Programme Highlights—Niger

Situation Analysis

The quick release in November of $6 million to three United Nations agencies to jump-start emergency interventions in Niger helped alleviate the suffering of millions of people facing severe food shortages. Extreme weather events, including droughts and floods, negatively impacted agricultural activities and livelihoods when the country had not yet fully recovered from the 2010 drought that reduced the resilience of rural populations, particularly small farmers and herders. In 2011, food insecurity threatened more than 1 million people, or half of the population. A national nutrition survey in June indicated a Global Acute Malnutrition prevalence of 12.3 per cent among children under age 5. From January to December, a total of 299,000 cases of Severe Acute Malnutrition were admitted for treatment.

Thousands of deaths were averted by the early intervention of CERF and UN agencies. Between November 2011 and January 2012, WFP was allocated more than $3.3 million to save lives, reduce malnutrition, and protect the livelihoods of vulnerable people through food-for-work and cash-for-work programmes aimed at the most vulnerable communes. Household targeting was accomplished through a participatory approach involving local authorities and implementing partners. As livestock are the main source of income for more than half of the population of Niger, FAO was given $700,000 to procure and distribute 1,250 tons of animal feed as emergency assistance to vulnerable herders, of which 20 per cent was allocated to women heads of households. More than $1.9 million was given to UNICEF to provide therapeutic feeding and nutrition monitoring for excess caseloads of severe acute malnutrition among children aged 6 to 59 months.

Confronted with a nutrition crisis of unprecedented severity, coupled with low levels of CAP funding across all sectors, the Humanitarian Country Team benefited from a CERF underfunded emergencies grant of $5.9 million to support priority programmes that would have immediate impact in regions needing urgent assistance.

Earlier in the year, CERF allocated more than $3.7 million to United Nations agencies and IOM in June to respond to the humanitarian needs of people in Niger when the crisis in Libya, to the north, forced thousands to flee back across the border to Niger. During the crisis more than 200,000 returnees made the overland journey south to Niger, and many were in need of urgent life-saving assistance.

Programme Highlights

  • CERF-funded projects supported more than 1.4 million people in Niger, including 325,000 children under the age of 5.
  • CERF-supported IOM and WFP projects provided emergency evacuation assistance to 11,900 migrants affected by the crisis in Libya and stranded in Niger.
  • CERF funds helped save the lives of 58,000 children aged 6-59 months suffering severe acute malnutrition in food insecure regions by ensuring the availability of, and access to, appropriate treatment and therapeutic foods through UNICEF-supported interventions.
  • CERF-supported projects allowed FAO to help restore livestock-based livelihoods by purchasing 25,000 goats and distributing them to vulnerable pastoralist households.
  • CERF funds enabled critical primary and specialised health care services for migrants returning from Libya through delivery of supplies, emergency equipment, disease surveillance and support to vaccination campaigns, benefiting 88,000 people.
  • CERF funding for UNICEF projects ensured reliable and safe drinking water for an estimated 65,000 people returning from Libya.
  • Emergency assistance reached vulnerable herders through FAO-funded projects, which provided animal feed to ensure milk for children and minimise the risk of animal starvation, benefiting 66,000 people.
  • CERF funds helped WFP prevent acute malnutrition in more than 45,000 children aged 6-59 months in the Tillabéri region through blanket supplementary food distribution during the lean season.


Feature Stories

Programme Highlights

A health worker uses a mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) band to measure a boys arm in an intensive nutritional rehabilitation centre in Guidan Roumdji Village, about 50 kilometres from the city of Maradi. © Giacomo Pirozzi/UNICEF/NYHQ20103059

"CERF underfunded and rapid response windows have been instrumental in allowing WFP to ensure a timely response from the moment that a looming food crisis was detected. Particularly, CERF funding allowed for the rapid scale-up of cash-for-work activities from 1,200 households (8,400 individuals), as originally planned, to an expanded caseload of 42,928 households (300,496 individuals)."


"The total number of Severe Acute Malnutrition cases, as planned for 2011, (200,000) was exceeded by almost 100,000 cases. The CERF grant made it possible for nutrition partners in Niger to continue service delivery without delay… despite the fact that the number of cases managed by the system was much higher than the planned caseload."


- Guido Cornale, Acting Resident Coordinator, Niger


Women carry buckets of water from a vanishing pond near the village of Garbey Malo Koira about 130 km from the Niger capital of Niamey. ©  Vigno Hounkanli