When we first posted this project, there were 696 cases of COVID-19 in Niger. Now, there are 1,172. While the government has done an excellent job stemming the spread of the virus, we aren't out of the woods yet. COVID reiterated the importance of communities being able to meet their basic needs locally. Rural and nomadic communities without access to safe water are at significant risk if the coronavirus or another disease infiltrates the population. They are also most vulnerable to price fluctuations as they have limited access to markets and goods. Now, more than ever, our partner communities need support – and you can help.
As a safety measure, schools across Niger closed for two months in April and May. They reopened in June to finish out the school year. RAIN sought to help ensure schools in our partner communities could re-open safely.
RAIN’s Field Team, led by Director of Programs Boube Aw:
Distributed over 40 cartons of soap – over 1,000 extra-large bars of soap. Soap was given to 101 women mentors in the Agadez region of Niger in the villages of Aouderas, Batarmatas, Tinteloust, Etaghas, Eferouane Nord and Soulefet. In turn, these women coordinated distribution to students and families across all 6 villages.
Established 5 washing stations to serve local middle school students and to decrease their risk of virus transmission as they return to school.
Delivered awareness building & training seminars on the transmission of COVID-19 - encouraging people to follow the five steps outlined by Niger’s Department of Health (wear a mask, cough or sneeze into your elbow, avoid shaking hands, wash your hands with soap, & remain at home or, if out, retain at least one meter of distance from others).
We believe in the power of these entrepreneurial women, these curious children, and these committed families to build their own futures – but we also know how hard that is to do without support. Your help can ensure that these basic vital needs are met so that education and opportunity do not need to be put on hold for COVID.
No one knows what the remainder of 2020 holds or how the situation with COVID-19 will evolve, but we do know that the challenges these communities face aren’t going away. We are committed to continued support for these communities, whether schools re-open in September or not. We hope you will stand by us to ensure they continue to have access to the food and resources they need to persevere.
Jul 17, 2020
Support is Vital During Tough Times
By Katherine Kolios - Executive Director
This has been an especially challenging period in Niger. The country had its first case of coronavirus in late March and the government reacted swiftly - they shut the borders, limited transit within the country, closed schools from Kindergarten through University, and asked people to remain home if possible. The government's reaction was necessary - Niger simply doesn't have the medical infrastructure to deal with a widespread outbreak. Unfortunately, as we've seen in many other countries, the impact of the virus goes well beyond the virus itself. Closing borders and limiting transportation stalled supply chains. It became harder to access basic necessities and as stockpiles dwindled, prices soared. RAIN's partner communities - poor, remote villages - are some of the hardest hit.
In this way, COVID reiterated the importance of communities being able to meet their basic needs locally. Herding initiatives provide a layer of security for communities to provide for themselves - providing dairy, meat, and income. Now, more than ever, our partner communities need your support - local access to water and food is always critical but right now it is also urgent.
While regular programming had to be put on hold for COVID, RAIN stepped in to ensure program participants had what they needed to make it through COVID safely, distributing soap, establishing washing stations, and providing health and hygiene training. These steps help communities transition back from quarantine to daily life while protecting their health.
Thank you for your generosity and for standing by these communities in need. Please consider sharing this opportunity with your friends and family - none of us can do it alone.
This has been an especially challenging period in Niger. The country had its first case of coronavirus in late March and the government reacted swiftly - they shut the borders, asked people to remain home, and closed schools from Kindergarten through University. The government's reaction was necessary - Niger simply doesn't have the medical infrastructure to deal with a widespread outbreak. Unfortunately, as we've seen in many other countries, the impact of the virus goes well beyond the virus itself.
Niger holds one of the highest rates of “education poverty” in the world, reflecting the reality that Niger’s population, while largely under 15, is not consistently enrolled in or attending school. Among girls, just 4% complete primary school and a paltry 2% complete secondary school.
RAIN's Agadez Learning Center helps combat this by welcoming rural and nomadic youth to a residential center where they can study in safety and security. The student body is a mix of boys and girls from different underrepresented ethnic groups. It stives to help put them on equal footing with their peers from the city. But now, with coronavirus, that is all at risk. With school closures and families tightening their wallets to make it through the crisis, education takes a backseat. RAIN must remain alongside its partner communities and shore up support to ensure the progress that has been made is not lost. Education must remain a community-priority, even during COVID.
Fortunately, the government’s COVID response is working and schools reopened in late May. At the Agadez Learning Center, we established washing stations, distributed masks, and held trainings to help give students the resources and knowledge to return to school while maintaining their health.
We see a bright future for our students in Niger – we ask that you stand alongside us to ensure that that future comes to pass. Thank you for your generosity and for standing by these communities in need. Please consider sharing this opportunity with your friends and family - none of us can do it alone.