Friday, February 21, 2014

Mauritania fertile ground for Arab donors

IRIN: Drought-prone, chronically hungry Mauritania, with the help of the UN, is reaching out to Arab donors, encouraging them to reach beyond their customary role in development and engage in humanitarian response.

Traditional humanitarian donors are largely members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC). But non-traditional, non-DAC donors’ contributions to humanitarian financing have been increasing in recent years. And with many Western donors cutting budgets amid fears of another recession, the Gulf region has gained influence in aid, especially in countries with large Muslim populations.

In early February, a group of Arab donors visited the food-insecure regions of Brakna and Gorgol, a trip organized by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Gogol and Brakna are severely food insecure. According to the most recent study, from December 2011, acute malnutrition rates surpassed the World Health Organization’s emergency threshold, at 11.7 percent in Gorgol and 12.5 percent in Brakna.

The World Food Programme (WFP), with its partner NGO Au Secours, is targeting 7,000 households across the region with cash transfers of 20,000 ouguiyas per month. It has 120 households on its books in Guosse Village in Brakna.

Chief of Guosse, Sidi Brahim Ould Samba, told IRIN his village, “like so many others, lacks everything… access to water, education and health." Even with ongoing help from the government, WFP, NGOs and other donors, it is never enough to move them much beyond survival, he said...

A valley in Mauritania, shot by c.hug, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license 

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