Why Resilience in the Sahel is Crucial

Why Resilience in the Sahel is CrucialResilience is the ability of a family or community to survive shocks without going into financial ruin or facing hunger. In the case of the Sahel region in Africa, the shock that they must face every few years is drought. After three droughts in seven years, it becomes harder and harder for the citizens of the region to return to normalcy each time. Some of the consequences of these disasters are parents having to pull their children out of school, downgrades in the quality and amount of food they eat and going into debt. Resilience in the Sahel is a necessary part of solving these problems.

The key principle of resilience is to implement structures in the community that will last. There are no quick solutions because temporary cures will not stand up to the scrutiny of traumas over many years. Resilience in the Sahel will not only have to find a way to survive the drought this year but for the next decades to come in order to be truly successful.

As of now, there are two main interventions that organizations attempt to implement. The first, increased agriculture production, consists of assisting the farmers in the area to produce more and better quality stock from what they have. Unfortunately, this tactic only helps the large and medium farmers to stay afloat and not the rest of the community. The second tactic, social safety nets, is believed to help more of the marginalized people in a community. Social safety nets are finances provided to a single household that is in need to get them enough nutritious food.

In order for resilience in the Sahel to work, there needs to be a long commitment to the region. A five-year plan will be insufficient. Ten to twenty years are necessary to implement all of the best tactics and to make sure that they actually help the community to recover enough that they escape from the cycle of shock and bankruptcy.

 – Sean Morales

Source: The Guardian