Over the past five years, the tri-border area of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger has become a significant hotspot for multiple crises, causing uncertainty in rural communities. The Sahel region has been marked by recurring periods of drought, leading to food and nutritional insecurity. Additionally, there have been repeated pastoral crises, resulting in a decline in livestock. Other crises associated with the rise in armed conflicts have led to numerous human rights violations.

The resurgence of conflicts between populations is exacerbated by the presence of armed groups. This includes threats of unconventional incendiary devices, attacks on settlements and villages, killings, livestock theft, and abductions. This has led to a massive displacement of the population to safer urban centers, increasing the need for humanitarian assistance and highlighting the vulnerability of displaced persons and host communities.

Due to the ever-rising scale and evolution of these crises, the humanitarian and security initiatives implemented by the authorities and their partners struggle to address the challenges in the region. Given this critical situation, VSF-Suisse and its partner Réseau Billital Maroobé (RBM) have mobilized to find an appropriate response to the major challenges faced by livestock breeders and agropastoralists.

Our 36-months “Ensemble, Espérons” project aims to strengthen the resilience of communities and institutions in Liptako-Gourma. The project is funded by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA). It will be implemented in nine municipalities within the tri-border area. The goal is to sustainably improve the livelihoods of vulnerable populations by enhancing their resilience to food and nutritional insecurity. Additionally, the project aims to support communities and local institutions in conflict prevention to strengthen social cohesion. This is done through the implementation of the Triple-NEXUS approach, which combines humanitarian aid, development cooperation, and peacebuilding. which combines humanitarian aid, development cooperation, and peacebuilding.

The Humanitarian activities

Initial humanitarian support mainly focused on the distribution of animals, animal feed, as well as food for human consumption. In Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, a total of 500 vulnerable households were identified and supported, totaling 4,082 individuals (3,902 women and 180 men). In total, 1,455 goats, 14 tons of animal feed, and 7.5 tons of rice were distributed.

The humanitarian aid was positively received by all the project stakeholders. It enabled the development of livelihoods through the practice of controlled economic activities, ensuring economic recovery and resilience for the project participants.

Makata Walet Jarou, 53, internally displaced and widowed, received goats in the city of Gao:

I have been involved in livestock farming since my youth. But all the family possessions were destroyed due to the insecurity in my hometown of N’Tillit. Thanks to the distribution of livestock by the “Ensemble, Espérons” project, I was able to build a small herd of sheep and goats. The females gave birth. My children have milk every day and are healthier. I sell the surplus milk. The income from milk sales and the sale of the males allows me to buy vaccines and feed for my animals. I am very happy because I can meet some of the daily needs of my family.

Previously, the host communities were suspicious of me solely because of my ethnicity, but I have since built trusting relationships with my neighbors and the animal feed vendors. My wish now is to join a milk processing group.“

Boulabassi Coumaré
Partnership and Capitalization Assistant
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