Sahel needs resilience-building aid programs

Donors are quicker this time to respond to the crisis in Africa’s Sahel region but their assistance still focuses on quick-term fixes and lacks longer-term impact, aid experts and agencies have noted.

Donors have pledged more than $150 million for relief efforts in the Sahel as of January, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Amadou Sow of OCHA’s Africa coordination division compared this with the “almost nothing” pledged by donors during the 2010 drought-induced famine.

A European humanitarian aid official told IRIN News donors appear keen to show they have learned their lessons from past crises in the Sahel and in East Africa. Cyprien Fabre, head of European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department in West Africa, noted that donors have shown more interest in the region in an attempt to “to make sure they don’t miss the opportunity to have a correct, coherent, quality response this time.”

But a huge funding gap remains despite the early aid pledges, and donors have yet to adopt a longer-term response to the Sahel crisis, aid experts said. According to Fabre, the argument for resilience-oriented assistance has “not been won yet.”

While there are some long-term, resilience-oriented programs supported by the European Union and the U.K. Department for International Development, these activities are not donors’ priorities in their responses,

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.