The 2015/2016 global El Niño event is considered to be one of the strongest on record. As of August 2016, close to 24 million people in East Africa have been facing critical and emergency food insecurity levels. In Sudan as well the event was associated with low and erratic rainfalls which lead to crop failures in many localities. During February 2016, the government of Sudan and the humanitarian community sought nearly 3.5 million people would need support.
COOPI with fund received from ECHO is implementing a multi sector project in North Darfur since July 2016. The principal objective of the action is to contribute to the provision of life-saving basic services while enhancing local response and preparedness capacities. This is expected to be achieved by restoring access to safe water and appropriate hygiene and sanitation practices; by protecting livelihood of El Niño affected population and by enhancing emergency preparedness capacities to withstand natural and manmade hazards.
The livelihood component of the project aims to address the immediate food gap of affected households and prevent negative coping strategies through food assistance and nutrition education where as in the mean time focusing on core livelihood asset protection activities including livestock vaccination, animal feed distribution and improving water access to livestock.
To address the immediate food gaps, cash based intervention through cash voucher modality has been implemented reaching 1140 householders in order to enable beneficiaries to cover their basic food needs for three consecutive months during the peak lean season.
Gisma witnesses the positive impact of the programme in improving food consumption and diversity, safety, debt reduction and community solidarity through sharing.
“Children don’t ask for food to their father. They ask their mother. With not much to eat at home, thinking about how to get the next meal is not easy. I used to travel days to collect fire wood in order to buy food for my children. But it is never enough and when we are not able to sell we don’t eat”
Through the programme more than 210,000 euros have been injected to allow community to adapt and recover from the crises while supporting the local economy. The CBI has also provided additional benefits apart from its primary objective of addressing the food gap. Positive changes or perception of changes have been noted and reported in regard to reducing stress and conflict at HH, school attendance and improving safety of women. Further more interesting results in debt reduction and improved access to loans are also reported.
North Darfur has complex and chronic humanitarian situations. Properly designed cash based intervention could prove as viable solution to blanket status-based intervention in terms of providing a targeted response in various sectors while supporting a local economy and perhaps contributing to the recovery process of Darfur.