Water, Taken for Granted by Rita Brhel I live in the middle of America’s heartland — Nebraska — surrounded by a sea of corn and soybean fields, most of which are irrigated for the entire growing season. Even the crops that aren’t irrigated still yield enough to provide the farmer with ample income to live… Read more »
Children on the Market by Shelton Owen Hama Amadou, President Mahamadou Issoufou’s opposition in Niger’s 2016 election, was sentenced to one year in jail following a long-running baby smuggling investigation. The former candidate has been living in France for the past year after fleeing Niger just days before a run off, citing health concerns. The… Read more »
Accessing the Available by Emily Johnson You wake up to sun through your bedroom window, realizing the room is warm, even hot. Your legs feel sticky from sweat. Your eyes are sticky, too, from sleep. It feels as though the ceiling fan only pushes heat around in circles. To the AC panel you go. You… Read more »
by Shelton Owen On March 8th, women around the world celebrated their femininity on International Women’s Day. The special day, observed since the early 1900s, is about recognizing the progress achieved while looking ahead to opportunities of advancement. Women have made great strides in the past century, socially, politically, and economically, but the battle… Read more »
On the front page of Saturday’s Los Angeles Times was this: “Former students in Nigeria hunt down teachers.” Just across the border from Niger, West Africa, where Wells Bring Hope drills wells is northern Nigeria. It is the place where Boko Haram has been waging a vicious campaign against innocent people, focused on eliminating secular education, especially for girls.
The implications of the violence wrought by extremist group Boko Haram to the nations surrounding Nigeria, including Chad and Niger, reach far beyond civilian casualties and displacement. It is no secret that rape is an unfortunately common weapon of war, and Niger is no exception. Sexual violence against women is part of Boko Haram’s plundering strategy, and it can provoke psychological and social trauma; women that have been raped are frequently ostracized by their families and neighbors despite it having been against their will.
Thousands of Niger’s people recently banded together to unite under one common cause-the protest against Boko Haram. The Islamic extremist group, ranked as the world’s deadliest terror group by the Global Terrorism Index in 2015, has continued to launch deadly raids into the country from Nigeria. People from various parts of the country gathered in the capital to support the nation’s army which is combatting the explosive issue. Those marching were not only voicing support, however; they were also voicing a plea. The nation wishes to urge other countries to step in and join the battle, one of security and displacement.
West Africa has no doubt has faced some hardships obtaining water to keep their children alive as well as their families. But other parts of the continent is also facing a water crisis: South Africa.
The Lake Chad Basin Commission was established in the 1960’s by four member states—Chad, Niger, Nigeria, and Cameroon–for the purpose of maintaining the ecosystem and managing the resources of the area, specifically the precious resource of water. The land in the vicinity of the lake was green and fertile, and for years, fishermen made a living off of the diverse catch they could reliably obtain from the depths.
A sizeable portion of the Nigerian population works within or near the lucrative oil drilling business that operates along the Niger Delta. Enormous, transnational corporations such as Exxon Mobil and Shell have faced widespread opposition from various players internationally given their reprehensible reputation for polluting the waters of the expansive river, which is a drinking and bathing source for many impoverished families. Some of the results of this contamination have been a concerning rise in birth defects within areas in the river’s vicinity, as well as the inability to farm and fish near the water. Moreover, the community around the delta reaps none of the profits that hugely profitable corporations such as Exxon Mobil makes; electricity, for example, is still essentially non-existent despite the fact that Exxon Mobil was the second most profitable corporation of 2014.