West Africa food crisis

Sahara Mahama, from Saran Maradi, Niger, lost four children during the worst period of the food crisis; one of them was only 14 days old. “I lost the youngest one in the lean season. I didn’t have enough to eat,” she says.

Give a monthly gift

In the spring and summer of 2012 a food and nutritional crisis unfolded in the Sahel belt of north-west Africa, affecting millions of people.

CARE had been monitoring the situation since October 2011 – when, due to poor and erratic rains, the harvest was lower than previous years and there was a lack of fodder for livestock. We were ready to scale up our response when malnutrition in many areas began approaching or exceeding emergency levels, and rising prices of food and basic necessities were making it difficult for millions families to cope.

CARE’s response

In Chad, CARE provided food to young children and their mothers, and rehabilitated wells so that families have access to clean water.

In Mali, CARE worked to meet the urgent needs of 30,000 households affected by food insecurity and displacement due to conflict.

In Niger, CARE:

  • provided cash-for-work to help 6,000 families buy food
  • trained nurses on malnutrition
  • assisted community cereal banks so families can buy food at reasonable prices
  • worked with women’s savings and loan groups to develop community vegetable gardens – both providing food and increasing long-term food security
  • provided urgent assistance to Malian people who fled fighting in Mali and sought refuge in Niger