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Sahel Nutrition Development - Assignment Example

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According to the United Nations, approximates18.9 million persons in The Sahel region of West Africa are at a crisis of food shortage and their nutritional statuses are wanting. It is noted that this is has been caused by various factors including poor harvests, sporadic rains,…
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According to the United Nations, approximates18.9 million persons in The Sahel region of West Africa are at a crisis of food shortage and their nutritional statuses are wanting. It is noted that this is has been caused by various factors including poor harvests, sporadic rains, draught, widespread displacement and increased food prices. This, in effect, has resulted to increased exposure to risks of acute malnutrition for children under the ages of less than five years. Basing on the results from the middle upper arm circumference (MUAC), which has been used in assessing the nutritional situation of children in the region, Countries most affected by this crisis include Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Chad, Mali, Senegal, northern Cameroon, and Gambia. This situation has deteriorated rapidly throughout this year.
Research has clearly outlined that most of the areas stand to experience acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3) from April to September this year. The nutrition status is quite catastrophic in areas worst affected with severe malnutrition with rates ranging between 10-16%. The drivers of this crisis are eroded resilience, compounded by the sporadic rains, prices increases and insufficient harvests. The agro-pastoral returns of production is reported to have decreased by 50% in the areas that are affected by poverty, and agricultural products market prices, as well increased up from sixty percent to eighty percent for maize and 100 percent for dry cereals. Increased levels of drought in Sahel have caused a reduction in cereal production on average 26% relative to the previous year. Most notable is the fact that Gambia, as well as Chad realized a 50 percent decrease with other countries still experiencing serious localized deficits.
The 2012 Sahel’s strategic plan was aligned as a serving response plan to addressing the Food and Nutrition Crisis in the region. This has been developed by the Working Regional Group on Food Security and Nutrition mainly composed of among other organizations, the Red Cross, Crescent Movement, United Nations agency, Non Governmental Organizations and donors. In 2011, IASC (Inter-Agency Standing Committee) launched a strategy that effectively responds to food shortage and nutritional crises in Sahel. The document was done in consideration of joint efforts of the organization of Food and Agriculture of United Nations (FAO), Action against Hunger, the United Nations Child Fund (UNICEF), the United Nation Humanitarian Affairs Coordination Office (OCHA), and the WWP (Word Food program) that provides detailed information on funding requirement by country.
Within the broader IASC framework, FAO has kicked started a response program to Nutrition and Food Security Crises in this region to define FAO’S response interventions in Sahel countries. This has centrally been focused upon recovery to recovery and development, while concentrating on protecting, building and restoring resilient livelihoods of most vulnerable herders and farmers. It is also encouraging that countries such as Canada have come clear to help provide humanitarian assistance in this region. In this respect, Canada is currently known to be supporting the Red Cross. For instant, in the mid August 2012, Canada contributed to a tune of $ 57.5 in an effort to aid the affected people in Sahel.
The cross analysis of the current trend of food security in Sahel region indicates that the severity of acute food shortage is likely not to surpass IPC Phase 3 should the response be adequately robust enough. It is expected that there would be severe food insecurity beginning January extending to March in rain fed and agro pastoral farming areas of southern and central Mauritania this year. It is certainly clear from the trend analysis that the chronic and severe constraints on nutritional status imply the level of acute malnutrition would remain beyond 15 percent in areas worst affected. Even though, research has shown that the regional production is higher than the five year average, shortfalls continue to negatively impact on food availability. It is well documented that, basing on the harvest deficits early this year were, Chad had 50 percent, with Mauritania, and Niger recording 52% and 30% respectively. This has eventually led to a decreased remittance due to the economic downfall in Europe and the downturn of over 250,000 economic migrants from Cote d’lvoire/Libya.
The overall mitigation priorities that are towards preventing further crises include strengthening the resilience of pastoralists, farmers and agro-pastoralists, protecting the livelihoods of vulnerable households, supporting the conservation and management of natural resources for instance water, soil and trees, providing emergency nutrition assistance to vulnerable families, reinforcing disaster risk control and management at the regional, local, and national levels, supporting strengthening and coordination of food security data management alongside the warning system. Rapid and early action is needed to help prevent further deterioration of food availability and avoid a full scale nutrition and food crisis. Medium and long term interventions are needed in reversing the cycle of food insecurity and crises in Sahel region. Emergency and rehabilitation programs are required to address structural vulnerabilities.
At this stage of the crisis my recommendations are that the governments of these countries should strategize on preventive measures to avert the food and nutrition crises. Clear policies on safeguarding food security need to be established and implemented. There is also the need to urge donors, Non Governmental Organizations, as well as other Nations to step in and assist reduce the adverse effects of food shortage and nutrition crises in Sahel region.
CIDA Public Inquiries Service, (2011).The Sahel Crisis Matching Fund. Retrieved on 19th August 2012 from
Humanitarian assistance training, (2011). Health Emergencies in Large. Retrieved on 19th August 2012 from
United Nation, (2011). The Sahel region of West Africa at in a food crisis. Retrieved on 17th August 2012 from http://Documents/Sahel%20dashboard%20Feb%202012.pdf. Read More
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