Rain for the Sahel and Sahara

Rain for the Sahel and Sahara (RAIN) forges partnerships with 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.
Nov 15, 2010

Project Update: Foudouk, Niger, and the Air Massif, From Founder Bess Palmisciano

-Project Update: Foudouk, Niger and the Air Massif, From Founder Bess Palmisciano

Dear Friends,

I have been in Agadez, the more remote, northern region of Niger, for about a week now, in the village of Foudouk, meeting with the Women's Artisan Cooperative RAIN has there, as well as with the President of the community Parent Association.

Both groups are gratified to report that Foudouk is doing well now, and the population is very content and grateful for the life saving assistance offered by RAIN.  For example, RAIN had donated both goats and sheep to the Foudouk Young Men's Association, as well as to a number of women in the community.  These herds will not only improve livelihoods, but will generate funds to support the children in Foudouk's school. 

As you remember, Foudouk was one of the areas hardest hit by the summer's drought and resulting food shortage: 40% of all livestock had perished from starvation. With your support in this effort, RAIN not only provided food relief to families in Foudouk, but for Foudouk's herding animals, as well.  I was told today that all the livestock are well, are growing, and have started to produce healthy young, replacing those that were lost over the summer.

The Young Men's Association is keeping one herd for the benefit of the local school.  The goats are providing milk,  cheese and meat to augment the diets of Foudouk's children, increasing the nutritional value as well as the quantity of millet alone.

Looking ahead, RAIN is finding ways to continue to help these communities recover from the devastating effects of the summer food crisis. Schools in Niger opened late this year, and RAIN staff are currently working in the Air Massif region, preparing for the transport and delivery of the school food aid.  Abdourahamane Koini, our Agriculture Director, is overseeing the installation of two strategically placed cereal banks in the region where communities that continue to have a need have been identified.  Along with our RAIN supporters, The Prem Rawat Foundation has been instrumental in ensuring this continued support as these communities recover.

We will continue to provide updates from the field in the upcoming weeks as things develop.

With thanks,

Bess Palmisciano

Oct 23, 2010

Update: New Gardens are Brought to Life

Garden in Tchifiniten
Garden in Tchifiniten

RAIN is happy to report that we have successfully installed five new gardens in the Tillaberi region of Niger since January. Installed with the partnership of the Tadiben, Enekre, Tadek, and Abalama communities, they are 100% organic and utilize drip irrigation, with only 25% of the water needed for traditional trough systems.  The wells installed with the gardens also provide clean drinking water, as they are protected from the elements and not used by animals.

RAIN is currently building another new garden in partnership with Rotary International for the Bonfeba school -- complete with irrigation system, fencing, seeds, and supplies.  As with all RAIN gardens, the Bonfeba garden will have the added benefit of providing food for the school lunch program for the school's 250 students. 

Once installed, the gardens are managed by a gardener chosen by the community and trained by RAIN, who in turn provides instruction to the community. Part of the cost of every RAIN garden project is the gardener salary, as well as fuel for the motor pump which pulls the water from the well.  After one or two growing seasons, (there are three growing seasons a year in Niger), the gardens are, in addition to providing food for students, generating sufficient cash crops to pay for all of the garden's ongoing expenses from that point forward, creating a truly sustainable and renewable resource for the entire community.

RAIN's gardens, with your help, provide the opportunity for each partner community to invest in their own food security.  Thank you!  More to come soon.

Installing the garden in Tagantassou
Installing the garden in Tagantassou
Garden in Lemdou
Garden in Lemdou
Gardener in Tangouchman
Gardener in Tangouchman
Sep 2, 2010

RAIN Mentors Training for Health Education

RAIN Mentors in Arlit, 2009
RAIN Mentors in Arlit, 2009

Dear Global Giving Friends,

RAIN is excited to announce a new facet to our Girls Scholarship and Mentoring Program! This year, our Niger mentors will become an important force in educating communities about health, recognizing common disease symptoms, and referring children to health care professionals.

The principle objective for our new Health Education program is to protect our partner communities from preventable diseases, the leading causes of death in Niger, including meningitis, diarrhea, malaria, pneumonia, and measles. Children under the age of five are particularly at risk of contracting these diseases, often transmitted by unsafe water and poor sanitation.

Our mentoring program offers a wonderful opportunity to address this issue. Much information is exchanged between girls and their families with the trusted mentors, why not train mentors to also provide health education?

RAIN will be expanding the medical training of mentors, resulting in their increased confidence, empowerment, and use of improved health practices - knowledge they will share with their communities.

After training, each mentor will be responsible for referring children for treatment of simple medical problems. In addition to the training, RAIN will supply the medicines and treatment plans.

By offering medical first aid, symptom awareness for illness, simple medical kits, and access to health professionals, RAIN expects to substantially improve the health of children and adults alike in our partner communities. The students in our Mentoring and Scholarship Program will not only benefit from support, guidance, advocacy and skills training, but will now receive vital health education and medical treatment. When you support RAIN's Scholarship and Mentoring Program, you are ensuring the well being of these girls in every aspect of their lives, while further increasing the knowledge and skills of their volunteer mentors.

We at RAIN are eager to share photos and stories as mentors begin their training process and put their new health and hygeine knowlege into action. Stay tuned!

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