West Africa Food Crisis

  1. Little Rashida, aged two, eats locusts in Niger. The locusts have destroyed her family’s millet crop, so now the locusts themselves are their source of food. They aren’t enough, though; Rashida is malnourished.
  2. 72-year-old Gori says, “I’ve lived a long life, and have seen people and animals suffer before, but never the two suffering together as much as now.”
  3. A 13-year-old girl in Niger has her hands dyed in henna in preparation for marriage. Reports from Niger indicate that criticial food shortages as forcing more young girls out of school and into early marriage.
  4. At a nutrition clinic in Niger, Hassane’s upper arm measurement falls within the red zone, indicating he is severely malnourished. At nearly two years old he weighed just 7.5kg
  5. Hassane, aged 20 months, with his mother Aissata at a nutrition clinic near their home in Niger. He is eating Plumpy-nut, a highly nutritious, ready-to-eat meal designed for severely malnourished children.
  6. Mothers and children gather at a World Vision-supported nutrition clinic in Chad. Photo: World Vision.
  7. When one-year-old Priscille was first screened at a World Vision-supported nutrition clinic in Chad, she was severely malnourished and weighed only 5.8kg, not much more than a newborn.
  8. After two months of ongoing treatment at a World Vision-supported nutrition clinic in Chad, Priscille recovered from severe malnutrition. Her arm measurement indicates that she is now a healthy weight.
  9. A World Vision Food-for-Work project in Niger is helping families to stay in their villages, despite the deepening West Africa food crisis.
  10. Sponsored child Djeneba helps her grandmother Diango transplant onions in a community vegetable garden in Mali. The World Vision-supported garden is helping families cope with the impacts of the current food crisis.

Last year droughts, soaring food prices, locusts and conflict left almost 19 million people across West Africa vulnerable to massive food shortages. In Mali, recent conflict has worsened the situation for many communities. Thousands of children and families in these communities require support including food, healthcare and protection.

How you can help:

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A 30 second snapshot of the situation in West Africa

Salissou is 11, and lives in Niger - he loves his little sister more than anything in the world. This is a touching account of the reality of the crisis from his eyes.You can view the full video of Salissou's story here.

Salissou hasn't given up... and neither should we. 

What's happening now?

The worsening situation in Mali is the focus of our current efforts. Our response in Mali addresses:

• Access to food and nutritional support

• Protection for vulnerable groups

• Shelter and other essentials

• Water, sanitation and hygiene

Background information

The crisis is caused by a combination of factors. Across the West Africa region, underdevelopment, conflict over resources, instability, forced migration, poverty, locust attacks and climate change intersect to create an environment affecting millions. This current crisis has hit communities extremely hard because they are already vulnerable and have few coping mechanisms.

As families run out of food they do desperate things. They sell their livestock, they reduce the quantity and quality of the meals, parents leave home to look for work, children begin begging, girls and boys migrate to the cities in desperation.

In Mali, the situation has worsened for many communities because of ongoing political instability and a security crisis that has now drawn international military intervention. Many people have had to leave their homes and are living in camps or with host families. You can read more about the situation in this blog from World Vision staffer Erin Joyce.

How you can help

Your donation to the Emergency Preparedness Fund helps World Vision get ready to assist the most vulnerable communities when crises such as droughts, food shortages, or natural disasters strike.

Date published Latest updates
4 September 2012 Drought, now floods for Niger: another blow to vulnerable communities
21 August 2012 Protecting Mali's most vulnerable as food crisis deepens
16 August 2012 Tanya's Senegal field diary: life in the time of drought
30 July 2012 Soap can save lives: preventing disease in refugee camps
20 June 2012 Omar's Day: Football with friends in a camp on World Refugee Day
16 June 2012 Locust threat looms as West Africa food crisis escalates
15 June 2012
Mum blogger Eden Riley to give Prime Minister a bag of seeds
12 June 2012
Daily life for Malian children in a refugee camp
6 June 2012 Children sold into marriage in Niger as food crisis worsens
24 May 2012 Finding the daily meal in Chad
21 May 2012 West Africa FAQs
21 May 2012 Mauritania: Life and death
12 April 2012 Underground forest can help beat famine
12 April 2012 Beating famine in Africa through land management
10 April 2012 Nigerien farmers providing for families during hard times
5 April 2012 Rebecca Gibney urges support for West Africa Food Crisis
3 April 2012 Mum bloggers travel to Niger to bring attention to food crisis
2 April 2012
Making some noise for West Africa
30 March 2012 Tim Costello: Immediate action on West Africa Food Crisis can save lives
27 March 2012 Food projects enable families to stay together despite food crises
22 March 2012
Blogs: On the ground in West Africa
21 March 2012 13x13 - A lucky number for Malian family in the midst of a food crisis
10 February 2012
Analysis: Does West Africa have the potential to be 'a Horn of Africa'?
23 January 2012 The West Africa 'Food Crisis': What's it all about? (pt1)
23 January 2012 The West Africa 'Food Crisis': What's it all about? (pt2)

Let's talk about it

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Zac Bell
Mar 20, 2015


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Jamie Pearce
Sep 17, 2014

"Very nice of you guys!"

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Mar 17, 2014

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Nov 25, 2013

"Yes, this is a worthwhile cause and everyone should donate. Lack of cleanliness can lead to a great number of problems (medical and psychological)."

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