Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

www.international.gc.ca

Harper Government launches matching fund in response to crisis in the Sahel

August 7, 2012

Toronto—The Harper Government called on Canadians today to lend their support to the people affected by the humanitarian crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa. The announcement was made by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, Lois Brown, on behalf of the Minister of International Cooperation, Julian Fantino.

© ACDI-CIDA
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, Lois Brown, at the launch of the Sahel Crisis Matching Fund, in Toronto, on August 7, 2012, with members of the Humanitarian Coalition. Behind Ms. Brown, from left to right: Will Postma of Save the Children, Gillian Barth of Care, Robert Fox of Oxfam Canada, Rosemary McCarney of Plan, and Nic Moyer, Executive Director of the Humanitarian Coalition.

"Canadians have shown that they are always ready to help those in need," said Minister Fantino. "Right now, millions of women, men and children in the Sahel are suffering from hunger and severe malnutrition. This is absolutely unacceptable. With generosity from Canadians, we can do more to respond to this crisis and support people in dire need."

The Government of Canada announced that it would match dollar-for-dollar Canadian donations made to registered Canadian charities responding to the Sahel crisis through the Sahel Crisis Matching Fund. The government will also make an initial contribution of $10 million to the matching fund. This will enable humanitarian agencies to provide immediate food and nutritional support, emergency health care, water and sanitation, and livelihoods support.

The humanitarian situation in the Sahel has deteriorated dramatically through 2012, due to a combination of drought, poor harvests, rising food prices, population displacement, and insecurity. The countries most affected by the Sahel crisis are Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia and northern Cameroon.

"When lives are in the balance, every minute matters," said Parliamentary Secretary Brown. "Canada is doing everything it can to provide assistance in the Sahel, and it is doing so quickly. It is critical that the international community ramp up its humanitarian effort and work together, so we can do more to ease the suffering of the people in the Sahel."

Canada will match funds raised from August 7 to September 30, 2012. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will allocate these funds to established Canadian and international humanitarian organizations to support relief efforts that will benefit the people who are most affected by the food and nutrition crisis.

The Government of Canada has already provided $47.5 million in humanitarian assistance to the Sahel, helping the relief efforts of implementing partners such as the Humanitarian Coalition, World Vision Canada and the World Food Programme.

For more information on CIDA's work in the Sahel, or the Sahel Crisis Matching Fund, please visit CIDA's website.

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For more information, media should contact:

Stephanie Rea
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: stephanie.rea@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
Email: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Twitter: @CIDA_CA




Backgrounder

The Government of Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), has announced $10 million in additional support for relief efforts to assist the people affected by a severe food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa. Today's announcement also includes the establishment of the Sahel Crisis Matching Fund to recognize the compassion and generosity of Canadians.

The humanitarian situation in the Sahel has deteriorated dramatically through 2012, due to a combination of drought, poor harvests, rising food prices, population displacement, and insecurity. The United Nations now estimates that 18.7 million people across the Sahel are facing hunger, which includes more than 1 million children under the age of five at immediate risk of severe acute malnutrition.

In early 2012, the Government of Canada, through CIDA, provided $47.5 million to support relief efforts for those affected by the crisis in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania. With Canada's support, humanitarian organizations have been providing humanitarian assistance including emergency food and nutritional support, water, sanitation, humanitarian air services, shelter and protection, as well as livelihoods support to those affected by the crisis.

Today, the Government of Canada, through CIDA, announced an additional $10 million to support relief efforts for those affected by the crisis in the Sahel. This funding will help the World Food Programme (WFP) provide emergency food and nutritional assistance.

Sahel Crisis Matching Fund

Through the Sahel Crisis Matching Fund, the Government of Canada will complement the generosity of Canadians.

For every dollar Canadians contribute to registered Canadian charities responding to the Sahel food and nutrition crisis, from August 7 until September 30, 2012, the Government of Canada will set aside one dollar for the matching fund.

The fund will provide effective and accountable financial support to experienced Canadian and international humanitarian organizations working in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia and Cameroon. Working through established Canadian and international humanitarian organizations will ensure an effective and timely response.

Donating and fundraising criteria:

  • To be counted for this purpose, donations must comply with various conditions, which can be found on CIDA's website
  • Donations must be made between August 7 and September 30, 2012, to ensure CIDA's contribution to the fund can be mobilized quickly to respond to increasing needs in the Sahel region.
  • The charities that raise funds eligible for the Sahel Crisis Matching Fund will not receive an equivalent amount from the Government of Canada. However, for each eligible dollar raised, the Government of Canada will set aside an equivalent dollar for the Sahel Crisis Matching Fund.
  • CIDA will provide an initial $10 million to the Sahel Crisis Matching Fund to ensure food and nutritional support, emergency health care, water and sanitation, and livelihoods support can be delivered to those in need immediately.

Results achieved with CIDA's previous $47.5 million humanitarian assistance

Today's funding announcement will build on the results already achieved by Canada's contribution to global efforts to respond to needs of vulnerable populations in the Sahel region.

So far in 2012, as part of its response to appeals from the United Nations, the Red Cross Movement and non-governmental organizations, CIDA has provided a total of $47.5 million for its humanitarian response in the Sahel region. For example, with Canada's support, humanitarian organizations have provided food and nutrition assistance to more than 5.7 million people and have treated some 250,000 children for severe acute malnutrition.