9.7 million people are projected to be food insecure from June to August 2022 in the Central Sahel. Some of the root causes of the food insecurity in the region include poverty and inequality, poor governance, and heavy dependency on food imports. Children experiences on food insecurity are unique and their protection and well-being are directly affected by food instability. Reduced number of daily meals leads to high malnutrition rates, poor health, poor child development, and high child mortality rates. They become more vulnerable and might resort negative coping strategies including child labor, recruitment by armed forces and armed groups, abuse, and sexual exploitation.
In addition, when families face mounting food insecurity, girls are increasingly called upon to care for younger siblings so parents can work or seek food, forcing them to miss or drop out of school. Loss of access to education jeopardizes girls’ protection, and increases their exposure to GBV and other harmful practices including child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation. It also undermines their long-term wellbeing and future prospects.
Plan International is addressing the worsening food crisis, by scaling up responses such as food distributions, cash and voucher assistance, school meals, malnutrition screening and nutrition supplementation. In addition to lifesaving interventions, Plan International is stepping up livelihood protection and support activities such as livestock supplementary feeding, seed and other agriculture input provision.
With its special emphasis on preventing and tackling the distinct impact of food insecurity on girls, adolescent girls and youth, Plan International also focuses on gender responsive child protection, GBV prevention, early childhood development and sexual and reproductive health and rights services and for critical school feeding programmes. To implement the food security component of our humanitarian response, we need an additional 8 million euros. Time to act is Now! We hope you enjoy reading this overview and look forward to receiving your comments and questions.