Sevare, Mali (May 25, 2012) — The Near East Foundation (NEF) continues to operate in northern Mali despite increasing political instability in the wake of the April coup d’etat and occupation by Toureg rebels and Al Qaeda-linked extremists.
Almost all of the communities where NEF works in the Mopti Region and the southern part of Timbuktu have been affected by the coup and ongoing violence. At the same time they are still suffering from last year’s disastrous agricultural season.
A significant deficit in rainfall – 40 percent less than the ten-year annual average – has accelerated drought conditions and combined with other stressors to produce a humanitarian crisis.
NEF’s all-local staff have mobilized in response to meet the basic and immediate needs of communities, with a focus on addressing the real threat of famine.
NEF is expanding efforts to provide critical supplies and field support. This includes delivering fast-maturing, drought-resistant seeds to as many farmers as possible so they can plant crops immediately to feed the hungry. NEF is providing essential training and tools for planting and harvesting the fields, and for storing food.
“NEF has worked to improve livelihoods in Mali for almost 30 years,” said Dr. Charles Benjamin, NEF President. “We remain committed to helping our partner communities there through this crisis, as we have through other turbulent times, and to the safety of our field staff – many of whom have been with us in Mali since the beginning.”
Most charitable and government agencies, including NEF, have sustained infrastructure damage during the recent turmoil. As a result, NEF has evacuated its Douentza headquarters and is in the process of establishing a new headquarters in Sevare.
To support the Near East Foundation’s ongoing relief efforts in Mali please visit:http://www.neareast.org/getinvolved/donate.
The Near East Foundation is a U.S.-based international development NGO leading innovative social and economic change in the Middle East and Africa for almost 100 years. Founded in 1915, NEF helps build more sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive communities through education, governance, and economic development initiatives. NEF field staff – all of them from the countries in which they work – partner with local organizations to implement grassroots solutions and to empower citizens through “knowledge, voice, and enterprise.” To learn more visit http://www.neareast.org.