Arlington, VA (Nov. 20, 2012) — Counterpart International distributed 1.2 metric tons of emergency food rations in Niger in response to a government request to aid nearly 62,000 victims of severe flooding.
With the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the global nonprofit delivered vegetable oil, bulgur, and corn-soy blend to 23,419 people, with special focus on pregnant and lactating women.
The food reached people in three eastern provinces who had lost their homes or livestock during August rains that left houses collapsed and rice fields underwater.
“This emergency response will ease their suffering and shore up their losses so that they’re able to carry on with the harvest and go into the next season,” says Counterpart program manager Marcus Cleveland. Read more about Counterpart International’s humanitarian work.
Counterpart worked with the affected communities after the disaster to identify the most vulnerable households that needed help getting food, and carried out the distribution from Oct.1 to 24.
It provided food to 5,739 flood victims at distribution centers in Goure, Goudoumaria and Maine Soroa. Counterpart also handed out food to 17,680 pregnant and lactating women at health centers where it has ongoing maternal and child nutrition projects as part of a food security development program.
Communities used donkey carts previously donated by Counterpart to help transport the large bags of supplies back to their villages. On the day of the distribution, volunteers from the communities worked as distribution agents to assist the nonprofit. The rations are enough to last recipients one month.
USAID, which supports Counterpart’s ongoing food security program in Niger, approved Counterpart’s humanitarian response as part of a larger response by fellow aid organizations and the Niger government.
Long road to recovery
With 500 hectares of rice fields ruined and hundreds of mud brick homes partially or completely destroyed in the provinces where Counterpart works, a long-term approach will be needed to help rebuild the lives of those affected.
But recovery may take several years, according to Cleveland. Between harvesting those crops that weren’t destroyed, rebuilding houses and recouping lost assets such as livestock, families will struggle to fully recoup the time, resources, and wealth lost in this disaster.
Many communities in Niger are in chronic recovery mode due to shocks like droughts that come more and more frequently.
“With climate change, the cycles are coming faster and faster, and the time to recover is getting shorter and shorter,” says Cleveland.
Under the ongoing development program that began in Niger in 2008, Counterpart collaborates with communities so they may become more resilient to floods, drought and other natural disasters by preventing malnutrition, increasing and diversifying agricultural productivity, building capacity for managing cereal banks and providing education on maternal and child health.
It also works to restore natural resources and wetlands by introducing new crops and training farmers on improved planting and harvesting methods, crop protection, post-harvest handling, and storage, and by providing them with irrigation equipment and technology. Read more about the program hereand about Counterpart International’s food security and nutritionwork.
Counterpart works with communities in Niger and in 22 other countries around the world to identify and address their development needs and builds the capacity of local organizations to carry on the work after internationally-funded programs end.
Counterpart International helps people build better lives and more durable futures, community by community. For 50 years, Counterpart has been an innovator, changing the way people look at, and solve, global development challenges. Today, we are working with more than 3,500 local organizations, and more than 150,000 leaders — including women and youth — in 24 countries around the world. Learn more atcounterpart17.wpengine.com.