A YEAR IN
A microfinance meeting in the community of Bania Gondi Dosso
why Plan works in Niger
• Over a third of children under the age of five are moderately or severely underweight SPAIN
• Promoting quality education that is accessible to all members of the community
• Only seven per cent of the PORTUGAL population has access to decent sanitation
GREECE • Protecting the health of children and their families, especially through clean water and sanitation
• Only 53 per cent of young men and 26 per cent of young women GIBRALTAR can read and write
• Working with communities to reduce the immediate and long-term impact of disasters such as drought TUNISIA
‘In rural Niger, most families have no access to clean, safe water’
WESTERN SAHARA (OCCUPIED BY MOROCCO)
A girl receives her school supplies from former Country Director, Barro Famari MAURITANIA
Niger Facts Senegal
Arlit Economy: The economy of er CHAD
Country Office e Program nu Units Be
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Niger centres on subsistence crops, livestock, and some of the world’s largest uranium er African languages Nig GAMBIA deposits. Drought cycles, Climate: Niger’s subtropical desertification, a 2.9% ni climate is mainly very hot and Ba GUINEApopulation growth rate, and BISSAU dry, with much desert area. In the drop in world demand the extreme south there is a for uranium have undercut tropical climate on the edges Niger the economy. GUINEA of the Niger River basin. The COTE D'IVOIRE terrain is predominantly desert plains and sand dunes,SIERRA withLEONE flat to rolling savanna in the south and hills in the north.
Capital: Niamey Population: 15.3 million Languages: French, Arabic and SENEGAL
DEM REPUBLIC OF C
clean water for healthy children Niger is one of the world’s driest countries, and finding water that is safe to drink is a struggle for many families, particularly in rural areas. Indeed, only 32 per cent of the rural population has access to clean water. Plan is working to ensure families have a source of clean water within a reasonable distance of their homes. Our water projects
include helping to install water systems and build sanitary toilets. We also teach families how to store water properly and keep their surroundings clean and hygienic.
Clean Water for Nakin Fada
Ramatou still remembers how long it used to take to fetch water from the village well in Nakin Fada, a rural community in southwest Niger. ‘We spent a lot of time at the well to fill our buckets of water because our well is very deep,’ she explains. ‘Sometimes you could find 20 women around the well. Everyone had to wait for their turn.’ Unfortunately, the water Ramatou and her friends pulled from the well wasn’t worth waiting for. Stagnant and unclean, it was a breeding ground for bacteria and disease. Drinking it was unsafe, but with no other source of water there was little choice. Until Plan stepped in, the effect on children in Nakin Fada was catastrophic. They regularly fell ill and missed out on school. Diarrhoea, a common and treatable illness in Australia, was feared in the village. Here, as in many poor communities, it was one of the biggest killers of children under five. Community ownership Finding sources of clean water is a priority for families in the communities where Plan works. They know it is essential for their children’s survival. Plan has supported them to install new water sources in their villages, boreholes with pump systems operated manually, or with solar power. These offer quick and convenient access to safe water. Unlike the old wells, they are closed, keeping animals away and making them far more hygienic. Ramatou could see the benefits immediately, explaining: ‘Water from the borehole is clear, without the impurity of the well’s water.’ Across the poorest countries in the world, Plan’s work with communities to connect them to clean water has taught us that families must feel they own their new water points and take responsibility for keeping them in good repair if they are to reap the benefits of safe water for future generations.
Produced for Niger by Plan International Australia.
Although Plan generally provides financial and technical support during each project, the community is encouraged to make its own decisions about the best water system for their village and how this will be maintained in the long term. Instant rewards In Nakin Fada, the community has pulled together to keep their water points in good working order. The women have formed a committee to oversee the water system and make sure it runs smoothly. Should anything go wrong, some of the village men have been trained to carry out basic repairs. For now, the rewards of installing a clean water system are clear to see in every village working with Plan. Bania Gondi, a community in Dosso, southwest Niger, has had a modern water supply for ten years. The health worker here says: ‘There is a clear connection with the number of children who continue to thrive here; there are more children who can grow up and go to school safely.’ Rachida is one of them. She has a new borehole at her school, and says: ‘With it, we can have clean and healthy water.’ Rachida has a double reason to celebrate. In many rural communities, it is a girl’s job to fetch water from the well, a task that can take hours and keep her out of school. Now, water is easy to find and Rachida has more time to spend in class, or playing with friends.
Women’s literacy classes are well attended in Niger
The Bigger Picture Plan is working with children, families and communities to find sustainable solutions to the challenges in Niger. We have only given you a small insight into Plan’s work in Niger with this report but over the past year we also: • Raised the standard of education for children by offering training to 257 teachers and 46 teaching volunteers • Worked with schools and communities to set up 43 boreholes providing clean water • Helped almost 3000 women in southwest Niger to boost family incomes by participating in savings and loans groups • Made sure food supplements and treatment for chronic malnutrition was given to 3991 children and 754 women at recuperation centres. Your support as a sponsor is crucial to achieving these results. With the resources provided by sponsors, Plan expertise and the collaboration of communities and local partners we are making a big difference to the lives of people in Niger. Thank you for your involvement!
To learn more about Plan’s work in Niger visit plan.org.au/ourwork/westafrica/niger
Some names have been changed for child protection and privacy reasons
‘There is a clear connection with the number of children who continue to thrive here; there are more children who can grow up and go to school safely.’