August 05, 2005 11:46 ET

CIDA/Canada Boosts Aid for Niger and the Sahel Region

MARADI, NIGER--(CCNMatthews - Aug. 5, 2005) - The Honourable Aileen Carroll, Minister of International Cooperation, today announced that Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), will increase its contribution by $10 million to fight malnutrition and hunger in the Sahel region of Africa, including Niger. The Minister made the announcement while on a fact-finding mission to Niger. This brings CIDA's support to the region to a total of $18.6 million.

"I am here today because Canadians are deeply concerned about the food crisis created by the locust invasion and drought in the Sahel," Minister Carroll said. "CIDA and its partners are working hard to provide needed assistance to the people affected by this growing nutrition and health crisis in the region."

The funds announced today will be distributed as follows:

- $6 million to support UNICEF's immediate aim of treating an
estimated 32,000 children suffering from severe malnutrition and
160,000 children suffering from moderate malnutrition;

- $2 million for the World Food Programme's (WFP) emergency
operation to assist over 2.5 million people in Niger, and;

- $2 million will be made available to Canadian non-governmental
organizations to assist families affected by the current food
crisis to get back in self-sufficiency.

"We may need to look at how the international early warning system can be improved to avoid such crises," added Minister Carroll. "In addition, CIDA will be working closely with Niger, as a partner country, to help build its capacity to sustain its food supply and alleviate poverty over the longer term."

Last month, Canada contributed $2 million to the WFP and provided $100,000 for local emergency response through the Canadian Embassy in Niger. In August 2004, Canada gave $6.5 million to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in an early effort to mitigate the invasion of desert locusts in the Sahel region of Africa which includes the countries of Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal and Mauritania.

Funding for this initiative was provided for in the February 2005 federal budget and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.



Niger, which was identified as one of Canada's Development
Partners in April 2005, is an important development partner for
Canada and it is currently facing a severe food crisis. Drought
and an invasion of desert locusts caused serious damage to
pastures and led to a 225,000 tonne grain deficit in the 2004-2005
harvest. The food crisis threatens some 3.5 million people in
close to 3,000 villages. The rest of the Sahel region (Senegal,
Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger) has also been affected.
Poverty afflicts 63% of Niger's population, the vast majority
(83%) of which lives in rural areas. Social indicators, such as
health and education, are among the world's lowest. Life
expectancy is 48 years. Fewer than two in three people have access
to clean drinking water. As for education, 83% of the people do
not know how to read or write. Barely one in three children goes
to primary school. Canada, through the Canadian International
Development Agency, (CIDA) is working to make a difference in the
lives of the people in Niger.

Through its programs, CIDA supports Niger in improving access to basic education, controlling HIV/AIDS, developing micro-credit, strengthening civil society, and providing primary health training. CIDA also supports efforts to combat desertification and to adapt to climate change.


Humanitarian Relief:

Canada's response to the food crisis:

Today's announcement brings Canada's contribution to help fight hunger in the region to $18.6 million. We have provided funding through the World Food Programme's Emergency Operation in Niger, to UNICEF and to Canadian non-governmental organizations. Canada is among those who did not ignore the early warning signs of the crisis. In an effort to mitigate the problem, last year we gave $6.5M to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization for locust control measures in Niger and the Sahel Region. Canada will continue to assess and respond to the evolving needs, in close consultation with other donors, UN agencies, the Red Cross movement, and non-governmental organizations.

Basic Education in Niger:

Recent and completed projects:

- Support in educating girls: contributed to the education of girls
in Niger by providing institutional support for the Ministry of
Basic Education and Literacy and also helped to build the
capacities of school partners (2000-2004).

- Support in rehabilitating and equiping school infrastructure:
improved teaching and learning conditions by rehabilitating and
about 260 classrooms in three departments of Niger (2001-2003).

Current projects:

- Basic education coordination: aims to help implement Niger's
basic education policy, as well as the objectives and results of
Niger's ten-year education development program and activities
designed to improve access to basic education, enhance the
quality of education, and build the institutional capacities of
the Ministry of Basic Education and Literacy.

- Non-formal education development support: aims to help improve
the quality and quantity of non-formal education provided, by
helping to implement Niger's Non-formal Education Development
Plan. This support focusses on building the capacities of
partners, establishing a framework for partnership and
consultation, and setting up a fund to support non-formal
literacy activities.


Canada views such emergencies as Niger is now facing as more than
just a food emergency because malnutrition makes children far more
susceptible to a range of diseases. Malaria is a major killer of
children in all parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Initiatives include:

- Program to combat malaria in Africa: CIDA, through the Canadian
Red Cross, has provided $20 million for the purchase of long-
lasting insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria in Sub-
Saharan Africa. Of this amount, approximately $1.3 million is
being used to purchase 175,000 long-lasting nets for Niger, which
will protect at least 200,000 children and can be expected to
save the lives of more than 3100 children under the age of five.
The nets will be distributed free of charge as part of an
integrated child health initiative which will also provide
measles and polio immunization and vitamin A supplementation

- Accelerated Child Survival and Development Program: CIDA has
provided $26 million to a UNICEF program targeting eleven West
African countries, including Niger (approximately $1.8 million
for Niger). This program has helped to achieve a 10% reduction
in under-five mortality rate across the eleven countries, saving
more than 12,500 children annually. It also helped to increase
access to basic preventive health services such as immunization,
vitamin A supplementation and ante-natal clinic attendance, as
well as increasing the use of insecticide treated bednets by
women and children (2001-2004).

- Fighting HIV/AIDS: aims to increase the skill sets of the
"Syndicat national de l'education du Niger" (National union for
the education of Niger)'s team of trainers in the fields of
health education and the prevention of HIV/AIDS and sexually
transmitted infections. This training will allow them to relay
their knowledge to secondary and post-secondary teachers and
students-two of the African groups the most affected by these
pandemic diseases. In addition, a lesson plan on HIV/AIDS will be
in integrated into the country's educational programs.

- Galmi AIDS Project: will address local HIV/AIDS issues through an
AIDS awareness program in the local Galmi Hospital. This project
supports and equips volunteers who educate the wider community on
this matter. The project also provides counseling-within an
appropriate cultural context-to those who are already infected
and to the general public. Educational tools continue to be
developed to address topics such as: human sexuality and gender,
HIV transmission, the needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS, the
role of the family and society in the care of the sick, and, the
widowed and the orphaned. In addition, blood screening is also

Poverty reduction in Niger:

- Local poverty reduction support fund: supports the implementation
of Niger's sector-wide social policies: health and nutrition,
basic education, water and sanitation, and HIV/AIDS prevention
and control ($4.1M / 2001-2005).

Gender equality in Niger:

- Support for women's entrepreneurship: helps to improve the living
conditions of women in Niger and their families. The project
supports the development of women's entrepreneurship and a
savings and credit union owned by women in Niger ($4M / 1998-

Climate change in the Sahel region:

- Support for climate change adaptation capacity: supports the
Regional Training Centre for Agrometeorology and Operational
Hydrology and their Applications and its partners, especially in
vulnerability analysis and development of adaptation strategies
($5M / 2001-2005).

For more information on CIDA's development aid to Niger and the Sahel region, please visit:

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    France Bureau
    Press Secretary
    (819) 953-6238
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office
    (819) 953-6534 (electronic version of document)