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.
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.
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!
Your contribution to School Market Gardens will have a lasting impact for nomadic families in Niger facing food insecurity.
Now, if you share this project with your friends and family, and they donate on June 13th, they will have nearly twice the impact.
Your support of sustainable agriculture for rural nomadic communities in Niger brings elusive food security in times of crisis. Every donation counts, and we are grateful for your partnership and caring for this under served population not receiving aid from any other source.
On Wednesday June 13th, GlobalGiving will match all donations to RAIN by 40%, providing an exciting opportunity to make an even bigger impact for food security in Niger. Please share with your friends and family and on your social networks and tell them why they should support RAIN.
We look forward to updating you with stories from the field!
I’m just back from Niger. I’m sure many of you have seen in the news that it’s a time of drought and hunger there. It’s difficult to be in Niger's countryside and see the parched earth, the desperation and hunger in people’s faces. The situation is worsened by refuges arriving from Mali and other neighboring countries that are experiencing war or fragile political situations. Despite the hardships they are suffering the people of Niger are proud that their country remains a peaceful, united one.
In this season when the land looks like endless sand and dust, it is almost miraculous to come upon a green RAIN school market garden. I visited the hamlet of Mari in Tillabery two weeks ago. The school’s garden was flourishing, bursting with vegetables for the children to eat. The gardener reported that about 40% of the produce is eaten by the children while 60% is sold to buy food staples such as grain and pay the garden’s expenses. A truly sustainable, long-term program for improving children’s health and nutrition, while helping their school.
At RAIN we believe in creating an integrated set of programs for developing livelihoods and supporting schools. In Mari we have a mentor program and are currently building a garden and teaching the 99 women of the Mari garden cooperative about nutrition and organic gardening techniques.
I met with the Mari school director. He told me that since 2009, when RAIN began its programs in Mari, school enrollment has shot up from 65 to 233 students. Bravo Mari! Bravo to all of you supporting RAIN!
Much gratitude and best regards to all, Bess Palmisciano
Many children in RAIN’s partner communities are semi-nomadic, and will likely grow up to become farmers like their parents. As in all partner communities, the school garden in Lemdou of the Tillaberi region of Niger acts as a living classroom where children, teachers and parents come together for training in sustainable, organic farming techniques.
Children and adults alike learn by practicing these methods, including drip irrigation, in order to better prepare them as stewards of development in their community. RAIN gardens provide nutritious food for students, help to keep the school in operation, and are a direct initiative to building a better future with and for the children through access to education, both inside and outside the classroom. Starting in 2012, RAIN will establish an experimental program in certain communities to instruct children, with a special focus on young girls, the principles of sustainable farming. In West Africa, it is the women who are often the primary planters and caretakers of crops. With this new educational program, RAIN hopes to effect measurable increase in food production within this generation. Your donation is not only increasing food security for schoolchildren and their families, but supporting a new generation of women who will teach the next techniques that will enhance the lives of all members of the community.
Our staff in Niger are just now concluding their most recent tournee (field research) to identify new garden sites in the coming year. Soon, those gardens will begin growing, transforming the surrounding community with the tools for a more food secure future. Happy New Year to all of you, from all of your nomadic friends!
Be sure to visit our new website as we add photo galleries, videos, newsletters and more at www.rain4sahara.org!
Bess Palmisciano, our founder and Executive Director, is currently touring the Agadez region, visiting our partner communities with RAIN staff Koini and Halima to check on garden progress, resolve issues and plan new gardens for the upcoming planting season. Some gardens in Agadez were damaged by floods, restoration of these will continue this fall. In the communities of Foudouk, Tadiben and Gougaram, new cereal banks and general stores have been established. Herding populations decimated by drought have been restored in numerous communities. These developments supplement the increased food security that the school market garden brings to each community.
In a partnership with The Global Hunger Foundation, this fall will begin a pilot program of teaching the principals of organic, sustainable agriculture cirriculum to children (with a focus on girls), hand in hand with lessons in gender equality, empowerment and leadership. Bess will soon be bringing firsthand stories and photos from our partner communities about the results of these exciting developments.
Also, be sure to mark your calendars for October 19 - on that day, you can make your donation count twice as much with a matching donation by GlobalGiving! GlobalGiving will match all donations that day, up to $100,000. If you've been inspired by the positive change you've been creating for nomadic families in Niger, this is a chance to create twice the change!
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