by Kristopher Coulston Illness and family emergencies are typically the cause for school absence in developed countries. Unfortunately, this is not the situation in drought-stricken countries, such as Niger. Water is scarce and girls spend hours walking miles just to satisfy their desperate need for it, even if the water sources they are gathering from… Read more »
By Jennifer Dees As a writer, I feel that identity is tied to art. I’ve wondered at the painter’s mind while staring at furious strokes of color. I’ve watched musicians lose themselves in a powerful song. And I’ve seen dance movements that express more than words ever could. So I set out to discover female… Read more »
by Shelton Owen As I soak up the bittersweet last moments of my senior year of high school, I sense my departure for college inching closer. The school year has been packed with applications, scholarship essays, and an abundance of rigorous preparations for the next chapter of my educational career. It wasn’t until recently, when… Read more »
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 prosecution claimed Amadou was… Read more »
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.
Total fertility rate is a measure used by demographers that quantifies the average number of children that women in a specified population tend to have. Like many African countries, Niger’s fertility rate is rather high—it is so high in fact, as to be in the top ten fastest growing countries with regards to population in the world. The total fertility rate of the nation is 7.57, meaning that Niger’s women tend to have an average of 7-8 kids each during their lifetimes.
Gender issues have come into sharp focus in recent years, particularly in Africa. The African Union declared 2016 to be “The Year of Human Rights with a Special Focus on Women’s Human Rights.” Gender was a priority in the Millennium Development Goals and continues to be so in the new Sustainable Development Goals.
Earlier this year, members of Wells Bring Hope’s Board and Advisory Board had the opportunity to meet with Esperance Klugan, Director of Operations, West Africa Region and former Director of World Vision, Niger. Esperance has a unique background, combining the worlds of finance and humanitarian help for women.
Just a pinch of sound logic is enough to realize that denying educational opportunities, justice, and equal rights to women oppresses approximately half of the world’s population. The oppression of women misuses the scarce resource that is human brainpower and vastly inhibits the possibility of prosperity for many developing nations. It’s an equation that does not add up. On the noble quest to end global poverty, we are casting aside the very individuals that experience it and could be empowered to contribute meaningfully to the solution.
Nelson Mandela defined education as a weapon that can change the world; education is the most important way to measure civilization and the progress of nations.