Women's Community Gardens in Niger

by Rain for the Sahel and Sahara
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Women's Community Gardens in Niger
Women's Community Gardens in Niger
Women's Community Gardens in Niger
Women's Community Gardens in Niger
Women's Community Gardens in Niger
Women's Community Gardens in Niger
Women's Community Gardens in Niger
Women's Community Gardens in Niger
Women's Community Gardens in Niger
Women's Community Gardens in Niger
Women's Community Gardens in Niger
Hidi shares her struggles and hopes with RAIN
Hidi shares her struggles and hopes with RAIN

mHidi is a mother of 6 and serves as President of the Women's Group of Torguit. In her role, she works closely with the other women of her community so that, together, they can ensure that they have the resources and opportunities they need to live full, healthy lives.

Below are Hidi's words as she shared about her experiences over the last year, the challenges of Covid, and her hopes for the future:

"I am the President of the Women’s Group of Torguit and I speak on behalf of all the women in our village.

Over the past year, with Covid-19, members of our community were scattered. Many of us were forced to sell our animals in order to feed our families. This year, RAIN worked hard to find us partners to drill a borehole well. This water will allow our families to drink. Now, we hope to practice market gardening, which will allow us to overcome the difficulties caused by confinement and Covid-19. Bless you."

Thank you for ensuring Hidi, her children, and her community have access to clean water. Safe drinking water is critical in any community and the health impacts on handwashing and maintaining hygiene have been underscored with Covid.

Between the well in Betarmatas and this new well in Torguit, you've helped us reach over 3,500 Nigeriens this year. We hope you'll continue to support this project so these communities can leverage their new access to water in order to achieve Hidi's dream - to use market gardening to rebuild from the losses of Covid.

Please also consider asking a friend to join you by matching your gift - if everyone brings one friend along, we can raise twice as much and reach twice as many Nigeriens!

Don't hesitate to reach out with questions and if you want more RAIN updates, check out our website, newsletter, and social media pages.

With gratitude,

the RAIN team

The women of Torguit sing with joy at the new well
The women of Torguit sing with joy at the new well

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Overlooking the terrain selected for the project
Overlooking the terrain selected for the project

Last year was really hard.

As Covid-19 hit - in Niger and around the world - many communities feared the health repurcussions. But in RAIN's partner communities, Covid's biggest impact was economic. Markets shut down and prices skyrocketed. Families already living on the edge had to find new ways to earn enough to buy food and other basic goods.

This experience reiterated how important it is for there to be local, sustainable solutions to food production. Right now, our team is breaking ground on a new well and community garden in Betarmatas. The project will provide access to safe drinking water to the community of Betarmatas and residents of the neighboring communities of Azangala and Azamalan - reaching 1,854 Nigeriens. 

This is critical because the community doesn't have access to potable water right now. The water that's available has high levels of natron (a sodium compound) - it cannot be drunk or used to water plants. As a result, the community relies on hand dug wells in the nearby quarry bed - but that water is only available seasonally and the open-mouth wells are easily contaminated by runoff. RAIN's solution will ensure year-round access to safe water. 

Further, the wells will irrigate a new community garden in which local women will collaborate to grow food to feed their families and their communities. We've already worked with them to clear the land and close it off with a living hedge - to protect the plants from animals. Additionally, RAIN staff has worked with the community to establish a local maintenance committee so the wells and garden will be cared for - long beyond RAIN's involvement.

Thank you for bringing safe drinking water to Betarmatas! In the coming months, we plan to do the same in Torguit - stay tuned!

Please also consider asking a friend or loved one to join you by matching your gift - we can go so much further together than we can alone.

Don't hesitate to reach out with questions. Otherwise, we'll be sure to send you another update soon!

Local women clear land for the community garden
Local women clear land for the community garden

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Community wells enable community gardens
Community wells enable community gardens

As if a global pandemic wasn’t enough, Niger has experienced terrible flooding this year – the worst flooding in generations. Hundreds of thousands of Nigeriens were displaced and tens of thousands of people lost their homes, their fields, their herds. These extreme weather patterns are making a difficult climate even harder to survive.

Now, so many families are being forced to start over. RAIN is working to bring wells to two new partner communities without access to safe water. These wells will help them to rebuild. New wells will enable the villages to initiate two community gardens to keep families well fed and to earn income to build toward a more stable future. The wells will also provide clean water for greater hygiene and protection against the spread of Covid.

Having local, year-round access to safe water is the crux for building up a healthy and enduring community.

With your help, thousands of Nigeriens have accessed safer water and nutritious food. Thank you for all you’ve done. We hope you’ll continue to support this project to ensure that families across in two communities have the support they need to meet their basic needs – now and into the future.

Please consider sharing this opportunity with your friends and family - none of us can do it alone.

We look forward to updating you as the year progresses – we are already in planning sessions to identify the right plots of land and engage the communities. We're planning to start the drilling itself in early 2021!

Water & soap help protect against spreading Covid
Water & soap help protect against spreading Covid

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This has been an especially challenging period in Niger. The country had its first case of coronavirus in late March and the government reacted swiftly - they shut the borders, limited transit within the country, closed schools from Kindergarten through University, and asked people to remain home if possible. The government's reaction was necessary - Niger simply doesn't have the medical infrastructure to deal with a widespread outbreak. Unfortunately, as we've seen in many other countries, the impact of the virus goes well beyond the virus itself. Closing borders and limiting transportation stalled supply chains. It became harder to access basic necessities and as stockpiles dwindled, prices soared. RAIN's partner communities - poor, remote villages - are some of the hardest hit. 

In April, David Beasley, the head of the World Food Program, announced that we could expect to see famines of "biblical propotions" across the globe. THIS is what our partner communities feared - not coronavirus, but starvation. In this way, COVID reiterated the importance of communities being able to meet their basic needs locally. Rural and nomadic communities without access to safe water are at significant risk if the coronavirus or another disease infiltrates the population. Additionally, community garden and herding initiatives provide a layer of security for communities to provide for themselves. Now, more than ever, our partner communities need your support - local access to water and food is always critical but right now it is also urgent. 

 Thank you for your generosity and for standing by these communities in need. Please consider sharing this opportunity with your friends and family - none of us can do it alone.

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With your support, we've worked to provide partners in Nassilé and Tagantassou with critical resources to build environmentally sustainable food and water systems.

With last year's well installations, the women have had the opportunity to expand their gardens. They have established an additional 62.5 sq meters in individual plots and 750 sq meters of new shared plots meaning more food for their families and more produce to sell in the market too! Community funds in Nassile increased 94% over the previous year.

These gardens supply food directly to 300 community members and over 1,000 additional adults and children from neighboring communities benefit from the wells and market sales. 

RAIN's Agricultural Specialist, Abdoulsalam Dourkari reflects on how far the women in the community have come:

“In Nassile, in the beginning they didn’t know vegetables at all, they thought tomatoes were mangoes… but now they’re on their own. They recognize that plants like eggplant can regenerate at the right season to produce twice as much!” 

Both communities established local management committees for the wells and gardens to ensure true community ownership and sustainability over time. 

We're looking to bring this opportunity to women in two new communities in the Agadez region. In one community, Betarmatas, the women are so enthusiastic they have already begun work to clear space for a garden.

This work is only possible because of the generosity of GlobalGiving donors, like you. Thank you for helping these women and their communities to grow and thrive. 

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Rain for the Sahel and Sahara

Location: Portsmouth, New Hampshire - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @rain4sahara
Project Leader:
Katherine Kolios
Portsmouth, New Hampshire United States
$2,915 raised of $5,000 goal
 
50 donations
$2,085 to go
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