IOM Combats Food Insecurity in Mauritania
Mauritania - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched a project funded by the Government of the United States, to combat food insecurity and increase livelihood opportunities for host communities and Malian refugees in the Bassiknou department of the Hodh Ech Chargui region of southeast Mauritania.
The harsh climate, droughts and floods that regularly hit the area heavily affect livestock and agricultural production, making life extremely hard for the local population. Considering the population’s dependency on the agro-pastoral sector to support their livelihoods, these drastic environmental changes result in persistent severe food and nutritional crises. In addition, the outbreak of the Malian crisis and the creation of the M’bera refugee camp have added considerable pressure on the already fragile surrounding environment.
“With a population of nearly 88,000 inhabitants, the influx of an additional 50,000 Malian refugees creates a considerable challenge for the residents of Bassiknou. This creates competition between the host communities and the refugees for limited firewood, water and pasture resources,” explained Anke Strauss, Chief of Mission, IOM Mauritania. “Also, it has caused a significant increase in the cost of basic items as demands are considerably overriding supply.”
Since the beginning of the month, IOM is implementing a community stabilization project that aims to safeguard and increase agricultural resources by enhancing production of diversified and high quality food products, improving livestock breeding, and strengthening community dialogue in order to avoid conflicts between host communities and refugees.
The 12-month, USD 700,000 project, “Combating food insecurity and increasing livelihood opportunities for Malian refugees and host communities in Hodh Ech Chargui, Mauritania”, is funded by the Government of the United States and implemented in close cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and other humanitarian partners. The project will assist up to 1,000 direct beneficiaries and 2,000 indirect beneficiaries, at least half of which will be Malian refugees.
This project allows IOM Mauritania to leverage its significant experience in community stabilization and conflict prevention gained through previous projects funded by the Government of Japan and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to increase food security through agricultural diversity projects.
Through this new project, IOM and its partners will continue to increase the livelihood opportunities for vulnerable refugees and host communities to mitigate food security threats, and to prevent conflict and rural emigration.