of the AGIR Alliance

Following a series of consultations between Sahelian and West African countries, West African regional organisations, organisations of agricultural producers and pastoralists, the private sector, the civil society, financial partners and non-governmental organisations, stakeholders involved in food and nutritional security met in Ouagadougou on 6 December 2012 within the framework of the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA) to seal the Global Alliance for Resilience Initiative - Sahel and West Africa.

Mère et Enfant. CRÉDIT: ECHO

Stakeholders agreed to define resilience as the capacity of vulnerable households, families and systems to face uncertainty and the risk of shocks, to withstand and respond effectively to shocks, as well as to recover and adapt in a sustainable manner.

The general objective set by the stakeholders is to: Structurally and sustainably reduce food and nutritional vulnerability by supporting the implementation of Sahelian and West African policies.

The Alliance aims to achieve ‘Zero Hunger’, eliminating hunger and malnutrition, within the next 20 years. A roadmap, based on the Ouagadoubou declaration and scheduled for 2013, will provide quantitative specific objectives and monitoring indicators.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Internal Displaced People struggle to survive after escaping fighting in northern Mali





By Helene Caux,  Senior Regional Public Information Officer for West Africa in UNHCR

Hidjaba is struggling to take care of her family – like nearly 200,000 other Malians who have fled the north of their country to escape the fighting that erupted between various armed groups and government forces last January.

"I am ready to do anything to be able to buy food for my children," said the 45-year-old, who gets up at 6 a.m. to cook food that is both for her children to eat and to sell on the streets. "Sometimes they go to school in the morning with an empty stomach as I don't have enough money to buy millet to cook."

Hidjaba's family are among some 47,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) who have found refuge in Bamako. In total, 198,600 people have fled their homes and many of them have sought shelter in the capital and the areas of Segou, Kayes, Koulikoro, Sikasso and Mopti.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mali: Warm Welcome Amid Turmoil 





By Helen Blakesley, CRS’ Regional Information Officer for West and Central Africa.

I’m very big on atmospheres. I’m one of those people who walk into a room and can just tell whether its inhabitants are feeling generally perky…or whether they’ve just had a blazing row.

Wherever I travel for Catholic Relief Services, around West and Central Africa, I subconsciously seem to work out whether I like the “feel” of a place. So when I arrived in Mali last week, my antennae were twitching.
Three-year-old Saouda Keita. Photo by Helen Blakesley/CRS

Mali, a country nestled in the middle of West Africa, is a nation divided in two right now. Since a military coup destabilized the political landscape earlier this year, various rebel groups occupy (and are vying for control of) the north – an area the size of Texas. Reports of atrocities against the people living there abound – killings, maiming, rape, recruiting of children as soldiers. For all these reasons, over two hundred thousand people have left their homes and fled to neighboring countries. Another two hundred thousand have moved south, many to the capital, Bamako. These are some of the people CRS is helping and these were the people I had come to meet.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

850,000 children treated in Sahel for severe acute malnutrition in 2012

By UNICEF West & Central Africa

A UNICEF progress report says that more than 850,000 children are expected to have received life-saving treatment for severe acute malnutrition across nine countries in the Sahel region during the course of 2012.

This is a projected figure based on the more than 730,000 children under 5 treated at centres between January and the end of September.

UNICEF warned in December 2011 that 1.1 million children would suffer from severe acute malnutrition in the Sahel and would need specialized help. With governments, other UN agencies and humanitarian organizations one of the biggest humanitarian efforts of its kind in the region was mounted with support from major donors and funding appeals through UNICEF National Committees.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Resilience in simple terms/ La résilience en termes simples


How international aid can support resilience


By Andrew Thow, Humanitarian Policy Officer, OCHA


Since the first signs that the food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel was getting worse in late 2011, ‘resilience’ has become the most talked about topic in humanitarian policy circles. We must get better at preventing recurrent crises in the Sahel and other regions. On this, everyone agrees. But when we talk about doing business differently, what exactly does that mean?

Niger, 2012: Man in Molia village tends vegetables.CR: D. Ohana, OCHA

Resilience is just a word, and when we are talking about families and communities it sounds simple enough. People are resilient when they can cope with hardships. Farmers with drought-resistant crops won’t lose their livelihoods when the rains fail. Well-nourished children can get a better education and so provide for their own families in the future.

But the word ‘resilience’ is also being used to sum up a series of changes in the way
the international aid system supports people and countries affected by recurrent crises. In particular, it has come to mean more closely integrating short-term humanitarian relief and longer-term development assistance, so that together they are more effective. Many governments in the region have taken the lead in preparing national plans to do just that. The UN has a common approach on building resilience in the Sahel, which brings together its different programmes.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Resilience in simple terms/ La résilience en termes simples

 La résilience au Tchad

Par Ahmat Payouni, coordinateur de l´ONG Secadev à l’est du Tchad


La résilience dans un contexte d’urgence signifie qu’on cherche par tous les moyens à renforcer les capacités des populations victimes d’une catastrophe naturelle ou humaine à résister, à subvenir à leurs besoins. A l’est du Tchad, nous vivons dans un environnement naturellement fragile.

Ces dernières années, cet environnement est davantage fragilisé par les évènements survenus au Darfour, notamment l’arrivée massive des réfugiés soudanais mais aussi par la désertification.

Vu que les populations de cette région sont très dépendantes de l’agriculture, de l’Elevage et du commerce, chaque fois que l’année est déficitaire, les hommes et les animaux souffrent de malnutrition. Dans un contexte d’urgence comme celui là, la résilience signifie renforcer les capacités de ces populations pour qu’elles puissent développer des stratégies qui leur permettent de résister à ces chocs.

Pour le Secadev, cette résilience se traduit par la mise en place des stratégies qui encouragent les populations à pratiquer le maraîchage, à utiliser les semences plus adaptées aux conditions climatiques, la diversification des cultures, à bien gérer les sources d’eau et les productions agricoles.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Resilience in Simple Terms/ La résilience en termes simples

Women and Resilience in the Sahel: flexible and indestructible


By Beatrix Attinger Colijn, Regional IASC GenCap Adviser in Humanitarian Action

Boris Cyrulnik is considered the founder of the concept of “resilience’” and has described it, as one can read below, as the art of navigating in the torrent. Bringing the concept to the Sahel region, where torrents are rather scares, one might better compare it with the art of walking through a sand storm. Were you ever caught in a real sand storm and tried to walk upright with a clear vision of where you were going? – Right!

When I imagine a typical landscape in Niger, I see camels and men riding them elegantly; and looking around I see some women, carrying water buckets back to the huts, sitting on donkeys riding to the field, or keeping together a group of goats. Being a woman in Niger - and in the Sahel at large - means you are at the very end of the world’s gender equality index list and you might belong to the 63% of Niger’s population living below the poverty line, two thirds of whom are women. The cultural and legal framework will also imply that you will have very limited access to education, land, and heritage. And when a crisis sets in on the region and your life, you will not only have to overcome the inequality of opportunities for women but also the hardship the crisis imposes on the population.

Farmers with newly received seeds, photo from the August newsletter of Eden. Copyright: Eden Foundation.

Resilience in my language is translated into being flexible and indestructible. The food security crisis has long demanded coping strategies from the population at risk, such as labor migration within countries or across borders. If the male head of the family leaves home in search of work, it is the woman who stays behind with the children, in Niger usually in high numbers, and it is her who will have to reinvent the means to provide for the livelihood of the family.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Resilience in simple terms/ La résilience en termes simples 

 Le sahel peut-il sortir du cycle des crises alimentaires ? Quelques réflexions pédagogiques sur la définition de la résilience en matière de nutrition

Par Salimata Wade, Professeur Titulaire de Physiologie et Nutrition Humaine, Université Cheick Anta Diop (UCAD), Dakar (Senegal)

« Les êtres humains, confrontés aux difficultés de la vie, réagissent de façons diverses : les uns cèdent à l’accablement, les autres, mus par une force étonnante, expriment une capacité à résister et à se construire »

Durant les 5 dernières années, malgré l’existence de zones à risque, la production de céréales a augmenté en Afrique subsaharienne (CILSS).
Et pourtant, depuis les années 70, la production alimentaire per capita au Sahel est la plus faible du monde et ne peut nourrir la population toujours croissante.

 Quelques points qui peuvent expliquer en partie la crise nutritionnelle au Sahel
  •  L’agriculture et l’élevage sous-développés et inadaptés
  • Les pertes post récoltes
  • L’augmentation croissante d’aliments importés (blé, riz)
  • La crise alimentaire et financière mondiale récente mais durable
  • L’absence d’industries de transformation alimentaires
  • Les changements climatiques
Satisfation des besoins nutritionnels à travers l´exemple du Sénégal.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Resilience in simple terms/ La résilience en termes simples

Mali: Beyond food relief: building community resiliency

Words and photos by Maria Mutya Frio, Food Crisis Communications Manager in World Vision, West Africa Regional Office

We’re in the middle of a 120-hectare field, baking under the scorching sun but Kiasy Mounkous, village chief of Ouane commune is all smiles. He stretches out his arms as he proudly shows us the land his community prepared for the planting season.

San province in southern Mali was one of the hardest hit areas by the food crisis in West Africa. In the Sahel belt, more than 18 million people across Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Senegal and Chad have been affected. Droughts in late 2011 significantly decreased harvests, depleting food stocks that led to shortages in many provinces. This year, excessive rains inundated crops. Food supplies in markets dwindled as prices soared. For many families, especially children, this meant not having enough to eat day after day. The youth migrated to neighboring villages in the hope of getting better food security.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Resilience in simple terms/ La résilience en termes simples


 What does resilience mean for Amadou & Moussa? 


By Esther Huerta García, Communication & Social Media Officer - OCHA Sahel

These young boys below might not have participated in the global debate around resilience in the Sahel region. Still, they know very well what it means to live in a family whose resilience has been completely eroded.

Children playing in Mopti- CREDIT: ECHO

Losing resilience -  in very simple terms

Amadou and Moussa live in Mali and are among the generation of children that have missed a whole year of school in 2012 due to the food crisis.

Their parents, after this year´s drought, were forced to reduce the quantity and quality of food they could give to their children.  When food is not sufficient, this is the first strategy many households follow to adapt to this new situation. After that, as the crisis continued, the family was forced to sell their livestock and take out a loan. They had nothing left.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Resilience in simple terms/La résilience en termes simples

Some personal reflections on resilience in the Sahel


 By Joachim Theis, Regional Child Protection Adviser in UNICEF West & Central Africa


Resilience has certainly become the new buzz word in the Sahel.

The resilience agenda makes a case for ending the recurrent food and nutrition crises in the Sahel. My first exposure to international development came in the mid-70s when my parents supported the humanitarian response to the drought in Niger. Ten years later I worked in the Sudan during another famine. At the time, we identified desertification as the culprit – now we blame the food and nutrition crisis on global warming. Whatever the cause, it is bad and it does not seem to go away. Billions of dollars have been spent over the past forty years on humanitarian response in the Sahel, but the frequency and severity of food and nutrition crises in the Sahel do not seem to decline. So, mobilizing governments and development actors to build resilient families, communities and nations in the Sahel and to end the recurrent food and nutrition crises is a compelling proposition.

See 5 more reflexions on resilience