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.
Oct 15, 2012

Make even more of a difference on Oct 17th!

Here at RAIN, we are grateful for your partnership and caring for nomadic families in Niger who receive little or no assistance from any other source.

On Wednesday October 17th, GlobalGiving will match all donations to RAIN by 30%, providing an exciting opportunity to make an even bigger impact for food security in Niger!

Let's make the most of this chance - share with your friends and family and on your social networks, tell them why you support RAIN, and how they can acheive the good of two contributions with one - then donate as early as you can on the 17th - the matching will at $50,000. Every donation counts, even just $10 - together, we can make this Bonus Day a great success. 

Oct 1, 2012

Getting Seiga Through the "Waiting Season"

The village of Seiga
The village of Seiga

Thanks to your help, the village of Seiga and surrounding communities in the Tillaberi region of Niger will have access to subsidized grain to help them through the end of what's known as "the hungry season," usually marked as a time of out-of-reach grain prices. As the entire country struggles through a serious food crisis linked to the drought during what should be the rainy season, everyone is waiting for their crops of millet to ripen. RAIN staff noticed families surviving on low quantities of poor quality meals, witnessing several children consuming food normally designated for the animals. Many families have been utilizing their seed stocks for food, leaving them unable to plant beans in their fields. High grain and bean prices leave families in survival strategy mode - selling assets, rationing food, living in a weakened state during the important three-month agricultural season.

This month, your donations funded the delivery by a local grain vendor of sixty 100kg sacs of millet and sorghum to stock a local adobe storage shed, turning it into a temporary cereal bank for the surrounding villages. A committee was formed, which includes the local school director, PTA president and head of the RAIN mentoring group, to establish a price for the grain that is less than half the market value. The aim of this strategy is to direct the generated income to support the local school, while providing access to otherwise inaccessible food. The committee has been meeting daily in preparation for the start of the school year, usually in early October. Many of the children of the families who will be purchasing the grain at the subsidized price will also be benefiting from food at school purchased from the income generated.

Along with Seiga, benefiting surrounding communities include Tooro Tondi and Belkou. The food is transported by foot, donkey and camel to homes in the five mile radius surrounding the local school. Reinforced by a new education awareness campaign led by a group of twenty RAIN mentors, the Seiga school expects to fill their first-year classroom for the first time in years, while being able to offer support to older students in their ability to succeed.

The best rainy season in forty years has the vibrant Sahelien summer looking lush and green, a strong contrast to the difficulties people in Seiga and surrounding communities face while waiting for their crops to ripen. For pastoral communities, new grass growth brings with it the hope of healthy animals, milk and a good harvest, motivating families to work even harder through the end of the season. The food support you've made possible during this uncertain in-between time keeps families strong and allows them to keep more of their food stocks, increasing their ability to recover from this year of crisis. The people of Seiga expressly offer their thanks for your large role in sowing a more food secure future.

Food arrives via truck.
Food arrives via truck.
Food transport by hand
Food transport by hand
Transport via camel.
Transport via camel.
Rakhmou Ifanfan and Aishama Amidi of Belkou
Rakhmou Ifanfan and Aishama Amidi of Belkou
Food aid committee
Food aid committee
Two Belkou girls pound millet.
Two Belkou girls pound millet.
Seiga panorama
Seiga panorama

Links:

Sep 24, 2012

Updates on RAIN Gardens Fall 2012

Garden preparation in Tchinteloust
Garden preparation in Tchinteloust

2012 has seen alternate droughts, flooding and locust invasions for agriculture in Niger, and RAIN’s gardens have been no exception. Though we continued to install several new gardens in the Agadez and Tillaberi regions with your support, we are also focusing on repair and rehabilitation where needed. The following is an update of the status of some of our School Market and Cooperative gardens.

Lemdou and Tagantassou

This growing season, School Market Gardens generated food for 311 students in the community of Lemdou, and 128 in Tagantassou. Supplemented with eggs from poultry, the peanuts, melon, pumpkin, manioc, corn, okra and moringa provided by both gardens are an important nutritional addition to the staple millet. In Lemdou, tomatoes were affected by flooding but have recovered.

Mari

99 nomadic women in Mari have formed an agricultural co-op, sharing a 5,000 sq. foot plot with great success, learning from the newly created curriculum addressing modern agricultural techniques (drip irrigation), bio gardening to prevent soil destruction, nutritional and healthy food cooking, and hygiene.  Mari is now experiencing flooding, and when the water recedes later this fall, the well installation will resume, providing the first step in drip irrigation installation. Also planned is the building of a small protective wall to protect from future flooding. 

Bonfeba, Tagantassou, Soulifiet and Tchintouloust

Gardens are successfully producing crops, including tomato, potatoes, lettuce, cucumber and melon.

Tangushman

Due to flooding, Tangushman is currently inaccessible. When waters recede, RAIN staff in Niger will visit the community to evaluate garden damage, if any.

RAIN staff in Niger are closely following all gardens to better educate committees on management and techniques to best maximize crop output. The new garden curriculum, in the final stages of development, will be an integral part of all RAIN agricultural projects in the future. 

As the school year begins and families return, we will have more updates on the progress of existing and new RAIN gardens. In this time of so much need, the bounty of a garden in the desert is a testament to your caring support. Thank you!

Cucumbers in Soulifett
Cucumbers in Soulifett
Lemdou cabbages
Lemdou cabbages
Chickens at Tagantassou
Chickens at Tagantassou
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