Project #5313

Niger Emergency Food Aid Fund

by Rain for the Sahel and Sahara
In Aragh, smiling faces after a long summer.
In Aragh, smiling faces after a long summer.

RAIN is happy to share that through the support of our GlobalGiving friends, along with help from the Zakat Foundation, The Prem Rawat Foundation, and Rotary International, our Emergency Food Aid effort has been fully funded!

Throughout this past summer, nomadic families watched helplessly as their crops withered, their animals perished, and children languished from hunger as a fearsome drought wound its way through West Africa. In Foudouk, partner communities suffered a 40% loss of their animals. Many villages told the same story - food supplies at rock bottom, in both homes and schools. RAIN responded with a call of action to our supporters, and some new friends, too. The call was heard and the response has been amazing. Emergency supplies of grain, legumes, oil, and animal feed began making its way to eagerly awaiting communities, some of whom were new to RAIN. Entire villages traveled to their schools to welcome the aid, even assisting with transport when needed. RAIN staff were rewarded upon arrival with smiles and expressions of relief and joy.

Inspired by these efforts, the Zakat Foundation came forward with timely support that averted hunger for many families. However, even after the rain returned and the land began to show the promise of green, families bereft of their livestock and food stores still remained at risk.  The Prem Rawat Foundation stepped in to ensure the food aid continued into the year. Rotary International boosted food supplies in the village of Bon Feba. Destroyed school market gardens are being restored, the animals that are essential to survival are being fed, and children are returning to schools that can provide food once again.

RAIN would like to extend our deepest gratitude on behalf of all the families brought back from the edge of famine - you have restored hope and smiles in the wake of a tremendous ordeal. Tanmeert.  

Back to school in Awiderer!
Back to school in Awiderer!
A happy mother in Mayat.
A happy mother in Mayat.

-Project Update: Foudouk, Niger and the Air Massif, From Founder Bess Palmisciano

Dear Friends,

I have been in Agadez, the more remote, northern region of Niger, for about a week now, in the village of Foudouk, meeting with the Women's Artisan Cooperative RAIN has there, as well as with the President of the community Parent Association.

Both groups are gratified to report that Foudouk is doing well now, and the population is very content and grateful for the life saving assistance offered by RAIN.  For example, RAIN had donated both goats and sheep to the Foudouk Young Men's Association, as well as to a number of women in the community.  These herds will not only improve livelihoods, but will generate funds to support the children in Foudouk's school. 

As you remember, Foudouk was one of the areas hardest hit by the summer's drought and resulting food shortage: 40% of all livestock had perished from starvation. With your support in this effort, RAIN not only provided food relief to families in Foudouk, but for Foudouk's herding animals, as well.  I was told today that all the livestock are well, are growing, and have started to produce healthy young, replacing those that were lost over the summer.

The Young Men's Association is keeping one herd for the benefit of the local school.  The goats are providing milk,  cheese and meat to augment the diets of Foudouk's children, increasing the nutritional value as well as the quantity of millet alone.

Looking ahead, RAIN is finding ways to continue to help these communities recover from the devastating effects of the summer food crisis. Schools in Niger opened late this year, and RAIN staff are currently working in the Air Massif region, preparing for the transport and delivery of the school food aid.  Abdourahamane Koini, our Agriculture Director, is overseeing the installation of two strategically placed cereal banks in the region where communities that continue to have a need have been identified.  Along with our RAIN supporters, The Prem Rawat Foundation has been instrumental in ensuring this continued support as these communities recover.

We will continue to provide updates from the field in the upcoming weeks as things develop.

With thanks,

Bess Palmisciano

Children receive food aid in Teyiss.
Children receive food aid in Teyiss.

In the region of Agadez, not far from Foudouk, there is a small, nomadic community called Teyiss. RAIN is new to Teyiss, though the community was aware of RAIN, hearing wonderful news from their Foudouk neighbors about the ways RAIN was helping the schools and families there. Teyiss is rather isolated and also showed real vulnerablilty to the current food crisis. In response, RAIN added Teyiss to the list of communities to receive food aid in August.

Like Foudouk, Teyiss has also been hit hard by the current drought and food crisis, with the now familiar sad story to tell of their suffering livestock and fears for their families. Prior to the food distribution, a community-wide meeting was held to introduce RAIN, and to plan the transport of food and animal feed to the village. Many expressed their joy and gratification for this assistance, which they had never experienced before. Without hesitation, all came together in contributing to the food transport, carried out in spite of the difficulties of roads washed away by floods.

2.3 tons of food was distributed to the Teyiss school, which supports 31 children. The children and their parents were present for this event, some smiles coming through in spite of the prolonged stress from the crisis. 55 sacks of 50 kg each of animal feed were given to those families determined by the community to be most in need, 55 in all. One individual, speaking on behalf of the recipient families, expressed that this help had come just in time, being a crucial turning point for their remaining animals.

The community of Teyiss expresses their great appreciation to donors, and hopes for continued future partnership with RAIN.

Teyiss community poses with food distribution.
Teyiss community poses with food distribution.
Students at the School in Tazorat
Students at the School in Tazorat

The status of the food supply in the Iferouane, Gougaram and Ingall communes of the Agadez region of Niger have not improved since our June distributions. Generally, rains are falling in Niger, though the amounts vary greatly among each region. In many regions the pastures are growing, but harvest will not be until September and October. As the grasses grow, there is hope for pasture for animals in August through September.

Though the rainy season in rural Niger makes transportation difficult, RAIN, with help from the communities, was able to carry through with the food deliveries. Students and their families who usually move in the rainy season are staying near the schools to be available for the distribution.

In July, RAIN delivered food aid to schools in the Tadek, Ebourkoum, Tazorat, Mayat, Awiderer and N'tideynaweine regions, to a total of 221 students and their families. The delivery included 3,400 kg of millet, 2,100 kg of rice, 340 kg of oil, 450 kg of sugar, 2,100 kg of beans, and 350 kg of salt.

Continuing the support of livestock, two tons of animal feed were delivered to Foudouk, Niger - a Wodaabe village where 40% of herd animals have perished from the food crisis. A herder related to RAIN staff Abdourahamane Koini that his animals, as well as those of many others, continue to die despite the beginning of rain. In an attempt to eat the small sprouts of grass, already near starving animals ingest little grass but much sand, and perish.

The representatives of Foudouk expressed: "The words to thank the Zakat Foundation, Rain for the Sahel and Sahara, and their supporters escape us, because the animal feed is like gold for us." Community members said that people who had left in futile search for animal pasture were returning to take part in the feed distribution.

This is a frightening time for these communities, waiting with hope against hope for pastureland and successful crops. With you as our partners, we are making our best efforts to carry them through these times to the other side.

Many thanks for your support.

Children in Tadek with Food Aid
Children in Tadek with Food Aid
Two Tons of Animal Feed for Foudouk
Two Tons of Animal Feed for Foudouk


The peoples of the Agadez region, Niger’s vast northern desert expanse, are strong and independent. They live a spartan life, well adapted to their severe desert home. Herds of goats, sheep and camels are the nomadic peoples’ source of sustenance. These animals provide milk, meat, and income. But drought and lack of pasture lands leave people helpless as they watch their children and treasured herd animals suffer and, all too often, lose their grasp on life.

When people are suffering, they turn to RAIN for help. We are compelled to respond. RAIN recently delivered five tons of food to nomadic schools in the Air Massif. We need to do more. Nomadic children must live at school; food is a necessity. Parents are mobilized, too. RAIN’s women’s leather cooperative is giving $3,000 worth of food for children in Gougaram. RAIN’s animal feed centers keep herds alive, in turn ensuring food security for their owners.

On June 16th, Global Giving is matching every donation by 50%, making your contribution count that much more.

Let's make this one count for for these families who rely on RAIN to get them through!


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Organization Information

Rain for the Sahel and Sahara

Location: Portsmouth, New Hampshire - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Whitney Fleming
Manager Communications & Projects
Newmarket, New Hampshire United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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