Niger, on the edge of the Sahara, is drought-prone and struggles to produce enough food, with Sabon Machi particularly vulnerable.
The joint initiative will be led by World Food Programme’s team in Niger and NCBA’s Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel – Enhanced Resilience (REGIS-ER) project, funded by USAID.
One of the world’s least developed nations according to the UN, Niger’s recent history has been marked by political instability. Food insecurity remains a great challenge for people living in Sabon Machi due to acute rainwater runoff, soil erosion, reduced water availability and decreased agricultural productivity. The new collaboration between NCBA CLUSA and WFP was triggered by a particularly poor harvest in 2014.
“This concerted effort combines the resources of WFP and REGIS-ER to increase the number and scope of activities that have a sustainable impact on improving the resilience of the community,” said Amath Diop, NCBA CLUSA’s deputy chief of party for REGIS-ER.
The project targets 1,829 vulnerable households in 48 villages and is expected to reach a total of 12,803 people. The two organisations will introduce the practice of conservation farming on more than 400 acres and support the planting of 68 home gardens.
Through the initiative, the local community has already joined community-led sanitation activities in 17 villages, which constructed 425 latrines, rehabilitated five wells, drilled four boreholes and offered basic hygiene training. Another project led by REGIS-ER and WFP has helped develop 50 mother-to-mother support groups and five “safe space” clubs for teenage girls.
In Niger it is a common practice to provide livestock to a member of the community while the livestock’s offspring are given to others who need them. NCBA CLUSA has been supporting this initiative, known to locals as habbanayé. The USA co-op body has provided a breed of red goat that reproduces quickly, enabling vulnerable communities to build assets quickly.
“The yields were so impressive that people throughout the commune considered it worthwhile to collaborate with the project,” Mr Faji was quoted by the NCBA.
“[REGIS-ER] has changed the lives of people in our community and is now increasing its impact, thanks to this partnership with the World Food Programme,” he added.