Building resilience across communities in Senegal

Publicado: 14 junio 2013 10:53 CET

By Katie Robinson, Canadian Red Cross

As in other countries across the Sahel, the lack of rainfall during 2011 left parts of Senegal facing food insecurity. This was particularly detrimental for livestock in the lean period just before the rains. In this West African country, it is estimated that some 850,000 people were directly affected by the lack of food, and 2.5 million people were affected indirectly.

The Senegalese Red Cross Society, with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), responded to the crisis and, over the course of the following year, supported 499,000 people with food, animal feed and cash distributions. This was crucial, particularly during the lean season, when they needed most help.

The goal has been to minimize the impact of food shortages on households after last year’s poor harvest, whilst also supporting the approach of providing emergency assistance, livelihoods protection and recovery activities alongside each other in order to increase the ability of households to cope when times are tough.

It is an approach that appears to be working.

Khoudga Fall is a 43-year-old mother of 12 from Saint-Louis, located in the north-western region of Senegal. The drought meant she was unable to feed her family and she was struggling to afford other expenses, such as health and school fees.

“The Red Cross is the only organization that we have seen in the community. I don’t know what I would have done if they didn’t show up,” says Fall.

“They provided me with food and cash. This assistance permitted me to feed my family – it is because of them that we no longer have to worry about how we are going to eat.”