The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is expanding support for food-insecure people and acutely malnourished children in Niger. USAID has committed more than $105 million in humanitarian assistance to date in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010.
In response to alerts from early warning systems and field assessments as early as October 2009, USAID began to procure U.S. food aid in November 2009. When later assessments indicated increased needs, USAID increased funding for emergency programs supporting food security, nutrition, agriculture, and economic recovery and market systems and drew on the resources of the newly authorized Emergency Food Security Program to provide grants to the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) and non-governmental organizations for local or regional procurement of food commodities and/or the use of food vouchers.
To address the food needs of up to 8 million Nigeriens over the next 5 months, USAID has contributed more than $47 million in emergency food assistance, including in-kind food aid and funding for the local and regional purchase of food aid. USAID’s assistance will help cover a majority of the estimated needs to support current WFP emergency operations in Niger.
USAID is increasing efforts to treat, mitigate, and prevent acute malnutrition among children in Niger under the age of five. USAID-funded nutrition programs, targeting approximately 1 million children and pregnant and lactating women, include support for community management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) initiatives, malnutrition screening, data collection and analysis, and the purchase of ready-to-use therapeutic foods and essential medicines.
USAID is also supporting economic recovery and market systems initiatives to increase household purchasing power, targeting an estimated 215,000 households in Niger through the provision of small cash grants and support for cash-for-work programs. With money to spend in local markets, Nigeriens are able to purchase food and restore assets sold or traded for food, helping to prevent or mitigate populations from adopting negative coping mechanisms, such as reducing food intake and eating difficult-to-digest wild foods, during the current hunger season. To help increase the likelihood of an adequate harvest during the September 2010 season, USAID has also provided support for agriculture and food security programs that provide agricultural supplies – such as seeds and tools – to farmers in affected areas.
The United States remains committed to helping the people of Niger in their time of need. In FY 2009, USAID provided more than $23 million in response to the global food price crisis in Niger, supporting nutrition, agriculture and food security, and economic recovery and market systems interventions, and emergency food assistance.