Societies working together across borders to improve food security

Published: 10 September 2012 15:36 CET

The Qatar Red Crescent Society works with partner National Societies in countries including Mali and Niger in areas including food security, health and sanitation.

Since 2005, the organization has worked with the Niger Red Cross and has implemented programmes in a wide variety of sectors. Between 2008-2010, the two National Societies worked together on a Water and Sanitation Programme in various districts of the Niamey region. This covered 11 different districts villages with poor or unstable access to water, and succeeded in rehabilitating water points in the various villages, conducting training and workshops in each village, and creating and supporting Management and Hygiene Committees to effectively manage water points in each district.

In 2010 the Qatar Red Crescent Society signed a tripartite agreement with the Islamic Development Bank and the Government of Niger to launch a two-year Joint Programme for Food Security. The implementation of the programme activities has been conducted in close collaboration with the Niger Red Cross and also other organisations such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.

The programme aims to alleviate the suffering of food insecure communities in the country, protecting and developing methods for addressing their needs, and strengthening national resilience by improving preparedness for future crises. There is a wide range of activities being undertaken by the partnership, including the procurement and distribution of 1,000 tons of cereals to crisis-affected people, developing and supporting 100 collective gardening sites, ensuring market availability and accessibility of 5,379 tons of livestock food and cereals for affected agro-pastoral families, reinforcing 70 cereal banks, and supporting and strengthening the national capacity for resilience and food security.

By working with the civil society groups and partner National Societies in Mali and Niger, the Red Crescent has demonstrated its capacity to work with various stakeholders in the field, including traditional actors and emerging grassroots groups that may have an impact on the lives of vulnerable communities.

Through its work in Niger and Mali, the organization is placing local communities at the centre of its efforts to reduce risks to disasters and strengthen community resilience. It does so, in accordance with the Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, by adopting an ‘enhanced community-based disaster response approach,’ which involves engaging with new and traditional community-based organisations that reflect the population’s needs, aspirations and unique coping methods.