Sahel region: sharing scarce resources more efficiently

Resources are scarce in the Sahel region. To prevent conflict over their distribution, communities are relying on data analysis and dialogue.

Scarce resources – Assane Attinnine Aminata is very familiar with the problem. She is the mayor of Farray in Niger, at the heart of the Sahel region. ‘Farmers and cattle breeders are competing for the same water sources,’ she says. ‘This leads to major conflicts, which sometimes even result in injury or death.’ The tensions between the different groups in the region make dialogue difficult. So, how can people escape the spiral of dwindling resources? 

A project implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is using targeted data analyses to identify local conflicts that need to be resolved. Data on the population and available resources is first collected using a digital analysis tool, with a focus on water, energy and food. This data is then used to choose specific measures to help resolve the conflicts.

Copyright: GIZ

Peace through dialogue 

Dialogue is then established between the groups involved to determine the next steps and reach agreements on the use of resources. The project is commissioned by the German Development Ministry (BMZ) and the European Union (EU). Alongside Niger, it has also been rolled out in Mali and Chad, as these countries are facing similar problems. The objective is always the same – to enable peaceful coexistence in spite of the resource scarcity exacerbated by climate change. 

The data analysis has helped Aminata’s community: ‘The farmers and livestock breeders now see that they are not enemies,’ explains the mayor. The two groups discussed their views and documented the talks on paper. This increased their understanding for each other: ‘The farmers realise that the livestock breeders also need water to live,’ says Aminata. Now they want to work together to improve their future.

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