Niger’s Economic Boom

By Tawanda Mukwekwezeke

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Despite facing economic challenges and being classified as a low-income country, Niger is emerging as a beacon of positive change and resilience on the global stage. In the face of adversity, Niger is charting an upward trajectory with a forecasted 12.5% GDP growth in 2024, outshining many other nations. The nation’s resourcefulness is particularly evident in its oil sector, compensating for lower uranium production and propelling the country towards economic prosperity. This positive momentum not only highlights Niger’s commitment to overcoming obstacles but also positions it as a noteworthy player in the international economic landscape, challenging preconceived notions and showcasing the potential for growth and development in seemingly challenging circumstances.

A cornerstone of Niger’s economic ascent lies in the imminent large-scale oil production, set to kick off in January 2024. This monumental step forward is facilitated by the inauguration of a state-of-the-art 2,000-Gy kilometer crude oil pipeline, designed to connect the Agadem oilfield to Benin’s Port of Seme. This strategic infrastructure not only marks Niger’s foray into the global oil market but also positions the nation as a significant player in the international energy arena.

The commencement of oil exports is poised to be a game-changer for Niger’s economic landscape, with projections indicating a boost in daily oil production to 110,000 barrels. A noteworthy collaboration with the China National Petroleum Corporation has played a pivotal role in securing substantial investments for the project. This collaboration not only underscores the global interest in Niger’s economic potential but also propels the nation toward its ambitious target of reaching 200,000 barrels per day by 2026.

With the China National Petroleum Corporation as the sole funding source, boosting Niger’s daily oil production to 110,000 barrels, the resumption of international financing has further bolstered Niger’s economic outlook. This influx of capital positions the country to leverage its newfound oil wealth for broader developmental initiatives. This synergy of economic elements forms the bedrock of Niger’s rapid GDP growth, propelling it to the forefront as Africa’s fastest-growing economy in 2024.

The confluence of early sanctions-lifting, large-scale oil production, international financing, and a robust agricultural sector positions Niger on the cusp of an unprecedented economic surge. The establishment of critical infrastructure and strategic partnerships underscores the nation’s commitment to not only join the global oil market but also to chart a course towards sustained economic prosperity.

Sources:https://www.semafor.com/article/01/10/2024/world-banks-says-africa-leads-fast-growth-economies-in-2024

https://www.pipeline-journal.net/news/niger-commissions-2000-kilometre-crude-oil-pipeline-despite- sanctions#:~:text=The%20substantial%20investment%20has%20enabled,barrels%20per%20day%20by%202026.

 

 

 

Challenge for 2024: Addressing Niger’s Ongoing Need for Safe Water Access

By Omesh Prathiraja

Source: Wells Bring Hope

Niger is a country with a rich cultural heritage and breathtaking landscapes. However, behind its beauty, Niger continues to face significant water scarcity. Millions of Nigeriens lack water that’s safe for drinking and food preparation, and they have limited access to clean water for sanitation.

Water for Drinking and Food Preparation

According to UNICEF, approximately 44% of the population does not have access to improved water sources. Using unsafe water perpetuates a vicious cycle of malnutrition and diarrhea, waterborne diseases, and poverty that especially affects vulnerable groups like children and women.

Water for Sanitation

Clean, safe water is crucial for human health and development, yet a large portion of the population grapples with the lack of proper sanitation facilities. Insufficient access to clean water and proper sanitation facilities directly impacts the health and well-being of the population. Waterborne diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, and typhoid are prevalent, leading to high mortality rates, particularly among children.

Water Scarcity Affects Women and Children

The burden of water collection often falls on women and children, limiting their time and opportunities for education and economic activities.Because of your support, Wells Bring Hope is able to partner with World Vision to drill solar-powered, mechanized wells, build water systems and latrines, and promote hygiene and sanitation education. Additionally, we teach drip farming, show villagers how to use grey water to grow gardens, and also offer women training so they can start small businesses.

Ensuring clean water for Nigeriens will have far-reaching positive impacts on health, education, and economic development in the country. Together, we can pave the way towards a brighter, healthier, and more prosperous Niger.

Source: Wells Bring Hope

Source

https://www.unicef.org/niger/water-sanitation-and-hygiene

https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/niger/overview

https://wellsbringhope.org/the-need/

 

 

 

 

A Voice from Zimbabwe

By Tawanda Mukwekwezeke

Growing up in the rural area of Marange, over 300 km from the bustling capital city of Harare, I have witnessed the challenges faced by my community. Marange is renowned for its abundant diamond reserves, but beyond the allure of these precious gems, there are pressing issues affecting the population of Zimbabwe. As an aspiring nutrition and dietetics student at the University of Zimbabwe with a passion for public health nutrition, I am determined to address critical problems such as malnutrition and water scarcity. Through my writing, volunteer work, and by leveraging my degree and writing experience, I aim to amplify the voices of the marginalized and make a tangible impact on my country and Africa as a whole. In my pursuit of creating positive change, I have joined hands with Wells Bring Hope, an organization dedicated to providing clean water in Niger.

Source: Tim Green

The Sunshine City’s Water Crisis

Having studied and lived in Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, I have become intimately familiar with its water crisis. Harare, affectionately known as the Sunshine City due to its perpetual glow throughout the day, is grappling with a severe water scarcity issue that lies hidden behind its sunny facade. The irregular water supply, characterized by mere trickles flowing through taps on a scheduled basis, exacerbates the situation and poses a significant threat to the health and well-being of the general population.

Recently, the country has been hit by a cholera outbreak, further highlighting the depth of the water crisis. This outbreak, which is still ongoing, has resulted in numerous fatalities and underscored the dire consequences of the water shortage. The outbreak, which originated in Buhera District, one of the nation’s poorest districts, has affected both urban and rural areas. This outbreak serves as a stark reminder of how deeply entrenched the water crisis is in Zimbabwe and the urgent need for comprehensive solutions to address this critical issue.

Similarities between Niger and Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe, like Niger, shares a common appreciation for oral traditions. In both countries, storytelling, folktales, and proverbs hold significant cultural value. These oral traditions serve as a means of preserving history, passing down knowledge, and reinforcing cultural identity. Through the art of storytelling, elders in Zimbabwe impart wisdom, teach moral lessons, and entertain listeners with tales of heroes, mythical creatures, and historical events. These oral traditions create a sense of continuity and connection to the past, fostering a shared cultural heritage among different ethnic groups within the country.

The Culinary Traditions

The culinary traditions of Zimbabwe reflect the country’s cultural diversity and reliance on staple foods. A popular dish in Zimbabwe is “sadza,” a thick maize meal that serves as a staple food. It is typically served with relishes such as “nyama and Munyevhe ” (meat and vegetable stew) or “muboora” (pumpkin leaves cooked with ground peanuts). The emphasis on these staple foods reflects the agricultural practices and dietary preferences of the region and demonstrates the importance of food in Zimbabwean culture.

Why Did I Volunteer for Wells Bring Hope?

Motivated by my passion for humanitarian work and my ability to empathize with the struggles faced by marginalized populations, I decided to volunteer for Wells Bring Hope. Volunteering with Wells Bring Hope is a natural fit for me as a nutrition and dietetics student interested in public health nutrition. I firmly believe that water, sanitation, and hygiene are integral to nutrition, and by addressing the water crisis, we can improve the overall well-being of our communities. Through my involvement with Wells Bring Hope, I have the opportunity to contribute to providing clean water access and support initiatives that promote better health outcomes.

Source:

https://www.herald.co.zw/measures-to-contain-buhera-cholera-outbreak-bear-fruit/

https://travelfoodatlas.com/niger-foods

The Coup in Niger

by Will Beeker

On July 26, Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum was detained by presidential guards in his own home, which marked the beginning of a coup which is still ongoing. Bazoum fled to a safe room, calling global leaders for help, while the next day General Abdourahmane “Omar” Tchiani appointed himself head of the country’s new military government. The international backlash has been swift.

The E.U. has suspended financial support to the Nigerien government and President Biden called for the release of Bazoum and his family. On August 19, a delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met with Tchiani and with Bazoum. After the meeting, Tchiani proposed a three-year transition of power, although the specifics have yet to be revealed.

The West, along with West African states such as Nigeria, have voiced strong criticism of the coup’s leaders and called for Bazoum to be reinstated immediately. Meanwhile, neighbors Mali and Burkina Faso, which have seen similar coups in recent years, have voiced support for the junta and formed the Alliance of Sahel States to defend each other in the case of foreign, military intervention.

On October 10, the Biden administration officially declared the military takeover a coup, a designation the administration had been avoiding because of its major ramifications on US aid to Niger. As a result, about $650 million in assistance will be suspended, and the US must halt all economic and military aid to Niger until democracy is restored. However, humanitarian assistance will be allowed to continue, as will some of the US’s military operations.

Why did this happen?

We can only speculate on the exact causes of the coup, although its leaders have cited economic woes and extremist violence under Bazoum. These arguments, however, are dubious, given Niger’s strong economic growth in 2022 and Bazoum’s short time in power. Bazoum was elected president in April 2021, the country’s first transfer of power between two civilians since the country’s independence in 1960. He took control of the economy one year into the Covid-19 pandemic and has only had two years to turn things around, which he was starting to do.

Regarding security concerns, Niger has been no exception to the attacks from extremist groups plaguing the Sahel, but fatalities from violence fell by 40% in the first 6 months of this year. The country has also fared much better than its neighbors Mali and Burkina Faso, which have both undergone coups and turned to Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group for help with security, a solution that has proven counterproductive.

According to one expert from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the most likely explanation for the coup is that “certain army officers wanted to maintain their positions and influence over political power and block any attempt by the civilian president [Bazoum] to sideline the military’s influence.” Niger has a long tradition of military interventions in government and the country has seen more military officials as presidents than civilians. Since 1960, Niger has had four successful coups and dozens of attempted coups, including a coup two days before Bazoum took office.

How is Wells Bring Hope affected?

 With Niger’s border closed immediately following the coup, Wells Bring Hope could not get drilling materials and well supplies into the country, but since drilling is usually slow or paused during the hot summer months, operations were not seriously impacted. In the last month or so, there has been some loosening of border restrictions, particularly for NGOs like Wells Bring Hope, so well drilling has resumed on schedule.

This is not the first coup to take place since Wells Bring Hope started working in Niger and it will not deter us from continuing to help those in need. We will do everything possible to continue our work while prioritizing the safety of our team on the ground. We are incredibly lucky to be partnered with World Vision, an NGO that has a wealth of experience in West Africa and is no stranger to operating during moments of political upheaval. In times of political instability, it’s ordinary citizens who suffer most, and help from the outside world becomes more important than ever, so Wells Bring Hope and World Vision will continue to focus on our mission of saving lives with safe water.

https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2023/8/20/timeline-what-has-happened-in-niger-since-the-coup

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/10/11/french-forces-depart-niger-us-declares-military-rulers-conducted-coup

https://carnegieendowment.org/2023/08/31/niger-coup-s-outsized-global-impact-pub-90463

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/16/podcasts/the-daily/niger-coup.html

https://www.cnn.com/2023/10/10/politics/us-niger-coup-determination/index.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/10/us/politics/niger-coup-biden-declaration.html#:~:text=Understand%20the%20Military%20Coup%20in%20Niger&text=A%20takeover.,marred%20by%20coups%20and%20insecurity

Implications of Niger’s High Birth Rate

by Omesh Prathiraja

Niger has the world’s highest birth rate. With an average of over seven children per woman, this demographic phenomenon presents opportunities, such as a growth in the labor force and a youthful population that can bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas into various sectors in Niger. However, it also presents challenges for the nation’s future.

Niger’s soaring birth rate is a complex issue with far-reaching consequences. The birth rate in Niger stands at 7.2 children per woman, significantly higher than the global average of 2.5. This rapid population growth, fueled by cultural factors, poverty and limited access to education and contraceptives, has several profound implications for the nation.

Strain on Resources

Because its resources are limited, Niger faces challenges providing adequate food, clean water, and healthcare for its burgeoning population.

Healthcare and Medical Implications

The healthcare setting in Niger is under immense pressure due to the nation’s high birth rate. Prenatal care, maternal health, and access to family planning services are stretched thin, resulting in significant health risks for mothers and infants. The high birth rate in Niger is directly linked to several critical medical issues.

  • Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) –Niger has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, 4,900 deaths per 100,000 live births, mainly due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth. High birth rates contribute to this problem by increasing the frequency of pregnancies and reducing the time between them.

Child Mortality – The country also faces a high child mortality rate, with 115 deaths per 1,000 live births, primarily due to preventable diseases and malnutrition. With a rapidly growing population, the healthcare system struggles to provide adequate care and immunization coverage to all children. The heightened risk of food scarcity and malnutrition can affect the physical and cognitive development of children, leading to long-term health issues.

Clean Water Helps Address Health Issues

By drilling wells and constructing water systems, Wells Bring Hope improves hygiene and sanitation. The clean water these wells provide decreases child mortality by reducing water-borne diseases.

Water systems that service rural health care facilities are also essential to reducing maternal and infant mortality, expanding access to immunizations and more. Wells Bring Hope’s fourth health clinic water system was recently completed in the village of Kouroungoussaou. Thanks to this system, taps and sinks were installed in all six treatment rooms at the clinic, which means greatly improved health care quality and hygiene practices for patients and health care providers. It also means that pregnant women will be more likely to choose to deliver in the clinic under the care of trained healthcare providers.

In addition, this project also resulted in a four tap stand in the village center, so all of the girls who live in Kouroungoussaou will be able to remain in school full time, greatly increasing the chance that they will marry and bear children later, factors that are strongly correlated with a reduced birth rate.

As with so many challenges Niger faces, easy access to safe water is key to a solution.

Sources:

The Conversation (https://theconversation.com/niger-has-the-worlds-highest-birth-rate-and-that-may-be-a-recipe-for-unrest-108654)

Population Reference Bureau (https://www.prb.org/)

The World Bank – Number of Maternal Deaths in Niger (https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.MMR.DTHS?locations=NE)

Our World In Data- Child Mortality (https://ourworldindata.org/child-mortality)

United Nations – Niger (https://niger.un.org/fr)

Celebrating 15 Years of Saving Lives with Safe Water

On Sunday, October 1st, Wells Bring Hope’s founder and president Barbara Goldberg welcomed over 150 guests to the home of Sukey and Gil Garcetti for the organization’s 15th Annual Fundraiser. The theme was “Back to the ‘60s” and featured music by DJ Raul Zavala and decor that set a mood that was upbeat and FUN! With perfect weather, guests turned out in verging on outrageous outfits right out of ‘60s!

Guests nibbled on delicious food from Edible 360: coconut shrimp, poke style ahi on a wanton crisp, crab cakes, flank steak skewers and more. There were featured drinks, named after famous 60’s entertainers, like Joplin’s Juice, Exclusively Elvis, and Stevie’s Wonder and wine donated by Le Vigne Winery.

While everyone mixed and mingled, our very capable volunteers enticed guests to participate in the silent auction, tempting them with trips to San Diego, San Francisco, and a four-hour sail along the Coast.  Our numerous restaurants, including dining at the Polo Lounge, Musso & Frank, Cassia and more went for over full value!

With many newcomers in attendance, Founder and President, Barbara Goldberg told guests about our cause and what makes it worthy of their support. Barbara then recognized some very special guests who worked hard in support of WBH this past year—James Thompson who walked around Oahu to raise money for us and a team of four amazing high schoolers—Mackenzie Nelson, Bronwyn Vance, Ben Nelson, and Adam Neiberger who raised over $30,000 for WBH in just a few months! Our honoree this year was Gil Garcetti, who inspired the start of Wells Bring Hope. His artwork, “Chief’s Hands & Baby’s Feet” was the basis for a special NFT package that was featured in our Live Auction.

During the live auction, guests got the chance to bid on some exciting travel packages including trips to Belize, Punta Mita, and Montenegro. Special thanks to auctioneer extraordinaire, Clint Hufft, who made parting with one’s money a fun-time for all!

Thanks to all who came to support our effort to save lives with safe water, particularly our hard-working Board of Directors! Special thanks to Board members, Eduardo Robles and David Girard who went above and beyond to make this event a success. Eduardo is a professional special events planner who made this event happen.  We also want to thank our very incredible volunteers without whom the event would not be possible and of course, our photographer Tatsu, who captured it all!

World Bank Announces $230 Million for Education in Niger

By Will Beeker

Pic: Source

In June, the World Bank approved an additional $230 million for Niger’s Learning Improvements for Results in Education (LIRE) project, bringing total funding to $370 million since the project’s inception. The funds will be used to build sustainable classrooms as well as girls-only boarding schools, with the aim of improving retention rates and closing the educational gender gap. The money will also be used to bolster educational planning and management in Niger over a six-year period.

The considerable funds come at a much-needed time, as the adult literacy rate in Niger was just 37% as of 2021. In every country across the Sahel, fewer than 50% of adult females are literate. Only 12% of children are enrolled in school and can read adequately for their age level. The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated underlying problems in education systems across the world and many countries, Niger included, have not managed to fully recover. These funds will help the country make up lost ground.

 

Pic: Source

What is the LIRE project?

In June 2021, Niger’s government teamed up with the World Bank to launch the LIRE project in Niamey. The project initially received $140 million in funding, so the additional $230 million is a significant increase. The financial assistance comes from the International Development Association, a World Bank fund that provides grants and loans for projects in the world’s poorest countries.

The LIRE project has five components:

1) Improving teaching practices

2) Promoting learning for girls and boys

3) Strengthening the management capacities of the education system

4) Handling the administration and coordination of the project

5) Funding responses to emergencies and unforeseen events

Pic: Source

What will be done with the new funding?

The additional funds will primarily be used to build permanent schoolhouses. Building durable structures is important because many classrooms in Niger are made from straw and need to be disassembled during the rainy season. They are susceptible to fires during the dry season, making them dangerous for students and putting in jeopardy the availability of primary education for many. The project will work in coordination with the “zero class straw hut” program started by the Nigerien government last fall to provide safe, reliable places for students to learn.

In addition to upgrading school structures, improving access to clean drinking water is a vital part of boosting retention rates in schools across Niger, especially for young women who often miss school in order to help their mothers retrieve water for the family. Ultimately, the availability of clean water and educational access go hand in hand; investments in clean water are also investments in education.

https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2023/06/23/the-world-bank-approves-funding-to-help-niger-improve-its-education-system

https://bnn.network/breaking-news/world-bank-grants-235-5-million-to-enhance-nigers-education-system/

https://bnn.network/breaking-news/social/niger-lire-project-receives-additional-financing-boosting-education-envelope/

https://www.worldbank.org/en/region/afr/publication/sahel-education-white-paper-the-state-of-education-in-the-sahel

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SE.ADT.LITR.ZS?locations=NE&most_recent_value_desc=false

https://nigerlire.org/en/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Niger and Climatic Migration

By Manvitha Prasad Kathula

Source: NigerTZai

Climate change is more than just hotter summers and colder winters. It often leads to mass migration – where people are forced to leave their homes behind as their environment becomes increasingly inhospitable.

In Niger and most of Sub-Saharan Africa, rising temperatures, erratic rainfall, and a significant increase in the population have caused a scarcity of water and other vital resources (like wood) that are necessary for survival. This insufficiency leads to overwhelming competition between groups of people in rural areas, affecting farming and cultivation. The effects of climate change also decrease the likelihood of personal growth in these areas, as people primarily practice agriculture in these regions.

All these factors have contributed to a significant increase in rural-urban migration. According to the United Nations International Organization for Migration, Niger will generate more than 5 million internal migrants by 2050.

Ganso Seniali, a chief of a group of herders from the Tillabéri Region in Niger, recalls how he and most of his village were forced to move to the outskirts of the capital, Niamey. As he states, “The drought where we are originally from has increased conflict between us and sedentary farmers who are sort of fighting over similar resources of land and water, where we want to graze, but the farmers want to grow crops. This sometimes has led to deadly battles, you know, fought with guns, arrows, and machetes.” Although the move was hard on the people and their livestock, after settling in, they continued their normal activities but in an urban setting.

He also reports that life is a little easier in the city. Firstly, there appears to be no severe conflict for resources between people. It is easier for internal migrants to sell their dairy products and receive veterinary care for their herds. He further adds, “We take our cows out in the mornings to graze on the edge of the city where there is a bit of grazing space on the outskirts, and we find extra food for our goats by knocking on doors in town and taking the vegetable scraps that people might otherwise throw out.” Furthermore, the city also provides different job opportunities, enabling Tillabéri migrants to earn more money to take care of their families.

Climate change’s impact on Niger’s environment leads to internal migration. Although migration is disruptive and unwelcome, Nigeriens are modifying and transforming their lives to ensure a better present and future for themselves and the ecosystem. By drilling deep wells, Wells Bring Hope helps alleviate water scarcity, one element of climate change that leads to migration.

Sources:

https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=QWiQDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA3&dq=niger+and+climate+migration&ots=c-D ozwEeAr&sig=LgIV0dkkSTTnQEavkXSQkDGwiek#v=onepage&q=niger%20and%20climate%20migration&f=false

https://rodakar.iom.int/sites/g/files/tmzbdl696/files/documents/iom-niger-mecc-study-en.pdf

https://www.economist.com/podcasts/2023/06/30/niger-is-a-case-study-in-climate-migration-and-it-is-not-all-bad-news

Water Scarcity and Malnutrition: An Interconnected Challenge

By Tawanda Mukwekwezeke

The global issues of water scarcity and malnutrition are closely intertwined. An exploration of this complex relationship reveals how lack of access to clean water perpetuates the cycle of hunger and poor health. In regions without reliable access to safe drinking water, people often suffer and die from preventable illnesses that can be eliminated by access to clean water.

Did you know that almost two-thirds of the world’s population, a staggering four billion people, experience severe water scarcity for at least one month every year? It’s like being stuck in a never-ending line just to get a sip of water. It’s difficult to imagine how challenging life can be when something as basic as water is in such short supply. Inadequate water supply affects over two billion people in various countries worldwide. Half of the world’s population could be living in areas with water scarcity by 2025.

Water Plays a Critical Role in Malnutrition

Lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation facilities have a significant impact on malnutrition, particularly in developing nations like Niger. Niger, along with two other central Sahel nations, is listed among the 15 countries hardest hit by an unprecedented global food and nutrition crisis, according to UN agencies. These agencies have warned that faster progress is needed to tackle acute malnutrition among children.

When people don’t have access to safe water, they are often forced to use contaminated sources for drinking and cooking, which leads to a higher risk of waterborne diseases like diarrhea and cholera, both of which reduce nutrient absorption in the body. Unsafe water also affects hygiene and food preparation practices, as hands can’t be washed properly before handling food or caring for children, and food and utensils can’t be thoroughly cleaned, which increases the risk of infection.

As Manuel Fontaine, the Director of Emergency Programmes at UNICEF put it: “No matter how much food a malnourished child eats, he or she will not get better if the water they are drinking is not safe.” This statement highlights the critical role of safe drinking water in reducing malnutrition and improving child health in developing nations like Niger.

Source : Jane Miller/DFID

Let’s Wear Nigerien Shoes a Bit

Picture this: Niger is among the countries suffering the most from water scarcity. The lack of access to safe and clean water has far-reaching consequences. It not only affects nutrition, but it also hampers education and economic development. Furthermore, the lack of nearby safe water sources means that girls and women in Niger often have to walk for hours each day to fetch water for their families. This not only puts a tremendous strain on their physical health and well-being, but it also means that they are unable to attend school or engage in income-generating activities, which perpetuates the cycle of poverty and deprivation. The impact of water scarcity on education and economic development is just one aspect of the far-reaching consequences of the lack of access to safe and clean water in Niger and other countries.

Wells Bring Hope Is Tackling some of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The United Nations has 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their sixth, Clean Water and Sanitation goes hand and hand with Wells Bring Hope’s mission. This UN Goal states: “Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in.” Like the UN, Wells Bring Hope recognizes the far-reaching impact water scarcity has on health, nutrition, education, economic development, and happiness. We’re working hard to bring hope to communities in need and changing lives for the better.

Wells Bring Hope’s work in Niger supports multiple SDG goals. By providing safe and clean water, we contribute to SDG 1 (no poverty), SDG 2 (zero hunger), and SDG 3 (good health and well-being). Our focus on gender equality aligns with SDG 5.

Source : Wikimedia

 

https://www.unicef.org/wash/water-scarcity

https://reliefweb.int/report/niger/warnings-over-child-malnutrition-rising-niger-year-climate-crisis-conflict-take-toll

https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

https://globalnutritionreport.org/resources/nutrition-profiles/africa/western-africa/niger/

Transforming Schools, Transforming Futures

By Kayleigh Redmond and Kayla Ruff

In 2021, 21 Nigerien children died when their school, which was made of straw, caught on fire.
Not only were these straw buildings deemed physically unsafe, they were also considered to be
unsuitable for students’ growth and development. Now, more than ever it is imperative for
children to have a structured environment in which they can learn the skills necessary for life in
the modern technological world.

Nearly two years after the fire, the Pays-Bas school in Niamey reopened to 1,800 students. now
with additional amenities that offer a chance to gain a wide variety of digital skills. The UN
Children’s Fund (UNICEF) – along with the Nigerien government, members of the community,
and other global partners – has completely rebuilt and modernized the classrooms to allow for
a more tech-forward education.
The renovated educational center provides a safe space for students and community members
to learn digital skills like computer graphics, social media management, cybersecurity, and 3D
printing. Innovative solutions like this will be critical to increasing enrollment and graduation
rates of students in Niger and for preparing graduates to enter the modern workforce.
Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United
Nations Sustainable Development Group, recently visited the newly renovated school.
According to Amina Mohammaed, “École Pays-Bas serves as a model for what can be achieved
when key actors come together to support the government in promoting creative and bold
approaches to ensure all children have access to a safe learning environment which prepare
them for the future.” Mohammed added that providing a safe and high-quality education to
Nigerien students requires much more than infrastructure and equipment. “It requires
enhanced curricula, sufficient teachers with enhanced skills, school health and nutrition in
schools including school meals”, she said at the site visit.

Source : Pencil for Kids

After the success of Pays-Bas, the Nigerien government is eager to upgrade schools country-
wide. With nearly 36,000 straw classrooms still remaining, replacing them with more updated
amenities will require a lot of resources. Increasing school enrollment and improving the quality
of education in Niger is not an easy task, and it requires a holistic approach and cooperation
among a wide range of people and organizations, each playing their part.
Wells Bring Hope, for example, plays an integral role in increasing the number of children
enrolled in school in Niger. When wells are drilled, girls no longer have to walk multiple miles
each day to find water, giving them time to go to school. Some parents remain hesitant to
enroll their children in school, however, due to safety concerns such as fire risks from straw-
built classrooms. Transforming these classrooms into safe and durable learning spaces will
reduce the risk of school fires, thus potentially increasing student enrollment. The project at the
École Pays-Bas school is just one example of the extraordinary impacts that can be made in
communities when the government and NGOs work together.

Sources:
https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/03/1134027
https://explorance.com/blog/7-reasons-students-need-technology-classroom/