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Research, Policy and Practice

Table 3 Community actions taken and external assistance received in coping with drought in the study sites

From: Participatory analysis of vulnerability to drought in three agro-pastoral communities in the West African Sahel

Site Community action Effect Government assistance Effect Assistance from NGOs Effect
Fakara Sales of livestock to buy grains, harvesting of wild plants for food, working as casual labourers in nearby towns, help from relations, sales of household properties Not really effective in coping with severe droughts Food aid - few bags of millet, sorghum, and maize were given to each household and few bottles of cooking oil Very effective in coping but not regular None None
Gabi Harvesting of wild plants for food, sales of livestock to buy grains, migration of young men to work in Nigeria, help from relations, and sales of household properties Not effective when faced with severe droughts Food aid - few bags of sorghum and maize were given to each household and few bottles of cooking oil and biscuits. One bag of wheat flour and few bags of rice were distributed to each household during the drought of 2005 along with powder milk and salt Very effective in coping but most households sold the bags of rice and wheat flour to buy sorghum MSF (Médecins Sans Frontière) distributed powder milk, bottles of cooking oil, and fortified biscuits. Malnourished children were fed at MSF feeding centre Very effective
Zermou Harvesting of wild plants for food, hunting of wild animals, sales of livestock to buy grains, migration of young men to work in Nigeria, and borrowing from people in the community to buy grains Effective when the drought was not severe Food aid - few bags of sorghum, groundnut, and cowpea were given to each household and few bottles of cooking oil and biscuits. The state also gave loan to some households to buy food Very effective Food aids from the World Food Programme and Catholic Relief Service Very effective