Women Artisan Cooperatives in Niger

by Rain for the Sahel and Sahara

RAIN is grateful for your partnership and caring for nomadic families in Niger who receive little or no assistance from any other source.

On Wednesday October 17th, GlobalGiving will match all donations to RAIN by 30%, providing an exciting opportunity to make an even bigger impact for food security in Niger!

Let's make the most of this chance - share with your friends and family and on your social networks, tell them why you support RAIN, and how they can acheive the good of two contributions with one - then donate as early as you can on the 17th - the matching will at $50,000. Every donation counts, and together, we can make this Bonus Day a great success. 

Fa La Lo Owners Liz Wright and Scott Segee
Fa La Lo Owners Liz Wright and Scott Segee

RAIN invests in the talent of nomadic and rural women in Niger so they may hone their skills and create new livelihoods through traditional artisan crafts. RAIN provides the materials, training and marketing opportunities, and the women do the rest, creating one of a kind leather and embroidery items for sale in local markets as well as here in the U.S.

Located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s Commercial Alley, Fa La Lo is one of our retail partners who is proud to offer the artisan’s beautiful co-operative products for sale.

Owned by husband and wife team Liz Wright and Scott Segee since 2008, Fa La Lo has made their mission to offer a wide range of hand-crafted ceramics, jewelry, clothing and other items that are made in the U.S. and across the globe exclusively by companies that practice fair trade practices.

“Fa La Lo strives to promote the dignity of all people. Supporting RAIN is a wonderful way to accomplish this. Not only does RAIN recognize the talents of nomadic people of West Africa, they empower rural women to directly fund their children’s education while learning future livelihoods. In helping RAIN foster a U.S. market for the purses hand embroidered by Wodaabe women and Tuareg leather items, Fa La Lo works to support this empowerment. We also support RAIN with the sale of unique Tuareg jewelry, which helps fund all RAIN programs, including artisan groups. We enjoy being a part of heightening western awareness and understanding of these vibrant peoples.” – Co-Owner Liz Wright

Connecting traditional artistic traditions with the West reflects one of the central goals of RAIN’s programs: help ancient nomadic cultures adjust and thrive in the 21st century, while at the same time, support and preserve traditional culture. The women in our artisan co-operatives have the opportunity to learn new livelihoods built on the knowledge passed down from generations – translated into an immediate connection to those who purchase their beautiful products. With 100% of sales going directly back to the women, the cultural bond becomes very concrete in the form of direct support to the women, their school, and the families they keep together.

Wodaabe tote bag
Wodaabe tote bag
"Albaye" traditional Tuareg wallets
"Albaye" traditional Tuareg wallets

Your support of our women artisan cooperatives in Niger will have a lasting impact for empowering nomadic women to learn new livelihoods.

Please take a moment to share this project with your friends and family and what it means to you.

On Wednesday June 13th, GlobalGiving will match all donations to RAIN by 40%, providing an exciting opportunity to make even more of a difference in Niger. 

Thank you for supporting RAIN!  We look forward to updating you with stories from the field.

Halima Orte, Pres. of Barka Cooperative & her son
Halima Orte, Pres. of Barka Cooperative & her son

Dear friends and supporters,

I was so pleased to be in Niger last week to attend a meeting of Wodaabe women artisans of the Barka Embroidery cooperative – a RAIN partner – and their school’s director.  The purpose – to decide how the women would invest the $730 they have earned to support their school in Foudouk. 

 This sum represents ½ the women’s earnings over the last months.  They are so proud to step forward to help the school which, though a public school, receives little assistance from Niger’s underfunded government.

It’s the Hungry Season in Niger – it hasn’t rained since last September and food stocks are running low as nomadic people wait for this year’s rainy season to bring much needed pasture to the herd animals that are their livelihoods. RAIN is helping to deal with hunger with its animal feed program.

 Milk from the cows and goats that their parents herd is the main source of food for Foudouk’s children. When food is scarce, children are especially susceptible to illness. 

 The women and the school director agreed that medicines are the most pressing need. The school director will help to organize a pharmacy at the school, while the women will stock it with medicines to treat the most common of the children’s illnesses.  The project is overseen by a steering committee of women from the artisan cooperative.

 Women are key to economic development in Africa.  Cheers to RAIN’s women artisans who are earning livelihoods while supporting their children’s schools! And to you, our donors.

Warm regards, Bess Palmisciano

Binbiya Marafa, Pres. of the pharmacy committee
Binbiya Marafa, Pres. of the pharmacy committee
A well near Foudouk
A well near Foudouk
chief of the Foudouk Wodaabe people
chief of the Foudouk Wodaabe people
The village of Foudouk with ceremonial beds
The village of Foudouk with ceremonial beds
A tote bag with embroidery by Foudouk cooperative
A tote bag with embroidery by Foudouk cooperative
Halima at SAFEM, Agadez 2012
Halima at SAFEM, Agadez 2012

We love to share stories about how the women in our artisan cooperatives are learning and earning, but what's better is when we can share a story as told by our partners themselves. The following is from an artisan named Halima:

"My name is Halima Atchani. I was born in 1965 in Agadez, and I’m a leather artisan. I began this work when I was 12 years old. It’s traditional work that I inherited from my parents. My mother is also a leather artisan and my father is a shoe-maker. Since I have started my training with RAIN, the methods of my craft in leather have changed a great deal. As a member of the RAIN “Albaye” artisan cooperative in Agadez, I’ve been learning new designs of items I already know how to create, as well as how to make other items for the first time. RAIN provides us with precise specifications for items or sometimes with a model to work from. All the members get together and share the work, allowing us to complete our items in a short amount of time. We receive very good compensation from RAIN for our products. It is thanks to this work that I’m able to regularly support my family’s needs of food, clothing, schooling and health. I provide sole support of my six children since my husband died ten years ago. Working as a member of the RAIN artisan cooperative, I’m gaining experience and earning a living doing what I love to do. This year, I was sponsored by RAIN to attended the SAFEM, an international exhibition for women artisans in the capital of Niamey. I connected with many other artisans and discovered that my work is greatly appreciated by both natives Nigeriens and foreigners alike. Beginning this year, RAIN will help us create our own shop in Agadez, where all the artisan members can come and work together. We will have our products on exhibit for sale, and this will give us good visibility and provide increased sales. We’re so happy to have the help of RAIN to achieve these things for ourselves and our families."

You should feel great about your role in helping to facilitate the blossoming of what these women already possess: talent and determination to learn new things and support their families. Be sure to visit our new website as we add photo galleries and updates of our artisans!

Albaye Co-operative Purse
Albaye Co-operative Purse



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Organization Information

Rain for the Sahel and Sahara

Location: Portsmouth, New Hampshire - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.rain4sahara.org
Project Leader:
Whitney Fleming
Manager Communications & Projects
Portsmouth, NH Niger

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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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