The Caisses de Résilience approach in the Sahel - a new opportunity to strengthen livelihoods and improve food and nutrition security

The Caisses de Résilience approach in the Sahel - a new opportunity to strengthen livelihoods and improve food and nutrition security


In the north of the region of Segou in Mali, Sanihan lives in the village of Baramadougou, with thirteen other members of her family. A few weeks before the harvest and as their food supply is exhausted, she explains: "My husband is working in the field, and it is up to us, the women, to find money to feed the family at this time of the year. We sometimes go as far as 20 kilometers from here, on the banks of the Bani River, to find plants we use to make incense, and sell it to the market".

Each year, the lean season is a major challenge for Sanihan. She even explains that last year, faced with the difficulties she was encountering, she had envisaged to leave her village and settle in the capital Bamako. "But I thought of my children, who are still so young, and I didn’t go". She adds: "But today I no longer worry about the end of the lean season or about what will happen next year, as we are engaging in new activities, which will make us stronger in trying times".

This year, Sanihan enrolled in FAO's Caisses de Résilience program which aims to improve the food and nutrition security of vulnerable populations in Burkina Faso and Mali by strengthening the resilience of their livelihoods.

During the lean season, FAO support materialized in the provision of seeds coupled with cash transfers. According to Sanihan, this assistance brought a huge change in the life of the family compared to previous years, as repeated droughts had undermined their seed stock. For the first time in the last five years, they could plant their whole plot: "the harvest will certainly be enough to have food reserves for many months".

"With the 50,000 FCFA received (nearly 75 Euros), I bought millet and I will also buy goats. Once they have given birth, I can resell them if I need money. Children also need clothes, I can buy them,’ she proudly says. 'And I know that if we manage properly the aid we receive, we can do better in the future".

She also welcomed the new windows of opportunity offered to her. Sanihan, like the 2 500 other vulnerable families participating in the program in the regions of Ségou and Mopti, is now a member of one of the Agro-Pastoral Field Schools (APFS) set up in Mali with technical support from FAO. There she will be trained in good agricultural and pastoral practices in the face of climate change. She also enrolled in a Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA). The aim is to enable the members of the APFS/VSLA to improve their management capacities and strengthen their financial capacities.

The project entitled "Reducing the vulnerability of agricultural livelihoods through the Caisses de Résilience approach in the Sahel", funded by Belgium and implemented with the Governments of Mali and Burkina Faso and various NGOs, benefits 5 000 vulnerable families (nearly 25,000 people) in the two countries, through enhancing the resilience of their livelihoods. The approach is based on simultaneous support to the productive, financial and social assets of vulnerable households and their community-based institutions.