The United Kingdom has launched a multi-million pound fund to aid countries at the mercy of conflict in the Sahel region.
The Sahel Regional Fund (SRF), is a ₦18.3bn (£33 million), three-year fund for countries facing conflict-related crises around West and Central Africa.
The money will be given to vulnerable communities suffering from increasing violence, displacements, and food insecurity.
This special funding intervention was disclosed by the UK’s Minister of State for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell, as he concluded a 3-day visit to the Niger Republic. This is Mitchell’s first visit to the Sahel region since his appointment last year.
HumAngle learned that under this three-year development project, the UK will be teaming with “leading local and international NGOs to deliver protection, family planning, and vital humanitarian assistance to vulnerable communities across the Sahel.”
The prolonged armed conflict by Jihadist groups like Boko Haram, ISWAP and Al Qaeda has deepened the strained situation in the Sahel region.
This new fund, according to information obtained from the UK government, is targeted at providing “urgent life-saving aid and lasting, dignified solutions to people displaced by conflict and violence in hotspots of humanitarian need.”
The UK Minister for Development and Africa said he was in Niger to kick off the fund with an opening “£33 million commitment from the UK up to 2026.”
The SRF will partly help to build the capacity of local NGOs who are directly engaging with the people most affected, understanding the realities on the ground and adapting approaches to suit their long-term needs and improve their prospects.
“The introduction of our Sahel Regional Fund aims to transform how we deliver aid across a troubled region, informed by the reality on the ground,” Mitchelle said.
The SRF “empowers local organizations and targets the most vulnerable in a way that listens to them and delivers lasting impact, and we hope others will follow us in this.
“By addressing the root causes of this growing regional instability, we can look to harness the true potential of our positive relationship with Niger as a vital regional partner.
“That includes continuing to increase access to education, improving lives, and preparing communities to mitigate against future impacts of climate change. The aid we provide today helps these communities prosper and thrive tomorrow.
The objective of the new fund is, according to documents sourced from the UK government website, “to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin by providing immediate relief to affected populations, strengthening local capacities, supporting skilled aid organizations, and paving the way for lasting solutions.”
The SRF is hosted by the Danish Refugee Council and works through national and international NGOs.
The SRF project will be powered by the approved £33 million from FCDO over three and half years across Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Chad.
The UK said it invests in such a Shock Response Programme “to help Niger and other regional countries better anticipate and respond to recurrent shocks, reducing the need for humanitarian support in the long term.”
The project has, amongst other things, including a mechanism to deploy emergency cash transfers for over 15,000 households in response to the recent drought.
The UK also said it has committed to spending another £19 million by the end of 2025 in conflict prevention and climate adaptation in the Sahel, including in Niger, by expanding the ‘Justice and Stability in the Sahel’ (JASS) program to Niger.
HumAngle understands that the JASS program supports conflict resolution, sustainable land use, and initiatives to mitigate the long-term impact of climate-related shocks on livelihoods.
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