15-Second Overview

WFP and its partners are bringing food assistance to more than 10 million people in eight countries in the Sahel region of West Africa. Drought in the region has brought hunger to millions of people for the third time in seven years. Meanwhile, conflict in Mali has forced around 340,000 people to flee their homes, adding to the hunger crisis both in Mali and neighbouring countries.

What's the situation now? Read interview

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Sahel Background

The Sahel region of Africa is a hot, dry band of land which starts in Senegal on the west coast and reaches as far as Chad, nearly 4,000 km to the east. It was hit by severe drought as recently as 2010 and many of the region's people were still struggling to get back on their feet when the current drought struck. Food prices are high across the region, making access to food even more difficult for poor families. Grain production is below the five-year average in Mauritania, Chad, Niger and Burkina Faso. The situation has been exacerbated a fall in remittances and conflict in Mali, which has displaced over 300,000 people.

Learn more about WFP's work in Sahel countries: Senegal | Gambia | Mauritania | Mali | Burkina Faso | Niger | Chad | Cameroon

Photo Stream

Bringing it All Together to Build Resilience
Bringing it All Together to Build Resilience
The Urban Cash for Work project brings together many elements to create an excellent example of building resilience among vulnerable communities in Bamako. In the first phase, women are paid to collect and sort trash. In the next phase, currently underway, they are being trained on how to upcycle the products they collect; creating revenue-generating activities that are sustainable and will help them gain financial independence. The activities include composting, weaving baskets out of plastic, creating paving stones from plastic bags and the sale of recyclable materials.

Operational Info

  • WFP is currently reaching around 6 million people with food assistance across the Sahel region
  • In Niger, WFP's operation during the June-September hunger season will reach 2.6 million people. Over the course of 2012, WFP programmes will reach a total of 4.2 million people.
  • In the wake of the conflict in Mali, WFP is supporting internally displaced people, refugees and their host communities in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Mauritania. We aim to reach 550,000 people.
  • In Chad, WFP’s current operation aims to assist a total of 1.5 million people. In June, we reached 855,000 people. 
  • In Mauritania, WFP is supporting 574,000 people through a range of programmes including cash transfers, food for assets and nutrition and cereal bank support
  • Regular food distributions are also underway in Senegal and Gambia. Over 700,000 people were reached in the two countries in June.
  • The UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), operated by WFP, is operating and has scaled up its operations to fly in Chad, Niger, Mali and Mauritania.

Interactive Map

To get a quick view of the situation in each of the eight Sahel countries where WFP is working, check out our interactive map.




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