In addition to the increasingly apparent impacts of climate change, the Sahel region is contending with multiple challenges from land and water degradation and frequent conflicts, to inequality, displacement and fragility in its food and nutritional sources.
“Over the years, we have seen the region hit by numerous man-made and natural challenges which require us to appreciate and use the lessons learnt,” according to Peter Zoutewelle, Project Manager at CARE Nederland. “With agriculture including pastoralism a significant sector and source of income across the Sahel, it is clear that investing in sustainable agriculture and inclusive value chains could address malnutrition and contribute to raising income levels. Men and women play an important role in the agricultural sector and this can have a positive impact on livelihoods and the wider society. This makes the work we intend to do through Pro-ARIDES, vital on several levels. We intend to work complementary to other existing initiatives.”
The population of the Sahel region is also growing rapidly, with some 65 per cent under the age of 25. Simone van Vugt, Senior Advisor Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation & Multi-Stakeholder Processes in Agricultural Sectors at Wageningen University & Research, noted, “This is a trend, particularly in the youth demographic, which could prove pivotal to transforming the overall agricultural sector. In fact, youth are not only a vital, potential workforce, but together with the empowerment of women, can take up important roles in developing and sustaining value chains. The Pro-ARIDES approach takes these and other factors, such as inclusive multi-stakeholder engagement into consideration – all of which contribute to establishing sustainable impact.”
Commenting on the focus on systems change and lasting impact Bertus Wennink, Senior Advisor in Sustainable Local Economic Development at KIT added, “Building upon existing positive local dynamics, this approach further ensures that Pro-ARIDES gets to the heart of the real issues which in turn can bring about strong transformations for more inclusive, ecologically sustainable and resilient local development in the Sudano-Sahelian zone of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.”