In 2012, the Sahel was once again hit by a severe food crisis affecting more than 18 million people. The region’s governments, donors and aid agencies were determined to avoid mistakes made in the response to previous crises. But while their response was better in many respects, there were still some critical shortcomings. The poorest families and communities suffered most, as deep-seated inequalities made some people far more vulnerable than others. While continuing to address the enormous humanitarian and recovery needs in the region, we also must all learn the lessons from the 2012 response and develop a new model that will allow better prevention and management of future crises. The growing momentum around the concept of resilience offers considerable potential to achieve this, but only if all actors work together to turn rhetoric into action that brings lasting improvements for the poorest communities across the Sahel.