The crisis in the Sahel
by Humanitarian Practice Network October 2012

The special feature of this issue of Humanitarian Exchange focuses on the humanitarian crisis in the Sahel region of Africa, where aid agencies estimate that more than 18 million people are affected by food insecurity.

  • In the lead article Peter Gubbels argues that the main cause of this crisis is not drought or a food shortage but a ‘resilience deficit’ which has left vulnerable people unprotected against shocks like rain failure and exceptionally high food prices. Northern Mali has been hit doubly hard by a poor harvest in 2011, followed by political unrest and violence in 2012.
  • In his article, Jean-Nicolas Marti explains how the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is working to improve access to people in need in northern Mali by promoting acceptance of humanitarian principles among belligerents there.
  • Authors Amanda Farrant and Jeff Woodke explain how NGOs are helping communities to build resilience in Burkina Faso and Niger
  • Nanthilde Kamara, Madeleine Evrard Diakite, Emily Henderson and Camilla Knox-Peebles look at Emergency Market Mapping Analysis (EMMA) in Chad.
  • Zahairou Mamane Sani, Andrea Stewart and Caroline Draveny illustrate the benefits of coordinated needs assessments in Niger
  • Ousmane Niang, Véronique Mistycki and Soukeynatou Fall review the impact of social safety nets in promoting behaviour change.
  • Finally, Jessica Saulle, Nicola Hypher and Nick Martlew highlight the ways in which Household Economy Analysis can improve social protection programming.

Articles in the policy and practice section focus on:

  • ‘humanitarian space’ in India and Burma
  • lessons learned from a multi-agency IDP Vulnerability Assessment and Profiling (IVAP) project in Pakistan
  • experiences of training and supporting ‘Skilled Volunteers’ in Bangladesh
  • progress in the implementation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction policies and protocols in Nepal.
  • We end the issue in East Africa with articles discussing the results of a programme monitoring cash and voucher transfers in Somalia and a Transparency International study examining corruption in food assistance in the 2011 drought response in Kenya.