An Edinburgh sustainability charity has received over £200,000 from the British Government to help thousands of people in Senegal fight malnutrition and boost their incomes, Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael announced in Edinburgh today.
CIFAL Scotland will use the funding to rebuild a region of Northern Senegal scarred by drought, helping 4 communities in Saint-Louis province to boost food production, repair damaged farmland and improve their incomes.
The 4 villages are home to 13,000 people who are almost entirely reliant on agriculture for their livelihoods. However years of drought and intensive farming have left the land degraded and unproductive. The World Food Programme has warned that malnutrition in the area is now reaching crisis levels.
CIFAL Scotland will train community members in sustainable farming, food processing techniques and the use of solar cookers. CIFAL will also help the communities produce a more diverse range of goods which can then be sold to generate income.
The Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael said during a visit to CIFAL Scotland’s Edinburgh headquarters:
I really valued the opportunity to visit CIFAL Scotland in Edinburgh today. This support will make a huge difference to communities in Northern Senegal. Sustainable economic development is, without question, the only way families and farmers in Northern Senegal can leave behind chronic and enduring poverty for good.
The dedication and hard work of Scotland’s world-leading charities form an integral part of the UK’s efforts to help the world’s very poorest people. This latest grant takes the overall funding to Scottish organisations from DFID’s Global Poverty Action Fund to over £3.5m.
Lynne Featherstone, International Development Minister, said:
Families across Northern Senegal have been forced to watch the land that used to provide their food, their income and a route out of poverty slowly turn into a dustbowl. They now face a food crisis that threatens to leave thousands malnourished.
This funding will help rebuild a region scarred by drought, giving thousands of the world’s poorest people hope for a better future.
May East, Chief Executive of CIFAL Scotland, said:
DFID’s support for this project is greatly needed and will be welcomed by local communities. The situation in Saint-Louis province is particularly grave. Years of drought and intensive farming have taken their toll on the land and on the livelihoods of local farmers.
Communities are fighting a losing battle against climate change. The shift from more traditional to large scale factory farming methods has also degraded soil quality, making it harder than ever for farmers to make a living. The rural exodus resulting from this spiral of poverty leaves remaining households facing inadequate access to water and basic services, and malnutrition is becoming a serious threat.
Our aim is to help local communities become self-sustaining, enabling them to manage the land more sustainability so that they can produce a wider range of goods to consume and sell. DFID’s funding will make an important contribution to tackling this urgent social and environmental crisis.
The grant is part of the Department for International Development’s Global Poverty Action Fund (GPAF), which provides grants to charities across the UK to help them fight poverty in the world’s poorest countries. This latest grant takes GPAF’s total funding for Scottish organisations to just over £3.5 million. Through 162 GPAF projects Britain is improving the lives of 11.3 million people in 35 countries.