Local Land Rehabilitation Techniques May Be the Key to Restoring Niger’s Agricultural Lands

By Kayla Ruff

Source: Nature Design

According to a recently published study conducted in southern Niger, agricultural structures called ‘half-moons’ have the potential to substantially increase Niger’s crop productivity. Scientists assessed the effectiveness of these structures between 2013 and 2020 at 18 sites in southern Niger, and the results of the study revealed that there was a 25% increase in vegetative greenness at the intervention sites. As a nation with over 1.9 million people affected by severe food insecurity, land rehabilitation techniques such as half-moons could play a critical role in increasing crop productivity in Niger.

What are half-moons?

Half-moons are semicircular pits bordered with rocks, and they are constructed in large numbers throughout agricultural fields. These rock-bordered pits allow water to collect inside them, which reduces surface runoff and soil erosion. Half-moons are especially important in regions with erratic and unpredictable rainfall patterns. While rain from a downpour would typically roll off the soil, half-moons keep water in place, allowing it to seep into the soil and nourish crops.

How can land rehabilitation techniques restore Niger’s agricultural lands?

Niger is a hot and arid country, and unsustainable agricultural practices have made the nation’s dry lands even more susceptible to desertification. In fact, at least 100,000 hectares of agricultural land are lost each year in Niger. Increasing vegetative growth is vital for reducing the rate of land degradation, as it substantially reduces the impacts of soil erosion. Without vegetative growth, rainwater cannot penetrate beyond the surface, which degrades the land and causes more intense floods during the rainy season.

Local-scale land rehabilitation practices, however, could be the answer to restoring Niger’s depleted agricultural lands. The water-preserving capabilities of half-moons, for example, could play an important role in improving soil fertility in degraded ecosystems. The vegetation that grows as a result of these structures prevents erosion, thereby mitigating floods, which substantially increases crop yields.

Additional land rehabilitation techniques may be helpful in Niger

Aside from half-moon structures, many other local land rehabilitation techniques can help improve soil productivity and restore degraded lands in Niger. For example, a case study conducted in dry regions of Burkina Faso found that Zai pits rehabilitated degraded soils and reintroduced a large diversity of plants.Like half-moons, constructing Zai pits does not require advanced technology. Other agroecological interventions such as contour bunds, eyebrow terraces, and Negarim microcatchments also help restore vegetation in arid regions.

While all of these land rehabilitation techniques help improve agricultural productivity in barren areas, they require no advanced technology, making them simple and inexpensive to construct. Overall, implementing these sustainable and effective agricultural strategies will be critical to restoring Niger’s agricultural lands, which will, in turn, help reduce the nation’s food security shortages.

Zai Practice: A West African Traditional Rehabilitation System for Semiarid Degraded Lands, a Case Study in Burkina Faso: Arid Soil Research and Rehabilitation: Vol 13, No 4 (tandfonline.com)

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-27242-3#ref-CR23

https://mcc.org/stories/how-digging-half-moons-helps-farmers-burkina-faso

https://www.greener.land/index.php/product/zai-pits/

https://www.usaid.gov/niger/agriculture-and-food-security

https://www.fao.org/3/U3160E/u3160e07.htm

 

Niger-Nigeria: A Tale of Two Similar But Different West African States

By Eric Ojo

The Republic of Niger and the Federal Republic of Nigeria are two West African sister states that share a lot of similarities and differences. These distinguishing characteristics are widely acknowledged by citizens of both countries and perhaps other neighboring nations in the West African sub-region. However, the distinctions between the countries may blur together for people from other parts of the world.

Similarities between Niger and Nigeria

Niger, which is pronounced as Nee-szehr, and Nigeria purportedly derived their names from the Niger River, the third longest river in Africa, after the Nile and the Congo. The river runs through western Niger and a vast portion of Nigeria and is very important to both countries.

Niger gained her political independence from France on August 3, 1960. Similarly, Nigeria also secured her independence from Britain on October 1, 1960. Citizens of Niger and people living in Nigeria are predominantly Muslims, and share a socio-cultural and religious affinity.

In addition, both countries have many Hausa speakers, which is a major language spoken in several countries within the West African sub-region and beyond. Moreover, Nigeria also shares about 1,500 kilometers of land border with Niger. The countries are members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Differences between Niger and Nigeria

Niger is a landlocked country which happens to be the largest inland country in West Africa and the 22nd largest in the world. The country’s landmass covers a total area of 1,267,000 km² (489,191 mi²), which is approximately 182 percent of the area of Texas. Niger is extremely hot because two-thirds of its territory lies within the Sahara Desert. Niger has a population of over 24 million.

Nigeria, which has a landmass of 923,7770 km² (356,668 mi²), is almost the same size as California, Nevada and Utah combined. Nigeria currently has a population of over 211 million people, by far the most populous nation in Africa.

Niger is a semi-presidential republic which gives the President the mandate to serve as head of state and the Prime Minister of the country. Nigeria is currently a federal republic under a presidential system with a bicameral legislature, very much like that of the United States. The President and Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria heads the executive arm of government.

The capital city of Niger is Niamey, while that of Nigeria is Abuja. French is the official language of Niger, while English is the official language of Nigeria.  Citizens of Niger are called Nigeriens and those from Nigeria are called Nigerians.

Niger’s currency is the West African CFA franc. Nigeria’s currency is known as the Naira and its symbol is ₦. Niger is blessed with natural resources such as uranium, gold, salt, calcium, phosphates, cassiterite and gypsum. However, since the Sahara Desert encompasses two-thirds of the country, food production is difficult. Drought and famine are common. In spite of her huge natural resources, Niger is ranked amongst the poorest countries in the world today, according to statistics released by the United Nations in 2021.

Nigeria is richly endowed with oil and gas, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc and has extensive arable land. Although Nigeria has not attained its full potential economically, the oil-rich nation has fared comparatively better in its growth and development trajectory. Rated as one the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria is far richer than Niger.

Within families, two sisters often have very different personalities despite sharing a similar heritage. The same holds true for the sister states of Niger and Nigeria.

REFERENCES

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2003/07/the-pronunciation-of-niger.html

https://www.pronounceitright.com/pronunciation/niger-15205

https://www.afsusa.org/countries/nigeria/

https://bti-project.org/en/reports/country-report/NER

https://www.worldometers.info/population/countries-in-africa-by-population/

https://www.cfr.org/blog/there-difference-nigeria-and-niger

https://www.britannica.com/place/Niger-River/Hydrology

https://www.worlddata.info/africa/niger/index.php#:~:text=Niger%20is%20a%20landlocked%20country,22nd%20biggest%20in%20the%20world.

https://www.flagcolorcodes.com/niger

 

Kossom Association Provides Employment for Women with Disabilities

By Amber Persson

Female empowerment is one of the most powerful growing movements of the 21st century. Countries around the world are making changes, slowly but surely, to close the gender gap that exists professionally and culturally. For Nigerien women living with disabilities, the gender gap is even more pronounced. As a result of widespread stigma and marginalization, women with disabilities often experience increased violence and difficulty finding employment. Advocacy groups like the Kossom Association plan to change this.

Source: Van Achterberg Collection – 6, WikiCommons

The Necessity

Focus groups conducted by the Global Call to Action Against Poverty reveal the bleak cultural attitude surrounding people with disabilities in developing countries in Africa. Some people believe those with disabilities are cursed and embody bad omens for their families. Often treated as outcasts, they may even be forced to leave their family home. People with disabilities have higher dropout rates for a variety of reasons including financial hardship, facilities that lack accessible infrastructure, and social norms. This leads to limited employment opportunities later in life.

Age and gender only exacerbate the stigma. Disabilities are 7% more prevalent in women than in men. Women with disabilities are also more likely to experience domestic violence than women without disabilities. All these factors intersect to create a difficult, potentially dangerous path for vulnerable women seeking employment.

Source: Gil Garretti

What is the Kossom Association?

The Kossom Association is a small dairy business in Tahoua, Niger that advocates for gender equality and empowers women with disabilities. The organization teaches women to make cheese from milk since cheese is more profitable. One liter of milk becomes one sheet of cheese, which earns a 250 XOF (40 cent USD) profit. While this is a progressive feat in itself, the Kossom Association accomplishes more than providing much-needed jobs.

The Kossom Association creates a supportive community their employees can rely on. The organization recently donated 45,000 XOF (about $73) to build a home for one of their employees, a mother experiencing homelessness. The Kossom Association actively educates the community about gender inequality and disabilities by speaking openly and spreading awareness about different forms of violence against women.

Thanks to a collaboration with the United Nation’s Spotlight Initiative Program, the organization has expanded to 40 female employees and two male employees. Together, they have taken a step toward a shared vision of ending violence against all women and girls, regardless of background or ability.

A Hopeful Future

Progress is in the air. The Kossom Association and Niger are working toward a future where all women have access to the same opportunities enjoyed by able-bodied men. Like the Kossom Association, Wells Bring Hope believes wholeheartedly in the empowerment of women. By drilling wells and bringing safe water to communities, women and girls have more time and strength to dedicate to creating a brighter future in which they are full and equal participants.

 

Sources:

https://unsdg.un.org/latest/videos/niger-economic-empowerment-women-and-girls-disabilities

https://gcap.global/news/leave-no-woman-behind-situation-of-women-and-girls-with-disabilities-africa-report/

https://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/november-2022/niger-equal-opportunities-women-and-girls-disabilities-benefits-whole

https://data.unwomen.org/country/niger

 

 

 

 

Artificial Rain Could Create a Silver Lining

By Will Beeker

Source: Wells Bring Hope

Despite heavy rains and flooding this fall, ongoing drought continues to pose a problem for Niger, especially late in its dry season. Niger often deals with periods of drought, but the country’s southeast is currently experiencing its lowest rainfall in 30 years, exacerbating food shortages. In August 2022, the Nigerien government announced it would use “artificial rain” to alleviate the effects of drought on the country’s farms and food supplies.

The director of Nigerien meteorology, Katiellou Gaptia Lawan said: “We had to do something about this drought,” and that Niger has been severely affected by “many extended dry spells that are upsetting the development of crops and pastures.”

This is not the first time Niger has deployed artificial rain to provide relief during dry spells, and the technology has become commonplace among the Sahel region in recent years.

What is artificial rain?

 

Source: Smcnab386

The process of creating artificial rain involves using airplanes to release a mixture of silver iodide and other chemicals into already-existing clouds to stimulate rainfall. “Cloud seeding,” as the process is also known, was invented in 1946 by American scientists and has had a somewhat controversial history.

Cloud seeding was used by the US government in the Vietnam War to lengthen the monsoon season in Northern Vietnam and flood enemy supply routes. This successful use of the technology prompted the UN to adopt a treaty prohibiting hostile uses of “environmental modification techniques.”

In recent years, the technology has garnered interest as a possible salve in drought-stricken parts of the world. Cloud seeding is now common practice in countries like China, Thailand, Australia, UAE, and the Western United States. Artificial rain is utilized by countries across Africa, too, including Kenya, Mali, South Africa, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, and Niger.

Niger’s neighbor, Burkina Faso, started its cloud seeding program in 1998 and has claimed great success. The extra rainfall has increased estimated cash earnings from agriculture 10 to 15 percent, according to the country’s government.

How well does it work?

There is some dispute among experts about the effectiveness of cloud seeding as a tool for drought relief. Some have claimed the process is too expensive to be economically viable. For example, Israel halted its 50-year-old cloud seeding program last year because it had proven to be “not economically efficient.”

A 2019 study from the World Meteorological Organization concluded that increased precipitation ranged from zero to 20 percent, with the larger increases representing conditions under which clouds were already likely to form precipitation naturally. Because the technology can only be used when clouds are already present, often this means it can’t be utilized when it is most needed.

Cloud seeding technology carries a certain amount of risk, and it can also bring unintended consequences. In the words of James Fleming, an atmospheric scientist: “You can modify a cloud, but you can’t tell it what to do after you modify it.”

Multiple approaches help Niger address drought

Combating the effects of climate change, drought, and other environmental difficulties calls for a combination of strategies. Wells Bring Hope taps into Niger’s natural aquifers by drilling borewells, which provide villages with drinking water as well as water for farming, making farms more reliable and drought-resistant.

Linking proven solutions like drilled wells with forward-thinking technologies such as artificial rain offers hope to Nigeriens; the Sahel will need all the help it can get in the coming decades.

Source: Wells Bring Hope

Source:

 

https://www.africanews.com/2022/08/26/niger-makes-artificial-rain-to-curb-drought//

https://www.unocha.org/story/niger%E2%80%99s-accelerating-climate-crisis

https://syvnews.com/news/local/lindsey-a-look-at-the-history-of-cloud-seeding-and-its-future/article_b7ad9e4b-fcc1-5fd6-99e1-0986a46c7bc3.html

https://thebulletin.org/2022/08/dodging-silver-bullets-how-cloud-seeding-could-go-wrong/

https://www.dailysabah.com/world/africa/niger-tries-cloud-seeding-to-ease-drought-amid-food-woes

http://www.chinafrica.cn/africa_report/txt/2013-08/30/content_564562.htm

https://theweek.com/north-africa/1016239/middle-east-and-north-africa-are-in-a-dubious-arms-race-to-make-it-rain

 

Finding Hope for Wildlife Conservation in Niger

By Kayla Ruff

While Niger provides habitat for some of Africa’s most notable wildlife species, such as the hippopotamus and Nile crocodile, the country is also home to many lesser-known yet critically endangered species. It’s clear Niger’s rare desert species are in dire straits: Only about 100 addax desert antelope are left in the wild, and approximately 600 wild West African giraffes remain.

Source: Roland Hunziker

Why is Niger’s wildlife in decline?

Since Niger’s wildlife thrives in arid, seemingly uninhabitable conditions, it is reasonable to wonder why the populations of these resilient species are declining at such rapid rates. If an addax antelope can flourish in terrain that receives less than five inches of annual rainfall, then why are there now only 100 left in the wild? The rapid decline of Niger’s wildlife cannot be blamed on natural causes. Rather, it is due to the persistent ways in which humans damage the natural world.

Multiple factors have contributed to Niger’s loss of desert wildlife. Some desert species have been decimated by the rise in poaching by hunters in motorized vehicles during the last quarter of the twentieth century. Uncontrolled hunting has reduced the ranges of these species even more.

Habitat degradation is another major factor contributing to wildlife loss in Niger. The nation loses about 100,000 hectares of agricultural land each year. And land degradation from agricultural pressure is only increasing with the growing human population. Because of unsustainable farming practices, Niger’s soil is eroding at catastrophic rates, which increases the intensity of droughts and floods. As organic matter is depleted from soils, rainwater is not able to penetrate beyond the surface. This means floods during the rainy season are significantly more intense—impacting both humans and wildlife.

Why does it matter?

Many species of wildlife play critical roles in human and ecosystem health in Niger. The annual arrival of the Abdim’s stork, for example, signals the impending start of the monsoon season to villagers. While many positive environmental practices may seem to only benefit wildlife, eco-friendly actions provide immense benefits to humans too. For example, improving the sustainability of agricultural practices would limit soil degradation, reduce the intensity of floods, and save the lives of both humans and animals.

What is being done?

With a combination of hands-on environmental and educational projects, it is entirely possible for people and wildlife in Niger to coexist successfully. Community-based projects are not only protecting Niger’s wildlife, but they are also educating people about the importance of conserving wildlife.

In 2006, 26 communities gathered together to plant Acacia Senegal trees on 7,200 hectares in Niger, which expanded wildlife habitats and enabled carbon sequestration. In 2020, those communities earned $450,000 from the World Bank for their greenhouse gas sequestration project.

The money is now being used for school supplies, health posts, agricultural equipment, and more. This project shows that wildlife conservation success is not achieved through one single solution but rather through a multifaceted approach that involves humanitarian and environmental efforts.

Wells Bring Hope employs this same multi-factor approach when drilling wells in rural villages of Niger. After a well is drilled, villagers are taught hygiene practices and drip farming techniques. The wells eliminate the need for women and girls to walk for water, which means girls can go to school and women have time for income-generating work. As a result, more people can be educated about sustainability and the importance of conserving Niger’s wildlife.

Both of these projects involve humanitarian and environmental efforts. They show that the natural world provides resources to humans, while humans also have the ability to improve the state of nature. It is easy to read dire news reports and remain apathetic about environmental problems faced in Niger, but one thing remains certain: Organizations like Wells Bring Hope are not only transforming villages, but they are also instilling hope for the future of conservation in Niger.

Niger | African Wildlife Foundation (awf.org)

Reversing the decline of threatened wildlife in the Aïr & Ténéré National Nature Reserve in Niger – SaharaConservation

Abdim’s Stork – eBird

In Niger, a ‘crazy idea’ to restore degraded land pays off (worldbank.org)

2 Causes and 4 Effects of Soil Degradation (sadhguru.org)

West African Giraffe | African Wildlife Foundation (awf.org)

The Languages of Niger: Hausa

By Megan Campbell

Niger is linguistically diverse, with over twenty languages spoken in everyday life!

French is used for professional communication and official proceedings. Indigenous languages are a way for members of a specific ethnic group to converse, but they are rarely spoken outside that population.

Hausa, however, is an exception to that rule. Hausa is the most widely spoken language in Niger and can primarily be found in the southern region of the country. In Niger, around 53% of the population speaks Hausa. The language has been adopted by many as a lingua franca (a common language) in Niger. So, what makes this language unique? And why do people speak it?

Source: Ashashyou

Hausa is a fascinating language with numerous noteworthy elements. Compared to English, Hausa is a remarkably complex and layered language. For one thing, Hausa can be written in two scripts. The Arabic ajami is the older of the two. While this script has diminished in popularity, Islamic scholars still use it. The other script is based on the Latin alphabet, and known as boko. Boko became the official Hausa alphabet in 1930, and is overwhelmingly used today.

Another interesting attribute of Hausa is the grammatical complexity. Forming plurals is notoriously difficult, and much more complicated than simply tacking an “-s” onto the end of a word. There are somewhere between ten and seventy different ways to form a plural.

Another feature of Hausa’s grammar is that a pronoun has to accompany every single verb. The pronoun helps to determine what the tense of the verb is. English speakers are often perplexed by this rule.

Like Chinese, Hausa is a tonal language. This means that changing the inflection of your voice can change the meaning of a word. Tonal languages are often described as musical due to their fluctuating melodies and pitches. But, Hausa is not unique in its reliance on tone. In fact, many West African languages are tonal. On the other hand, there are very few European languages that could be considered entirely tonal. Interestingly, tonal languages offer some advantages to speakers. On average, those who speak tonal languages have a better understanding of pitch than those who do not. They also can pick out scales and tones easier. So, musicians may want to consider learning a tonal language.

Hausa is widely spoken for a couple of reasons. Notably, historical influences have led to the emergence of Hausa as a lingua franca, especially for trade. This development is commonly attributed to the effects of the Hausa Kingdoms (also known as Hausaland). This was a collection of Hausa states that were once spread between Nigeria and Niger. Although they prospered in the 1400s-1700s, their influence is still felt today.

If you are curious and would like to hear some basic conversational phrases in Hausa, click here.

Sources:

https://mguzmann89.gitlab.io/pdf/hausa-post.pdf

https://mylanguages.org/hausa_pronouns.php

https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa15/2015/09/16/can-speaking-a-language-give-you-a-musical-advantage/

https://dspace.univ-adrar.edu.dz/jspui/bitstream/123456789/2760/1/The%20Emergence%20of%20Hausa%20as%20a%20National%20Lingua%20Franca.pdf\

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Hausa-language

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hausa_language

https://www.culturesofwestafrica.com/west-african-languages/

https://omniglot.com/language/phrases/hausa.php

 

Ancient Culture Thrives in Agadez, Niger

By Talei Caucau

Source : Vincent van Zeijst

Niger, West Africa, is not a place visited by many tourists. As one of the more isolated countries
in Africa, it remains mostly untouched by globalization. However, the northern part of Niger has
long tempted adventurous travelers who are drawn to Agadez and the vast expanse of desert that
lies beyond it, which is known as The Air.

Agadez is an ancient and important market town located in the desert northeast of Niamey, the
capital of Niger. Constructed with clay and sticks, the architecture of Agadez is stunning and
otherworldly. It looks like a relic of an ancient city, but it remains a lively and bustling town. Its
mosque is said to have one of the highest mud minarets in Africa.

Agadez has a fascinating history. The city prospered because of its position as a trading hub. For
over a thousand years, caravans have been bringing salt, a very lucrative commodity in this area,
to Agadez. A century ago, it became the marketplace for everything else merchants had to sell.
The caravans merge at Agadez to sell their goods after crossing the desert.

In Agadez, caravans can gather food for themselves and their horses and camels before they
begin the next part of their journey. Their way of life is mostly unknown to the rest of the world.
The caravans do what they must to endure droughts and constant conflict in the region. They
continue to make their way through the desert and wander through the harsh lands they know so
well.

Source: Vincent van Zeijst

In the 15th century, Agadez was the home of a Tuareg sultanate. The Tuareg are pastoralists who
inhabit North and West Africa. Niger was taken over by French colonialists in the early 1900s,
and their reign over the city was brutal until the Tuaregs, a large Berber ethnic confederation of
nomads, fought against their cruel oppressors in an act of desperation and defiance. It took four
months for the French to quell the rebellion. Even colonial powers could not easily defeat the
mighty Tuareg in the region.

In 2010, around 2 million Tuareg were estimated to be living in West Africa. Their
lifestyle is ancient and fascinating. The Tuareg in North Africa inhabit the desert regions, live in feudal
communities in tents and wield traditional weapons. It is evident that the Tuareg, noblemen, and
clergy, are deeply entrenched in their culture and live according to their own laws. They have
learned everything they know from their elders and have preserved their ancient language and
culture.

The Tuareg continue to sustain themselves with traditional knowledge that has been passed from
generation to generation. Glimpses of a beautiful and otherworldly way of life remain today in
Agadez, Niger.

4 Easy Ways to Help Niger

By Vasti Carrion

Source: Max R – ooyooy

1. Read
One way to help Niger, the world’s least developed country, is to read news about the current
affairs of the country. In Niger, “more than 10 million people (41.8% of the population) were
living in extreme poverty in 2021” according to worldbank.org. Our awareness of Niger’s
issues will help us be informed citizens who can develop suitable ideas to help Nigeriens address
poverty. Reading helps us understand Niger, discover Niger, and interpret Niger.

2. Volunteer
Volunteering with organizations that assist Niger can help improve the statistics for education,
water scarcity, and political development. By investing your time in Niger, you are letting
people know that it’s an important country, and it makes a statement that Niger should not be
ignored. Helping Niger by volunteering can help you give back while helping Nigeriens become
more sustainable in living their lives.

3. Advocate
Another manner you can help Niger is to let your family and friends know about the country and
its struggles. You can recommend Niger to people by sharing your facts, knowledge, and the beauty
the country beholds—this is the very definition of what advocacy means. Share on your social
media your commentary, opinions, art, and writing about Niger and what the country needs most to
improve its development and human expectancy. Be vocal about how much you care about this
country.

4. Fundraise

You can fundraise for Niger and donate the money to various non-profits (such as Wells Bring
Hope) who focus on Niger. By fundraising, you are adding another meaning to the word “money”
that can sometimes sound hollow in our mouths. Fundraising means more than money; it means
goodwill.

Sources:

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/fundraising

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

It’s Calypso Time! – Wells Bring Hope’s 2022 Fundraiser

On Sunday, September 18th, Wells Bring Hope’s founder and president Barbara Goldberg welcomed over 100 guests to the home of Carol and Howie Cohen for the organization’s 14th Annual Fundraiser. The theme was “It’s Calypso Time!” and featured the steel drums of Alan Lightner and a décor that set a mood that was upbeat and FUN! With perfect weather, guests turned out in festive garb, sporting lots of color to match the tropical décor.

Guests nibbled on delicious Caribbean cuisine from Edible 360: coconut shrimp, poke style ahi on a wanton crisp, zucchini flowers and mozzarella quesadilla and more. The featured drinks:  the rum-laced Pirate’s Poison and a refreshing vodka lemonade called  the Calypso Cooler. Next to the bar was the aguas frescas station with tantalizing flavors like hibiscus and passionfruit. Guests also sipped 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 Sedona, San Francisco, and Scottsdale, and dining at the Polo Lounge, Musso & Frank, Cassia and more.

With many newcomers in attendance, Founder and President, Barbara Goldberg told guests about our cause and what makes it so special. Our honoree this year was critically acclaimed actor of stage and screen, Robert Gossett, who has supported WBH almost since its beginning.

During the live auction, guests got the chance to bid on some exciting travel packages including trips to Belize, St. Croix, a stay at the Carlyle in New York,  Punta Mita, as well as a thee day wine-tasting getaway to Paso Robles and a relaxing spa stay at Two Bunch Palms in the desert.

Special thanks to auctioneer extraordinaire, Clint Hufft, who made parting with one’s money a fun-time for all! And no WBH event would be complete without hearing a few words from Gil Garcetti, the man who inspired its start! In spite of all the excitement and colorful décor, the “star” of the show was the Cohen’s dog, Peaches, who everyone wanted to take home!

Thanks to all who came to support our effort to save lives with safe water, particularly our incredibly 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 and is the person responsible all the beautiful floral arrangements.  We also want to thank our very capable volunteers who helped at the event and of course, our photographer Tatsu, who captured it all!

Local Nigeriens Collaborate with Refugees in Ouallam

By Amber Persson

When the sun breaks, the people of Ouallam, a refugee camp in Southwestern Niger, are already up and beginning their long days of working in a brickyard, garden, or another trade. They are 6,000 of the nearly 270,000 refugees from Nigeria, Mali, and Burkina Faso that have flooded into Niger to escape violent jihadist attacks over the past few years.

As time passes, many refugees come to the unfortunate realization that they may never return to their home country and that they must start making a new home for themselves. To do that, they must find a way to earn money, if not for themselves, then for their children, many of whom have been born in the camp.

Source: jhntering

The market garden launched in 2020 by UNHCR, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, has provided an opportunity for the refugees, the majority of whom are women, to create a sustainable source of food and income. Many women have learned modern gardening techniques like drip irrigation that will help preserve water resources. Tending the garden has become a joint effort of daily survival between refugees and displaced local people.

The brickyard on the other side of the camp has been another joint effort. Bricks made of soil, water, a little bit of sand and cement are left to dry in the sun. After they are dried, they can be used for construction. Notably, these innovative bricks use less resources than clay bricks, which must be baked using scarce fuel in order to set.

Many refugees have made money—something they have not seen in a long time—from selling goods from the garden or brickyard. They are working, getting married, and starting families in a place that was a temporary camp at first but has now become their long-term community. Ouallam is an example of the local people collaborating with refugees in their time of need, a welcome symbol of hope in a time when the future can seem so bleak.

Sources:

https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/02/1112132

https://www.africanews.com/2022/02/16/nigeriens-displaced-by-violence-seek-a-better-life//

https://mg.co.za/africa/2022-02-21-malian-refugees-see-future-in-niger/

https://www.worldvision.ca/our-work/niger/175126