BENEFITING: RAIN FOR THE SAHEL AND SAHARA INC
EVENT DATE: Mar 01, 2019
Climate change increases variability in rainfall, resulting in extreme droughts and floods. This variability significantly impacts Niger’s fragile soil, crop production, and access to potable water– exacerbating pre-existing issues in a country already prone to food crises.
•80% of Niger is covered by the Sahara Desert and temperature increases are expected to be 1.5x higher than the rest of the world.
•Just 12% of the country’s soil is naturally suited for agriculture.
•80% of families rely on crops for livelihood.
•2 Million people are chronically food insecure; 4.5 Million are at risk of becoming food insecure.
•64% of rural Nigeriens lack access to clean water and waterborne illness is the second biggest killer of children in Niger.
Women are key players in food security. Our community gardens empower women to turn sustainable agriculture into a business, using drip irrigation and financial literacy. Many rural nomadic men must travel to neighboring countries, referred to as "exod", to find work - leaving women to provide and take care of their families. With RAIN's help, a situation of vulnerability is transformed into empowerment. A group of women come together to manage 1,000 to 5,000 sq. feet of crops. In these desert regions, where herding dominates and agricultural knowledge is scarce, training in organic techniques, drip irrigation, seed and crop strategies, pest control and nutrition ensures maximum benefit.
Members plan budgets and crops, hire a gardener, and take turns monitoring the garden. Fresh produce provides critical supplementation to the nomadic staple diet of milk and millet. Drip irrigation means more water available for drinking and cooking. From produce to profit. Harvest time brings another opportunity to earn desperately needed income to pay for medicine, tuition or emergency food supplies. Subsitance crops are transformed with the addition of cash crops to sell at local markets. Women also make sauces and other value-added staples for sale. Knowledge is shared and everyone works together towards mutual benefit. A food secure and self-sufficient community is the end goal.