Jan 7, 2019

Garden Expansion for Better Food and Cleaner Water

Salamatou, mother of four children, lives in Nassile in a remote rural area in the Sahel region of Niger. When she was a child, she grew up around the last areas of countryside supporting diverse wildlife including lions, elephants and hyenas. Today, the animals are long gone and only scrub-brush remains where large trees once flourished. This poor region now faces regular food insecurity, a lack of water for basic needs and families struggle to make ends meet.

Schools have presented new challenges to parents as they struggle to survive and enroll children into school, weighing the benefits of their children attending school or staying home to work. Salamatou is one of RAIN’s mentors that have the leadership qualities and motivation to work as a community leader for the Access to Education mentoring program. She sponsors five students providing home and school visits, practical skills training and general socio-emotional support and encouragement to work hard in school.

Salamatou was a major force in organizing neighbors and friends to participate in learning a new skill together. In the first year of gardening, individuals saw a fresh tomato and a cucumber for the first time. After last year’s harvest, Salamatou said:

, “Before RAIN came to our village, I didn’t know anything about gardening. Now I know how to prepare the soil, transplant seedling, and use drip irrigation with organic pesticide. I worked to produce my own vegetables. I sell part of my harvest, offer some as social assistance and have consumed a good part in order to feed my family. Some of the harvest we dry. I have dried onion leaves for sauce, and dried tomato and cabbage that can be stored and eaten later.”

As the growing season approaches in Niger, it is a time of rejoice. The rains are precious for there is only a few months each year that it falls. During this fertile time the dusty Sahel becomes a vibrant green. For the people living here, it is a blessing, for without water there can be no life. There is a phrase in the Tuareg language of Tamasheq called “Aman Iman” meaning water is life. The average rain fall in Niger is less than an inch of rain every year.

To combat this incredible lack of water, RAIN has installed dozens of wells in at-risk villages and communities. This year, after discussions with our partner communities in Nasslie and Tagantassou, we have found that there is a need to provide more access to water. The communities have requested that more wells be built to expand their current community garden and to supply water for the surrounding hamlets.  With the extra well, hundreds will benefit from the increased cultivation of vegetables and plentiful clean water.

Our goal is to create four new wells over the next two years. The overall cultivation of crops and profits made by the community has increased by more than three times the previous year. This is an indicator that not only is it possible to create gardens in one of the world’s hottest countries, but that these gardens can thrive. The communities that work in the gardens have access to irrigation techniques that strengthen their abilities and knowledge of agricultural practices just like Salamatou.

Jan 3, 2019

Construction for Children's Learning Center

This is my first time writing this letter to you. As I do so, I’m filled with both trepidation and hope. Your support has accomplished so much in the last 17 years, yet there is so much more to do.

           Thank you for bringing opportunity to Niger – the opportunity for children to attend school, the opportunity for women to earn their own income, and the opportunity for communities to feed themselves, because without food and water, nothing else matters. These students, entrepreneurs, herders, and farmers are all willing to put in the work, but without you, the opportunities would not exist.

By giving today, you can make a difference.

Last year, the pilot middle school program helped 100% of graduating students to pass their year-end national exam. This fall, you can expand the reach of women mentors to two new middle schools in communities that have never had local access to middle schools. This is an incredible opportunity to support national expansion of education services. They need your support to ensure a successful first year!

When I heard I passed the elementary school exam and could continue to middle school, my mother and I worried about how I could pursue my studies... [Your support] allowed me to… purchase a uniform, and pay school fees. [It] has helped me to study in peace and turn my full attention to school.
- Assalama Alhassane, 7th grader, Aouderas Middle School

Last year, the community gardens produced 3x the crops and 5x the profit of the year before. This winter, you can help dig two new wells so there’s enough safe drinking water to go around and to support the expansion of two community gardens.  

It is impossible to do well in school or to work a full day when the water you need to survive makes you sick. Access to water also increases access to safe and nutritious food. YOU can help these communities fight thirst, fight hunger, fight for survival.

The rural and nomadic children, women, and families of Niger are willing to work, but first, they need you to make these opportunities a reality.

If you give by January 31st, your gift can help construct 2 new classrooms and a much needed solar-powered study hall for our Agadez Learning Center middle schoolers! One of their favorite things about the center is the electricity, allowing them to “study in the dark.” 9th grade student Hadi says, “normally, when the sun goes down we have to stop studying because there is no light.” Imagine – the only thing holding a student back from success might be their ability to keep studying after sundown.

 - Katherine Kolios, Exectutive Director.

Oct 11, 2018

Gardens for Better Livelihoods

Gardens for Sustainable Development

Imagine you are barely able to make it through the year.  You cannot afford to feed your children dinner.  You have a limited amount of income and there is a lack of opportunity in your community. The climate is unpredictable and during the harshest months, you could lose your entire livelihood. Sounds pretty dire, right? In communities that largely have been abandoned to their own devices by international aid organizations and by their own government. There is one nonprofit that continues to come back. But how can one organization have an impact when there is so much to be done?

 

RAIN has implemented community garden programs in several communities that have seen drastic improvements to livelihoods. In last year’s garden in (Village) the community produced 5 times as much produce and 3 times more profit than last year’s crop.  With your support, we hope to implement the success that this community has reaped and given this knowledge to our other partner communities. 

 

“You show up with your theories and you think you’re there to teach but you learn every time [you go into a community]. The theories need to be adjusted to the community. The people know what works where they live.” – Abdousalam Kaneye, Agriculture Consultant

 

RAIN currently has 3 community gardens in operation in Nassile, Taganatasou, Tirboye. With your help one of our goals for this coming year is to locate new villages to partner with that could benefit from our garden program. The villages that do not have access to clean water are especially susceptible to disease and malnutrition. By providing this service, like installing new wells, or community gardens hundreds of families are impacted.

 
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