Situated in the heart of the Sahel, Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. A rise in cross-border attacks with non-state armed groups targeting armed forces and community leaders has led to a deterioration in the security situation. The country is also part of the migration route towards Northern Africa, and has received many refugees from Nigeria, Mali and lately from Burkina Faso. These aspects have combined to cause significant humanitarian needs in the country that the state has limited capacity to address.
Also situated in the Sahel, Burkina Faso has experienced an unprecedented rise in violence and humanitarian needs since early 2019. The number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in the country has rapidly increased as the government struggles to contain the incursions and attacks of non-state armed groups. In January 2019, there were approximately 20,000 IDPs. As of April 2020, it is estimated that there are more than 848,000 IDPs in the country. This increase is expected to continue over the following months.
In March 2019, NRC opened a country office in Niger aiming to respond to the humanitarian crisis in the country. Due to the emergency needs across the border in Burkina Faso, NRC initiated a response there in July 2019. We opened an office in Burkina Faso in August 2019 and started our emergency response in the Centre North region and later expanded into other provinces. Both countries are combined under one management in order to keep costs down and to facilitate synergies between the countries.
Our interventions include shelter, water sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education and livelihoods, and food security (LFS). In addition to this, there are opportunities to complement the response with information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA) in both countries, especially in Burkina Faso where we will provide support on housing, land and property (HLP) issues.
Livelihoods and food security
Our livelihoods team are:
- Supporting targeted households with income generating activities (IGAs) and reducing their negative coping mechanisms
- Improving access to food for the most vulnerable IDPs using the standard food ration value per household
- Looking into cash and market-based approaches across the multi-sectoral response
Shelter and settlements
Our shelter teams are:
- Providing essential household items such as lifesaving non-food items (NFIs) like kitchen sets, bedding, clothes, mosquito nets, etc.
- Providing complete shelter solutions either through temporary or transitional models (Sahelian adapted model)
- Conducting site-coordination activities, especially site planning, to enable the installation of shelters and minimum basic services, delivered by NRC or in coordination with other actors
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)
Our WASH teams:
- Promote good sanitation and hygiene in schools and communities and rehabilitate WASH infrastructures
Focusing on education in emergencies, we are:
- Supporting the formal system to increase hosting capacity for IDP children
- Providing adapted learning conditions to ensure the retention of students in schools
- Conducting awareness raising campaigns within the schools to promote inclusive education, enhance social cohesion and peaceful cohabitation between displaced and host community children
- Distributing education kits to improve the learning conditions of students
- Rehabilitating schools and classrooms
- Working to improve access to education in areas where schools are forcibly closed by armed groups, while protecting children from harm and promoting safe and inclusive learning environments
- Providing vocational trainings for marginalised youth while promoting apprenticeships, mentoring and career guidance
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
We are exploring options to start ICLA programmes in Burkina Faso and Niger.
- In Burkina Faso initial steps have been taken to start activities that complement our shelter programmes. This includes, securing tenure for displaced people and resolving different land issues related to displacement.
- In Niger, we will start a project in Maradi with UNHCR on the prevention of statelessness. The project will ensure that both Nigerian refugees and the Nigerien population living along the border have access to civil documentation.
Our camp management teams are:
- Supporting UNHCR with the coaching of partner organisations and capacity building on camp management within the Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) site in Niger
- We are also working with national NGOs who are UNHCR partners responsible for running the Hamdallayeh ETM site
Considering the fast deterioration of the humanitarian situation with new displacements occurring especially in Burkina Faso, we are implementing an effective first line response that is essential to saving lives. Within Maradi in Niger, we responded to the first wave of Nigerian refugees. We are looking to continue this emergency response with potential partnerships within Rapid Response Mechanism consortiums.
Our advoacy focusses on promoting initiatives that draw attention to this crisis in the first quarter of 2020, including issues relevant to the Sahel approach across different countries. We are working with various media outlets to promote the rights of affected populations and to increase the overall level of funding.
Market Based (Cash) Assistance
We are looking into the modality of market-based approaches across a multisectoral response. Market analyses will be conducted to enable the progressive introduction of cash transfer mechanism for both shelter and WASH responses. Currently, there are discussions with the World Food Programme for cash-based interventions in the Centre North region and potentially in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso.
Plans for scaling up
- Sahel region: an assessment has been carried out and NRC plans to intervene in the hardest to reach areas of the Sahel region, including Pensa, Foube and Dablo.
- NRC will expand into emergency water supply (ensuring longer-term solutions planning) and train communities on operation and maintenance. We will also supply maintenance kits to schools and public latrines.
- Tillabéri: Further expansion into areas bordering Mali and Burkina Faso, focusing on Ayourou department.
- Maradi: Planning is going into durable solutions, such as classroom construction in refugee resettlement areas and livelihood opportunities for youth in both refugee and vulnerable host population communities.
About nrc in Burkina Faso
Country DirectorManenji Mangundu
Phone+226 65524302 / +227 92016774
- Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
- Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
- The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
- Education Cannot Wait
- German Federal Foregin Office (GFFO)
- Centre for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP)
Covid-19 and conflict forced over 12 million children from school across Africa's Central Sahel region
A staggering 12 million children missed up to four months of school across Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger due to Covid-19 restrictions. Meanwhile, 776,000 children were prevented from attending school the entire year due to insecurity, new figures by the Norwegian Refugee Council have revealed.
A record one million displaced by violence in Burkina Faso amid Covid-19
Armed violence has displaced one million people in Burkina Faso since the crisis began, resulting in some of the worst crimes including murders, kidnappings and bombings perpetrated against civilians, many of whom are children. The unprecedented levels of displacement occurred as the coronavirus pandemic worsens an already critical humanitarian crisis in the violence-stricken country.
Military intervention alone will fail to solve the Sahel crisis
President Emmanuel Macron invited the five G5 West African leaders to the French city of Pau in January to shore up support for international engagement in restive Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. All agreed that more European security support was needed to counter violent extremism in the Central Sahel.