The Sahel is the arid zone south of the Sahara desert, and it’s home to many small-scale farmers and nomadic herding communities.
Irregular rains in 2009 led to a severe lack of pasture, water and poor harvests the following year across several West African countries.
Worst hit was Niger. Here the harvest fell by 26 percent as compared with the previous year, and some areas, including Tillabéry in the west, had no harvest at all. It meant millions were in desperate need of food.
In the most vulnerable regions of the country, Oxfam not only distributed supplies to the poorest households, but provided over 800 tonnes of feed to support livestock and helped herders retain their animals and rebuild their herds.
It included supporting families like Mariama Mangari's by selling animals at a reduced rate, along with their feed, and ensuring that they have a clean bill of health. Her couple of goats helped to provide fertiliser, milk and, within 12 months or so, several kids.
A previous recipient of Oxfam goats, Hadiza Dazao, was also enthusiastic about the scheme: "I cannot thank Oxfam enough for giving my family this chance. It will make a difference for us to have these goats."
Although the emergency is over, Oxfam continues to work to increase people's resistance to drought, and reduce their vulnerability in the future.