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