Rain for the Sahel and Sahara

Rain for the Sahel and Sahara (RAIN) partners with rural and nomadic desert people of West Africa to enable enduring livelihoods through access to education.
Jul 16, 2014

New Mentoring Programs in Nassile and Tirboye

Tirboye school sign
Tirboye school sign

Since expanding to the southern Tillaberi region of Niger in 2009, RAIN has gained many motivated community partners to take part in the widely popular mentoring program. We're happy to share that the communities of Nassile and Tirboye, with your help, are embarking on this journey of education and new opportunity for girls and women alike.

The initial community meetings, recruitment process and training has taken place - the stage is set for the joyful task of empowering girls to succeed.

Nassile's Mentoring Program

The Nassile School serves several surrounding area hamlets, each of which is represented by a mentor. This arrangement serves to unite the greater community around our important education initiative. As in all RAIN mentoring programs, mentors are teaching their students valuable practical skills, including the craft of straw and stalk weaving that is a tradition in the region.

Mentors
Salamatou Bilan    
Zeinabou Djibo        
Mariama Yaya        
Beldo Bodo            
Fatimata Boukari
                                         
Tirboye's Mentoring Program
The women mentors of Tirboye have been helping their students with the hoeing and planting in their new School Market Garden so they may also dedicate enough time to studying for the CM2 exam that ends the primary school cycle.

Mentors
Fosse Talata            
Dafarini Tchoga        
Lamouri Kondjoua        
Ramata Mahamane        
Larba Kampalamba

We look forward to updating you in the very near future as these two mentoring programs bloom to give at-risk girls a leg up in school and in life. None of it is possible without your support - thank you!

P.S. GlobalGiving will match each donation to the Mentoring Program 40% starting 9am EST today! Giving today will mean nearly twice the benefit to at-risk girls in Niger....please share this amazing opportunity with your friends and family.


Tirboye mentors help plant the school garden
Tirboye mentors help plant the school garden
Mentor President Salamatou in a craft workshop
Mentor President Salamatou in a craft workshop
Students of Tirboye studying for exams
Students of Tirboye studying for exams
Tirboye Mentor Ramata Mahamane
Tirboye Mentor Ramata Mahamane
Nassile Mentor Zeinabou Djibo
Nassile Mentor Zeinabou Djibo
Tirboye Mentor Lamouri Kondjoua
Tirboye Mentor Lamouri Kondjoua

Links:

Jul 16, 2014

Nassile & Tirboye Schools Get Gardens!

Nassile
Nassile

Since expanding to the southern Tillaberi region of Niger in 2009, RAIN has gained many motivated community partners in creating sustainable food security solutions for the nomadic and semi-nomadic people who call this region their home. As in all rural areas of the country, recovery is still in process from the recent droughts that decimated crops and herds.
We're happy to share news of hope and renewal from the communities of Nassile and Tirboye as they embark on garden and well projects with your support behind them every step of the way.

Nassile Elementary School - Drip Irrigated School Market Garden and Well Installation

The Nassile School serves several surrounding area hamlets, which means most students walk long distances to get to school. Their new 1,000 square meter drip irrigated garden will ensure that a variety of healthy food is provided for them.

Water Issues
Before the updated well installation, women would pull water for their families from a traditional masa-masa well. Besides the poor water quality, the low output left the women waiting for trickles of water until midnight. Many families skipped dinner simply due to a lack of water.

Families now enjoy the benefits of the School Garden well, including greater output and highter quality water. The well fills to the rim during the dry season, and provides fresh water 6-7 months of the year as the water table slowly descends.

Once the well, water tank, and fence work was finished, mentors, local school gardeners, and school staff members were trained to install drip irrigation systems. As the school year ends and the rainy season approaches, students help to plant mango, guava, and papaya saplings for long term sustainability. To date, the garden has produced a successful harvest of over 150kg of cucumbers and about 30 melons at the end of the hot season. Adults and children alike had never seen or heard of a cucumber before cultivating them. Hot season gardening is new to these communities. The possibility of a hot season harvest was demonstrated by the successful harvest of these pilot crops - resulting in greater food security for all.

Tirboye School Garden with Drip Irrigation

Installed near the Gorou Bi, a seasonal river and major tributary of the Niger River, Tirboye's garden is experimenting with papaya trees in addition to mango and guava. The local soil is hard clay, and after an unsuccessful season, we realized that the addition of fertilization with compost is necessary. Though most residents moved out to huts in their fields at the start of the rainy season, RAIN mentors, several students, Tchindo the gardener, and other volunteers joined forces to plant fruit trees and begin to prepare for a rainy season crop of okra, beans, and sesame. Tchindo planted mango trees in the school yard, using thorn fencing as protection from animals. Fruit is not only an important nutritional addition for the students -  it also has the best potential as cash crops.

Year round planting, larger and more diverse crops, and fresh water, when added to the hard work and dedication of our partner communities, brings bounty in the arid Sahel and keeps children healthy and in school. None of it is possible without your support - thank you!

P.S. GlobalGiving will match each donation to School Market Gardens 40% starting 9am EST on July 16th. Giving on this day will mean nearly twice the benefit to families in Niger!  Please share this amazing opportunity with your friends and family.

Nassile student with bottle of dirty water
Nassile student with bottle of dirty water
Boys play in the well mold
Boys play in the well mold
Pulling water from a masa masa well
Pulling water from a masa masa well
Nassile students enjoy the harvest
Nassile students enjoy the harvest
Learning about drip irrigation
Learning about drip irrigation
Nassile girls pose with tree seedling
Nassile girls pose with tree seedling
Boys with melons
Boys with melons
Gardner Tchindo plants mango trees
Gardner Tchindo plants mango trees
Tirboye mentors help plant the garden
Tirboye mentors help plant the garden
Students of Tirboye also are studying for exams
Students of Tirboye also are studying for exams

Links:

Jun 16, 2014

Nassile: Bridging Gaps and Building Bonds

Fulani girls transporting water 1.5 miles.
Fulani girls transporting water 1.5 miles.

As new schools open in rural and marginalized areas of Niger, a gap is forming between unschooled adults and educated young people. Parents who worked their whole lives are wondering why their children are exhausted after a day at school: “You have been sitting in a chair all day. Why are you so tired?” Some parents find it especially difficult to understand the value of education for girls when there are so many chores to do at home, like pulling water from the well, pounding grain, and collecting firewood for cooking.

In the RAIN mentoring program, local women from rural areas sponsor young girls, serving as a liaison between the school staff and parents, advocating for the girls’ education, and teaching them practical skills in semi-formal workshops. The workshops enable mentors and students to revisit key concepts learned at school using their mother tongue, and to supplement the informal learning that goes on in everyday village life with practical skills. The acquisition of practical skills is important because it helps the community see that supporting education is not a contradiction to their culture.

RAIN mentor Fatimata lives in Ouro Jelgoobe (or ‘Home of the Jelgoobe’), a part of the Nassile region where the famously nomadic Jelgoobe Fulani are located. Fatimata spends time with her students in a novel way: she accompanies them into the countryside in search of a particular kind of thick grass. Fatimata is a master crafter of secco mats; long mats which make the nomadic dome tents the Jelgoobe Fulani live in easy to disassemble and reassemble as families move with their cows in search of pastureland.

During Fatimata's time with her group of girls, she will teach them every step of the craft, from the collection of the thick grass to the final stages of production. At the same time, as they talk about school and other issues, Fatimata will serve as an informal counselor and ally, and they will form an important bond of trust. Mentors like Fatimata bonding with at-risk girls during familiar tasks while encouraging their studies is wholly unique. Normally, nomadic girls would accomplish these sorts of chores accompanied by family members, with discussions revolving around gossip or small talk rather than education - for a comparison, think of what you talk about when you go food shopping with a friend.

Your support makes it possible for RAIN mentors to champion girls’ dreams of education, offer support for schools, and make a lasting and positive difference to Niger’s future.

A nomadic Fulani camp with secco mat tents.
A nomadic Fulani camp with secco mat tents.
Nassile students in class.
Nassile students in class.
Mentor Faimata Boukari
Mentor Faimata Boukari

Links:

 

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