Rain for the Sahel and Sahara

Rain for the Sahel and Sahara (RAIN) forges partnerships with underserved nomadic and rural desert peoples of West Africa to realize their ambitions for education and enduring livelihoods with a focus on empowering girls and women with learning and earning.
Dec 2, 2014

Double Your Impact on Giving Tuesday!

ALC Student Bappa Dari
ALC Student Bappa Dari

Your support makes the dream of a better life through secondary education a possibly - one for which most nomadic students of the West African desert regions do not have. Scholarships, secure dormitory space, tutoring and mentoring is just the beginning. Secondary school is where students learn the critical skills needed to stretch their horizons, become community leaders, and shape their own futures.

  • 15-year old Elamo wants to build a boarding school so all the children from his village can have the same opportunity he has.
  • 18-year old Agali wishes to become a minister to “end the problem of education in Niger, and provide internships so nomadic students can continue their studies.”
  • Abarta, Bappa, and Tamamounte, all 18-year old girls, hope to study medicine to help their families and villages.

You've generously given to this project because you're passionate about access to education for rural and at-risk children in Niger. On Giving Tuesday, December 2, GlobalGiving and Microsoft YouthSpark will be matching every donation to the Agadez Learning Center. This is a wonderful opportunity to share your passion with a gift donation in honor of someone special. Or, just sharing our Agadez Learning Center project on Giving Tuesday with friends and family will be a win for the girls and boys working so hard against the odds. 

In this season of sharing, give a piece of your heart -- give the gift of education nomadic girls and boys.


Thank you for your caring spirit, and the very best wishes for the holidays!

Bess Palmisciano
Founding Director 

ALC Student Abarta
ALC Student Abarta
ALC Student Tamamounte
ALC Student Tamamounte


Nov 10, 2014

School Market Gardens to Expand Community Wide

Tchirozerine women gardeners meeting
Tchirozerine women gardeners meeting

In 2015, RAIN will be focusing on the expansion, improvement and rehabilitation of existing School Market Gardens and their attendant wells in current partner communities before expanding into new communities. Existing gardens will be expanded from 500 square meters to 1,000 square meters to accommodate cash crops, increasing sustainability. In some communities, the gardens need intensive rehabilitation due to recent floods, droughts and changes in nomadic living patterns. As our agricultural programs develop they are taking the form of mainly women driven community wide gardens that not only support schools but benefit entire communities on a wider scale.

To reflect this shift in scope, look for our Community Garden microproject coming soon - another opportunity to support organic food production in Niger. RAIN will provide a tailored action plan for each partner community - for example, in Gougaram, we're strengthening their current gardens with small grants, training and educational opportunities. For Ingui, the well will be restored and the School Market Garden expanded. In Mari, RAIN will continue to build on the success of the Women's Garden and as a launching pad for our pioneering garden-as-classroom cirriculum in organic techniques, crop variety and rotation, and maximizing nutrition for children and adults alike.  

We plan to launch a Microproject focusing on our community garden grants program with this wider focus. An additional Microproject will support improvements to our Agadez Learning Center - a "home away from home" for nomadic students persuing middle school - which will include a 1,000 square meter School Market Garden to provide produce to the students and help support the center. We hope you'll continue to support food security to the most remote struggling in the Sahel and Sahara with these new opportunities!

Warm regards,

The RAIN Team
U.S. & Niger

Mari Co-op Member
Mari Co-op Member
Mentors pitching in for the Tirboye garden
Mentors pitching in for the Tirboye garden
Oct 10, 2014

ALC Girls Find a Mentor in Halima Aboubacar

Halima (2nd from L) with students & founder Bess
Halima (2nd from L) with students & founder Bess

“I would like to be Prime Minister or work for an NGO. I want to help the people in my village and my family and fight against terrible diseases.” - ALC Student Faji Hamid

In Niger, girls rarely progress to the 4th grade and 1 in 3 is married before the age of 15. The girls RAIN works with face the additional challenge presented by their remote desert location. Only 2% of girls in Niger make it to secondary school. A good education, like rain, is scarce here — especially for girls. And finding a secure and supportive place to live to persue that education is even scarcer.

New opportunity for nomadic students is found at the Agadez Learning Center – a safe and nurturing home away from home - a place to live, study, tuition, meals, and tutoring to support them through secondary school - a truly unique opportunity for Niger's children to break free of the cycle of poverty. As RAIN expands the center, we expect to set a new precedent in Niger. As girls in our mentoring programs graduate from primary school, they will have an option to continue their studies they would otherwise not have. School is a monumental commitment for desert nomadic kids and their families. Going to class means they aren’t able to help their parents forge a living in the dusty pastureland south of the Sahara. Despite the sacrifices, this fall will find these girls attending school with smiles on their faces. Somehow, they know it’s worth it. They know that each additional year in school brings them closer to a better life: More options. Skills to share back home. Better health. Greater independence. The possibility to be one of the lucky few in Niger to go on to high school, or even college.

Mentoring continues at the ALC

RAIN's mentoring program is gaining momentum at the Learning Center. The girls lean on RAIN staff member Halima Aboubacar as a mentor and role model throughout the school year. Meeting with the girls twice a week, Halima instructs and guides in a firm but gentle style. With her guidance, students delegate responsibilities for a variety of posts and chores, and lead informal peer to peer tutoring sessions. With her help, the average success rate of ALC students in the 2014 school year was twice as high as their peers, demonstrating that with the right support, rural students - despite many challenges - can outperform urban students. Those graduating meet with Halima in conjunction with school staff to assist in plans for high school and specialty schools offering degrees in public health, engineering, agriculture and education. In 2015, RAIN plans to extend our mentoring program, drawing from a local women artisan co-operative, to support the growing number of girls at the Learning Center. 

This fall, 12 students are returning,  joined by 13 girls from RAIN mentoring programs beginning their secondary school journey. Remote northern communities such as Gougaram, Tadek, Tchinfiniten, Soulefet, and Tchintelouste will see a new generation of girls going further in their education than ever before. A special effort is being made to seek out and recruit Wodaabe students in these communities, who are the least represented in Niger schools. 

School starts in a few weeks. Because of friends like you, new opportunity is in reach for these desert children of hardship and hope.

On October 15th, GlobalGiving will match your donation to our mentoring program that keeps at-risk rural and nomadic girls succeeding in school by 30%! Matching begins at 9:00 am EDT and lasts until funds run out or 11:59 pm EDT.

Let's do this! Mark your calendar for October 15th and be sure to spread the word...together we can keep more girls in school to be the next generation of students at the Agadez Learning Center.


It's not often that girls in rural Niger are asked about their lives and hopes for the future. RAIN supplied questionairres to the students at the ALC to get to know them better and let them know that their ideas count. Below is a sample from a Wodaabe student.

Dafada Hadiza
Age: 14  Grade: 5

What are common illnesses in your village? Malaria, menengitis, measles, conjunctivitis, fever, back illness.
What is the most difficult part of your life? Life is expensive. We do not take advantage of our culture.
What work did you do as a child? Getting wood and drawing water by mule back. Caring for young goats.
What games did you prefer as a child? Galloping on mule back, playing with clay and a doll, a game called gollel.
What work do you do during your vacations? Helping mother pound millet, bringing wood, herding the flock to pasture, fetching water, embroidering.
What are the recreational activities you prefer? Dancing with my friends, embroidery.
What profession would you like to do when you are an adult? To be a nurse, to help care for the sick.

Tamamounte, Fatima & Dafada enjoying the questions
Tamamounte, Fatima & Dafada enjoying the questions
Faji Hamid
Faji Hamid
Dafada Hadiza
Dafada Hadiza


donate now:

An anonymous donor is matching all new monthly recurring donations. Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Rain for the Sahel and Sahara

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Rain for the Sahel and Sahara on GreatNonProfits.org.