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West Africa: Where we're working

Extreme weather, poor harvests, high food prices and a lack of pasture caused serious suffering for communities across the Sahel region in 2012.

In response to the crisis, Oxfam has supported over 1.1 million people in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. Oxfam provided food and seed distributions, agricultural support, livestock vaccinations, community projects, cash transfers, and water, sanitation, and hygiene activities ranging from well rehabilitation and hygiene kit distributions to hygiene promotion activities.

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Burkina Faso

In Burkina Faso we have reached 239,000 people so far. Our work on water and sanitation has included constructing and rehabilitating of boreholes, wells and pumps for safe water provision, distributing hygiene kits, and setting up water management committees, as well as working with communities to increase awareness of hygiene practices. We supported communities with cash for work payments and other cash transfers, which reached 239,000 people. We also carried out seed distributions, livestock vaccinations and food distributions.

We have helped 77,000 refugees with water provision, sanitation, and hygiene promotion to prevent the spread of disease in camps.


In Chad we have supported 284,172 people.

In Guera, our work includes paying community members with cash and food for rehabilitating local infrastructure including wells and latrines. We are also providing food and cash transfers to buy essential items, and supporting people to grow and sell vegetables through our gardening projects.

We are also supporting people in Sila and in Bar El Gazal where our work has included providing vouchers for food and animal vaccinations, as well as rehabilitating local water points and canals, and activities to help improve hygiene practices. We are now also providing livelihoods grants to vulnerable communities.


In Mali, Oxfam has been assisting 135,423 people. We have supported communities in Kayes, in the west of the country, with cash transfers, food vouchers, seed distributions and other essential items, as well as livestock vaccinations and food. We have also been rehabilitating water points and doing hygiene sensitisation activities. Despite the difficult security situation due to the conflict, teams have also been able to deliver some assistance to communities near Gao in the north of the country, mainly in the form of food distributions and hygiene kits.

As part of the recovery phase of our response, the focus has shifted to longer term activities, such as community projects (grain stores, seed banks, livestock vaccination facilities), cash grants to support livelihoods, support to gardening groups and help to local traders. These activities aim to enable recovery and reduce people's vulnerability to future crises.

We continue to work with tens of thousands of refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries from conflict in Mali.


We have been working since January 2012 to assist some of the poorest families affected by the drought, mainly around the Gorgol and Brakhna regions. We have also been supporting refugees from Mali, in Mbera camp. So far 57,871 people have received assistance.

In order to sustain livelihoods and increase access to food we have been providing cash transfers, food distributions, and cash-for-work activities. We are rehabilitating and building wells to ensure communities have access to safe water.

We have provided latrines, water and water treatment, and washing facilities for refugees living in Mbera Camp. Our public health and hygiene activities include hygiene kit distributions and family public health awareness sessions. Our teams are working with host communities, supporting access to safe water and training water management committees.


Niger faced two major crises in the last year - the food crisis and major flooding that hit the country as a result of heavy rains. So far Oxfam has reached 371,439 people with much needed food distributions, cash transfers, subsidies for livestock food, and payments to individuals for their work on the rehabilitation of agricultural land.

Oxfam has also been distributing hygiene kits, cooking kits and livelihoods kits, and supporting gardening groups. Cereal banks are also being rebuilt so that grain can be stored and distributed to local communities, and grants have been given for communities to purchase cattle.

Water and sanitation work has also begun; teams are rehabilitating water points and training up water committees.


In Senegal, Oxfam has reached 44,000 people in Kolda and Kedougou regions, supporting vulnerable populations with cash transfers to meet their basic needs and protect their assets.

We also have community outreach workers promoting hygiene, distributing hygiene kits and carrying out continued assessment of the situation, to help reduce the risk of water borne illness. Work to rehabilitate community water points is also now under way.

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