Located in the arid Sahel region of West Africa, Mauritania is one of the world’s least developed countries. The population numbers just over 3.4 million, and the country is ranked 161st out of 187 countries in the 2014 UNDP Human Development Index, and 138th out of 147 in gender inequality. The southern strip of the land is part of the Sahel, where farmers and agropastoralists are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate variation, drought, and small-scale crises. In an area where the annual five to six month “lean season” always brings hunger and where rainfall is unpredictable, this has strained the resources of the rural poor. The situation worsened in Mauritania following droughts across the Sahel in 2011 and recent waves of violence in Mali, which have forced tens of thousands of Malians to flee their homes and seek refuge in neighboring countries. Currently it is estimated that 1.2 million people—a third of the population—suffer from food insecurity countrywide.