Somewhere in a village in Niger, Amina is giving birth to a boy whose father already abandoned the family. The girl got married at the age of 12, now she suffers chest pains that prevent her from eating and sleeping. If it was not for World Vision’s workers coming to her village, there would have been no one to take care of her baby.
Abandonment and depression are only two of many negative aspects likely to develop when girls get married too young, in fact when they are still children. This phenomenon, however strange to Westerners, is common in many developing countries. Fifty-one million girls in the developing world have been married before legal adulthood. Over one-third girls in Niger marry before the age of 15, according to World Vision’s report “Before She’s Ready.” Three out of four brides in Niger are younger than 18. Only Bangladesh notes more under age marriages; in over half of them, brides are under 15.
World Hand Washing Day was observed on October 15, 2010 in a region known for its high population density and high population growth, one of the highest in the world at more than 6% annually. The Chadakori Area Development Program, which hosted the World Hand Washing Day ceremony, covers a population of 44,881. The departments represented at this ceremony were: Primary Education, District Health, Water Services along with the schoolteachers, students, parents, and various youth groups and women’s associations of Chadakori and vicinity.
I was born in the United States but left with my family for Nigeria, the country of my parents, at the age of four. I lived in Nigeria for 13 ½ years, in a place that one would call a remote primitive village turning into a city. Its residents were comprised of people who lived from hand-to-mouth and suffered greatly from a lack of any significant infrastructural development. Everyday, I had to wake up extremely early to look for water and walk miles upon miles to find it.
We might not think of it often, one tends to take for granted what has always been here, but it also doesn’t take long to come to realize the preciousness of water. Wherever you turn, and from every angle, life is possible thanks to water. There is no replacement for it.
Drought-stricken Niger has been struck by devastating flooding, aid agencies said today. Crop failure combined with a severe drought had already thrust tens of thousands of people into a perilous state in Niger and neighboring Chad in the Sahel region of central North Africa.
Many people don’t realize that water in the developing world is a women’s issue. Why do I mean by that? Women and girls are responsible for getting water for their families. They spend much of their waking hours walking miles to get water–water that can be deadly. Young women who have heard me talk about life in Niger say, “Why do they accept that?” “Why don’t they make the men do more?” These are questions that are not surprising, coming from activist, equal rights women who see injustice and want to right it. They find it hard to accept the fact that this is the tradition of these Muslim women, generations of women who don’t question their roles.
(Note: These are excerpts from an article that reinforces how important it is to include education on good sanitation and proper hygiene for the success of any major health program, including the eradication of a single disease like polio.)