Niger has a 10% literacy rate and girls rarely progress past the fourth grade - instead staying at home to work or marrying as young teens. RAIN offers mentoring to at-risk nomadic and rural girls to keep them in school and to support them for success. Girls learn leadership, traditional practices, and life skills from local women mentors. Mentors also provide health and hygiene training, offer guidance, and advocate for students and education with parents and teachers.
Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. Girls in rural nomadic families struggle to stay in school, often dropping out before completing elementary school. Families need their children at home to help and don't have a culture of formal education. More often than not, when girls are "old enough" they're pulled from school to do chores or marry - interrupting their education and limiting their potential. Mentors support over 600 elementary and middle school students to stay in school.
Mentors help to recruit students annually and then meet weekly with girls to run trainings on life and practical skills and to advise them regarding health, sexuality, and avoiding early marriage. The skills training fosters independence and develops tangible skills. Mentors also advocate for students with parents who don't see the value of education and with teachers when kids fall behind. This advocacy helps ensure girls don't just start school but that they stick with it and succeed!
Over 600 students across 22 communities are supported annually, which helps establish a culture of education. Communities with mentoring programs see increased enrollment, attendance, and graduation. Girls that stay in school delay marriage, have fewer children and develop more durable livelihoods. Even a middle school education puts graduates on the path to jobs with a reliable, salaried income - making them, their familes, and their communities more resilient.