Greening the Sahel

Rockflower Commitment: Fund a grant to foster an agricultural legacy in the desert by addressing food and water security and improve the livelihoods of rural women.
Location: Niger

Niger is ranked by the UNDP as the poorest country in the world and Tillaberi bordering Mali, is one of the most food insecure regions in the country. Women and children in particular suffer, as men often depart after the fall harvest to find work in other countries. While they are away women and children must fend for themselves. The women of Tirboye, our partners for this proposal are enthusiastic gardeners, with a history of farming millet. As the Sahel dries, yearly rainfall - that only falls in June - August is more and more often not enough to support crops for one season. 

However, like many Nigeriennes, they have never grown vegetables or learned about nutrition, crop diversification or organic farming techniques. Our mission is to equip them with the skills and opportunities that will enable them to provide nutritional food to their families, decrease illness through improved hygiene and grow cash crops for profit.

The Rain4Sahara Greening the Sahel project would help women take the first critical steps toward self-sufficiency by:

  1. Building a community garden for a cooperative of 60 women. A well and drip irrigation expands the yearly growing from a single questionable season to 3 seasons. 

  2. Providing equipment and training in organic techniques, diversified crops, growing and selling cash crops, production of fruit, hygiene and nutrition.

Our pilot project for a women’s garden in Mari, Tillaberi has 100 members and has reported increased food security, general well being, and income. In fact, the garden is doing so well that participants are able to donate food to their local school. 


About Rain for the Sahel and SaharA

Rain for the Sahel and Sahara partners with rural and nomadic desert peoples of Niger to realize their ambitions for education and enduring livelihoods. To this end, we have:

  • installed 18 school market gardens and 20 wells in the most remote areas of the  Agadez and Tillaberi regions;
  • developed 6 women’s artisan cooperatives;
  • given garden grants to  9 family gardeners;
  • installed 2 women’s cooperative gardens with a total of 130 members;
  • at each garden site, trained participants in hygiene, nutrition and organic gardening and pest control techniques; and
  • established 140 women mentors providing guidance and support to 630 girls and 10 at-risk boys in 27 communities.

We are thrilled to be striving - with you - to fund a 3rd women's cooperative garden in Tillaberi. The men and women who are our staff and volunteers in Niger are all, save one, Nigerian. We know the people in our partner communities well and work together to see their needs for education, income generation and food security. We are referred to as "the ones that come back". Women's cooperative gardens improve nutrition and standards of living. Children who have access to nutritious food are healthier and are more likely to succeed in school. some of the the women gardeners are also RAIN mentors. On their own, they give surplus food they produce to hungry students. Help us to get beyond hunger to achieve better education and better lives. 


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