West Africa’s Sahel is an arid band stretching 1.1 million square miles. Made up of four countries—Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, and Niger—this zone’s mix of deeply rooted chronic poverty, food insecurity, limited rainfall, and recurrent drought drive the same vulnerable communities into crisis year after year.
In 2012, the Sahel experienced its third harsh drought in a decade, throwing more than 18 million people into severe food insecurity and a nutrition crisis, many of whom had barely recovered from the region’s food crises of 2008 and 2010. The Sahel faces high childhood malnutrition and underdevelopment. At the start of 2015, more than 20 million people experienced food insecurity and nearly 6 million children suffered from malnutrition. T. One poor harvest can push millions of the most vulnerable from severe risk into a humanitarian crisis.
Following repeated large-scale humanitarian emergencies in the Sahel, USAID recognized that treating recurrent crises as acute emergencies is extremely costly and does not effectively address their underlying causes. In response, USAID’s Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE) Initiative realigned existing and new humanitarian and development assistance efforts to strengthen resilience in agro-pastoral and marginal agriculture livelihood zones of the Sahel.
USAID/Senegal’s Sahel Regional Office leads the RISE Initiative, which aims to address the root causes of persistent vulnerability in a targeted zone of intervention in Niger and Burkina Faso. RISE works to achieve its goals through a set of USAID development and humanitarian assistance projects and activities.
Activities with a WASH component include: Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel–Enhanced Resilience, a multi-sectoral resilience project, and the Sahel Resilience Learning Project that bolsters collaboration, learning, and adaptation across the entire RISE platform.