As traditional herding becomes no longer enough as a sole livelihood, nomadic people need alternative ways to support their families and schools, where their children must live to attend. Women especially need income generating activities, as they are often left to keep their families going on their own by husbands seeking work elsewhere.
Artisan cooperatives provide a way for women to draw upon their rich heritage that generates income and preserves nomadic culture. RAIN provides seed money, skills training, design and marketing consultation, and marketing opportunities in both Niger and the U.S. The women develop and hone their skills to bring all their earnings together and designate funding, such as medicines, food and uniforms for students. Vulnerability is transformed into empowerment, increasing community stability.
An average of 10-25 women in each cooperative gain increased economic independence with new income, drastically increasing food security. With school support, nomadic children are able to stay in school, raising the value of education community wide. The younger generation becomes interested in traditional crafts as a means for income and promoting their traditions. Consumers in the U.S. are introduced to remote culture and awareness is raised.