Niger’s Critically Endangered Animals

by Lilia Leung Many of us have seen the viral video of the brown mama bear and cub that was recorded by a drone around one of Russia’s snowy mountain slopes. While it has raised concerns that such drones may be disrupting the wildlife, there are ways that drones can be used appropriately to help… Read more »

Why Undocumented Births in Niger are a Big Problem

by Anna C. Niger, the poorest country in the world, is home to 19 million people. It borders Nigeria and is named for the Niger River. In 2017 alone, the population grew just over 3 percent, with an average of 44 births for every 1,000 people.  Nearly 20 percent of the population live in cities,… Read more »

Bridging the Gap: Empowerment and Education in Niger’s “Husband Schools”

by Hannah Lichtenstein An interesting tension exists in the socio-cultural plane in Niger as it does in many West African countries. Nigerien men generally operate outside of the household as the “breadwinners,” making a living toiling in economic spheres such as agriculture or mining. Women, on the other hand, are the nurturing caretakers, responsible for… Read more »

Voting Power: How Women Leaders in Niger Changed History

by Shayna Watson There are approximately 3.8 billion women on Earth. As roughly 50% of the world’s population, women are a powerful force across the globe – but what about in national-level leadership? As of January 2017, women accounted for only 23.3% of all national leaders globally. And these figures get even more disproportionate when… Read more »

Professor Antoinette Tidjani Alou: Voice of Nigerien Women

by Elsa Sichrovsky Looking only at statistics, it is easy to misconceive that Niger is a nation that cannot produce great literature. Literacy rates among young people aged 15-to-24 years old are 36.43% and 17.15% for males and females respectively[1]. Literacy rates are especially low for women; just 11.04% of the adult female population. But… Read more »

Guérewol, a Celebration of Love and Beauty in the Desert

by Lilia Leung September marks the end of the rainy season in West Africa. Some West African nomadic tribes, such as the Tuareg and the Wodaabe, commemorate this event with festivals and rituals. One of these festivals is the Guérewol, a week-long courtship ritual that takes place at particular gathering points in West Africa. The… Read more »

Look for the Helpers

by Jennifer Dees A few weeks ago, lightning struck a tree in the mountains near my town. A fire flared up, greedily devoured the tree, and then roared through the range, leaving behind the blackened corpses of trees. Smoke blotted out the blue sky and filled mouths and lungs. Those who could stay behind the… Read more »

Niger’s Ancient Rock Art

by Elaine Wallace The Sahara Desert is one of the driest, harshest environments on Earth. With sparse vegetation and very little rain, only the hardiest, drought-adapted plants and animals survive there. But the Sahara was not always a desert. 10,000 years ago, it was a lush grassland with rivers, lakes, trees, and abundant wildlife. It’s… Read more »

Name a More Iconic Duo: Understanding the Relationship Between Women and Nature Through Ecofeminism

by Hannah Lichtenstein The association between women and nature is a long-recognized means by which societies have sought to understand an unpredictable and powerful earth. Looking to mythology, the Greek tradition describes the goddess Gaia as the personification of Earth. In Hindu narratives, she goes by the name Bhūmi or Prithvi. Secular discourse too, spanning… Read more »

Omara “Bombino” Moctar: Musician of the Desert

by Elsa Sichrovsky The world outside Niger has come to recognize and enjoy Nigerien Tuareg music because of a musician from Niger, called Omara “Bombino” Moctar. Bombino, a member of the Tuareg Ifoghas tribe, was born in 1980 in Tidene, Niger. The Tuareg, nomadic Berbers who travel in the Sahara Desert in North Africa, have… Read more »