Mercy Corps has been working in Niger since 2005. Niger is one of the world's poorest countries, with an annual per person income of less than $200. Over the past ten years, the country has experienced significant social and political instability that has left millions unable to adequately respond to chronic drought and malnutrition.
Additionally, climate change has led to increasingly erratic rain patterns, which severely affect farmers’ ability to grow enough food. A failed harvest at the end of 2011 left the entire Sahel region of West Africa in the grip of a dire, ongoing food crisis that continues today. Get the quick facts about the crisis in the Lake Chad region ▸
According to the UN, 340,000 people living in Niger are severely food insecure. Get the quick facts about hunger ▸
- Agriculture & Food: Providing emergency food vouchers and commodities to those who need it most, while simultaneously building long-term food resilience by providing improved seeds, goats, farming tools, technical trainings, and teaching pregnant and nursing mothers about nutrition
- Conflict & governance: Working with local governments to prevent and mitigate disputes and ensure proper management of natural resources, developing a new system for tracking the factors that influence vulnerability to violent extremism
- Disaster preparedness: Training communities to assess and identify natural disaster risks and encouraging land rehabilitation to minimize erosion and prevent flooding
- Economic opportunity: Strengthening farmers’ economic opportunities by linking them with better opportunities to sell their products, connecting pastoralists to veterinary services to keep livestock healthy and fostering employment for young people
- Women & gender: Involving women in community decision-making, educating community leaders about the importance of gender equality and creating safe spaces and schools for young girls to express themselves and continue their education
Mali, Niger: What you want to know about the Sahel hunger crisis
The hunger crisis in the Sahel is not an immediate emergency that gets splashed across the evening news. Instead, the tragic circumstances of drought and failed harvests have been building since the beginning of the year.
Niger: Feeding families in the Sahel
Niger: Payday brings smiles and hope to hungry families
I had the chance to see payday in Niger a couple weeks ago. Visiting Mercy Corps’ programs that are helping people survive the current hunger crisis, I had seen barren fields, dusty skies, and hungry faces.
Niger: Life without rain
“It’s hot!” I said. “No it’s not," replied one of our Niger team members. "You should have been here in late March or April. That’s when it was really hot.” “Really? So 106 degrees Fahrenheit isn’t as hot as it gets?”
Niger: Children suffer most in hunger crisis
Lauretta dreams of becoming a teacher. But she hasn’t been to school since January, when she had to drop out in order to help her family at home.
Niger: Maintaining wells as drought takes its toll
In Niger, cycles of drought and hunger are a harsh reality. Here, a family works on a well that Mercy Corps helped them rebuild.
Mali, Niger: Expanding hunger relief efforts
Our teams are working on expanding desperately needed cash distribution to hungry families in Agadez, the largest city in northern Niger, as the country's food crisis deepens.
Niger: Schools empty as food shortage worsens
Twelve-year-old Lauretta was forced to drop out of school to help keep house and watch her younger brother while her mother forages for food to feed the family.
Niger: Update from the field: Food crisis is just beginning
Niger: "There is nothing to eat"
During the two weeks I recently spent with in Niger with our emergency response teams, I kept hearing the same thing over and over: There is nothing to eat.