Oct 14, 2011

Food security update from Niger and upcoming Bonus Day!

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!  

Links:

Oct 12, 2011

RAIN "Albaye" Artisans

Co-op Artisan Ouwa Ghoumour
Co-op Artisan Ouwa Ghoumour

This fall, some women from the artisan co-operative Albaye (formerly "Cool Water") had the chance to sell their hand crafted items at a craft fair in Agadez. Members of the co-operative paid for meals, transport and sale table rent with their own funds. The women chose on their own to attend the sale on RAIN’s behalf. The governor of Agadez, the Prefect and other dignitaries visted and made some purchases.  The group told them all about how RAIN helps them and they, in turn, invest in their children's education.

RAIN "Albaye" Co-op member Ouwa Ghoumour writes:

"I have been working with leather since I was a young child. This is actually a traditional and cultural activity that my family follows. My mother also works with leather and everything I've learned is soley from her. Together, we would create different styles of small and large wallets, especially the traditional Tuareg wallet called “Albaye” that women and men alike wear around their necks.

When I married, I began working on my own at home making the same style of wallets. But when RAIN came to Agadez, I began working on new kinds of items with my friends.

RAIN helps us find new designs and provides raw materials, and with these elements we make leather key rings, wallets for portable phones, passport purses, and other items. We learn better design techniques and how to market our products. RAIN helped us organize our Artisan Cooperative, now called "Albaye" in memory of my mother. This is quite a success story for us. In September of 2011, with the support of RAIN, Albaye made 40 small leather phone purses that were sold in the U.S. for 5,000 FCFA ($10) each, for a total of 200,000 FCFA ($400). Thanks to this sale, our cooperative made a profit of 120,000 FCFA ($240).  The cooperative will donate 50% of the proceeds, or 60,000 FCFA ($120), to Ibrahim Oumarou Sanda school, named after the Sultan of Agadez who built the school, and attended by very poor nomadic children. This contribution is a commitment we have been proud to make since we began working with RAIN.

I wish to thank RAIN and all the GlobalGiving donors who support RAIN’s activities in Niger."

RAIN has given the group an advance for materials towards the next order placed of 160,000 FCFA - 20,000 FCFA for each artisan. We look forward to seeing the new products they create and sharing them with our friends in the U.S.!

P.S. Don't forget - October 19th is the last Global Giving bonus day of the year.  Each donation to RAIN projects will be matched, up to $100,000. Take advantage of this chance to double your impact for nomadic families in West Africa.

Ouwa working.
Ouwa working.
Tuareg traditional "Albaye" wallet.
Tuareg traditional "Albaye" wallet.
Passport wallet.
Passport wallet.
Wallets
Wallets

Links:

Aug 29, 2011

Health Education of Mentors Pays Off!

Mentors in Iferouane
Mentors in Iferouane

Last fall, RAIN set out on a mission to train 25 mentors in the villages of Iferouane, Ingui and Gougaram about the most common diseases in their communities, good hygiene practices, raising awareness among the students and their parents about disease prevention, and spotting signs of illness for treatment as a pilot project in health education.  We're happy to report that since the project began, big strides have been achieved in our partner communities! 

  • Mentors in all three communities are now able to recognize early symptoms and are referring students for treatment and following up with parents.
  • Parents are increasingly bringing their children for treatment at first signs of illness.
  • School attendance has increased 16%-18% from last year. Since health services for children have been provided free of charge, families use the system, so that a child who is ill can avoid missing school for long periods. 
  • Health and hygiene practices by the students have greatly improved.
  • Within six months, the project raised awareness about health issues for more than 2,000 people and provided free medical care to 700 nomadic students. 

These accomplishments are especially significant when compared to just a few years ago, when nearby conflict debilitated the local health and education systems. Beyond the benefits of prevention and care, this project has helped bring things back to normalcy. Health can be a major obstacle to children attending school - with your help, RAIN plans to continue the education and care of mentors, children and their families alike to clear the way for healthy and educated nomadic communities! 

Mentor Hawa with student in Iferouane
Mentor Hawa with student in Iferouane
Clinic with medicines in Gougaram
Clinic with medicines in Gougaram

Links:

 
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