Escaping the Hunger Cycle

Pathways to resilience in the Sahel

Publication date: 15 November 2011
Author: Peter Gubbels, Groundswell International

This report by the Sahel Working Group discusses the chronic food and nutrition crisis across countries in the Sahel. It looks at the promising changes since 2005, what still failed in the 2010 response, and contains strong recommendations on how to follow the 'pathways to resilience'.

It guides decision makers to strengthen preparedness, early response and rural livelihoods; and emphasize policies on social protection, disaster risk reduction, malnutrition and food price volatility.

The report is based on interviews with over 70 practitioners, researchers, representatives from donors, governments and the UN, as well as field visits in Niger and Chad, and relevant literature and reports.

The Sahel Working Group (SWG) is an informal inter-agency network based in the UK, focusing mainly on Niger, Mali, Chad and Burkina Faso. It was formed to identify and implement solutions to the chronic vulnerability and hunger of communities, as highlighted by the chronic food crises in 2005 and 2010. The commissioning agencies of this report are Oxfam GB, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Plan UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision.

Key recommendations

  • Strengthen preparedness and early response.
  • Design national policies and implement programs for social protection that meet the needs of most vulnerable and poorest people.
  • Boost rural livelihoods in marginal or degraded agricultural areas through sustainable intensification of food production using agro-ecological techniques, and in pastoral areas, through support for animal health, production and marketing.
  • Develop and apply a regional Disaster Risk Reduction strategy in the Sahel.
  • Support coordinated, multi-sectoral investments to achieve sustainable reduction in level of child malnutrition.
  • Address market failures and price volatility.