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 »

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 »

Turning Over a New Leaf: Land Regeneration in Niger

by Lilia Leung In 1960, Niger gained independence from France after a nation-wide referendum, and the country celebrated its 59th Independence Day on August 3rd, of this year. Freedom and self-governance weren’t the things being celebrated on August 3rd, however, as Niger also observes Arbor Day on the third of August. In 1975, the Nigerien… Read more »

Charity versus Solidarity

by Jennifer Dees It’s safe to say that Wells Bring Hope is charitable. But I don’t think charity is the best word to describe what’s being done. Charity is akin to pity, to feel sorry for someone. While pity can be benevolent, it can also stem from negative perceptions. When you take pity on someone,… Read more »

In the Sahel, Strong Women Create Strong Communities

by Elaine Wallace When we hear about the Sahel in the news, it’s often in connection with a humanitarian crisis. Droughts and other disasters regularly push the region into a state of crisis, and the international community usually responds with a large-scale emergency relief effort. In 2012, USAID recognized that these repeated crises occur because… Read more »

Sew Empowering: How Sewing Classes are Changing Lives

by Shayna Watson The phrase “doing well by doing good” has been said many times to express the importance of making an impact with our altruistic actions. Documentaries like “Poverty Inc.” warn us about the dangers of giving to communities in need without allowing them to make a future for themselves. With good intentions, aid… Read more »

The Lifeboat of the Desert

by Jennifer Dees On June 20, 2018, the world honored millions of refugees for World Refugee Day. Along with their bravery and resilience, I also want to honor Niger, one of the countries that has given refugees hope for a new life. To understand Niger’s role, we first need to understand the refugee crisis in… Read more »

Water Action Decade

by Stephanie Coles 2018 marks the start of what the U.N. is calling “the Water Action Decade:” a decade-long quest to improve the world’s access to clean water. As outlined by the President of the United Nations General Assembly, “clean, accessible water is critical for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty and hunger, and… Read more »

The West African Giraffe: Niger’s Success Story

by Elaine Wallace In the past 30 years, Africa’s giraffe population has been reduced by 40% due to habitat loss, poaching, and civil unrest. In some areas, it has plummeted by more than 80% bringing some giraffe species close to extinction. The future looks bleak for many of Africa’s giraffes. But in Niger, home of… Read more »