Join FON at Peace Corps Connect Nashville, June 19-21, 2014

Join Friends of Niger at Peace Corps Connect in Nashville June 19-21! FON President John Soloninka will be there and has reserved a group space for us.

Over 1.3 million people participated in Peace Corps 50th Anniversary events in 2011, illustrating the strong desire of the Peace Corps community to come together to share experiences, discuss issues, share best practices and learn about different cultures.

The National Peace Corps Association’s (NPCA) annual Peace Corps Connect is an important continuation of this spirit and an opportunity for the community to reconnect with Peace Corps friends, meet new Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, and to network with various organizations face-to-face.


Sign up at:

An Appeal For New Teachers At Hampaté Bâ

A request for support from our friends at Les amis de Hampaté Bâ:


Schools are nothing without quality teachers !


In 2010, YOU helped Les amis de Hampaté Bâ secure a permanent spot on GlobalGiving! 

Today, we need your help to supplement the wages of 14 teachers at the Amadou Hampaté Bâ School.

There can be no educational development without well trained and effective teachers. To reduce the high turnover rate and have a stable and motivated team of teachers, the school must offer decent salaries and professional development without increasing either class sizes or school fees.

 That is why your help is needed.

If 78 supporters make a recurring donation of $20/month ($240/year) to this appeal, every one of the 14 teachers will receive the Nigerien national average salary for a teacher and school fees will stay as low as possible allowing the school to give quality education to families most in need.

Les amis de Hampaté Bâ would like to send $1550 per month to the Hampaté Bâ Middle School to start with. Are you one of the 78 generous and heroic people we need to make a recurring donation of $20  per month?

Also, presently, Microsoft is matching new recurring donations to our project! But this will not last for long! So please do not let this great opportunity go!

By supplementing the wages of a teacher for $20 a month, you will greatly improve the quality of education for 350 low income children at the Hampaté Bâ School.




Mark Wentling, Former PC Niger Staff, Working On New Book

Africa's EmbraceMark Wentling was a PC volunteer in Honduras and Togo in the 1960s, and later a part of the PC Niger staff. He’s written one book based on his life-long experiences, Africa’s Embrace.

Now he’s finished his second book, Africa’s Release, expected to be released this May, and he is currently working on a third for the end of the year.

Visit Mark’s Author Page on Amazon.

Read more about Mark here on Peace Corps Worldwide.

IFRC and Global Fund target for tuberculosis treatment for all in Niger

A new two-year Global Fund grant of 10 million euros will allow the population of Niger, estimated at around 17 million, to access quality TB diagnosis and treatment services. The grant will expand and enhance TB services for more than 26,000 people in 200 treatment centres by 2015, targeting vulnerable populations, including those in nomadic communities, migrant groups and prisons.

Buy A Gift For A Nomad This Season

This year for your holiday giving, forget the shopping mall. You can buy a gift for a nomad in Niger instead!

Give a goat for $40.

Sponsor a student for a month $35.

Sponsor a student for a year $300.

Plant a moringa tree for vitamin rich diet $35.

Or contribute to our Earthbag Building classes. This program teaches Nigerien families to build structures they need using the soil from their land — an inexpensive, sustainable, and simple technique that can be taught in 2 weeks.

If you want your gift to give twice, donate in someone’s name. A certificate will be sent to the recipient of your choice.

Full URL:

Barbara Jean Kirker

Friends of Niger are terribly sad to learn of the recent passing of Barbara Kirker. A Niger RPCV serving in Diffa in the the 1960s, Barbara and her husband, Dr. William Kirker, established the Maine-Soroa hospital (not to mention Africare), forever impacting the lives of many Nigeriens.

His Excellency Maman S. Sidikou, the Ambassador of Niger to the United States, has these kind words to say about Mrs. Kirker in this open letter to Dr. William Kirker:

Dear Dr. William Kirker,

The Niger Embassy staff and the Nigerien community in Washington, D.C. are very sad to hear about Barbara’s passing last week.

We will remember her as a deeply caring and generous person. She went out of her way to reach out our people, back when she was a Peace Corp Volunteer.

Many among our fellow-citizens had the privilege of working closely with her in improving our grass root communities’ life in Maine-Soroa. She was truly open-minded and generous and many children have benefited enormously from her experience and talents.

Barbara will be remembered fondly and with deep gratitude for all the excellent work she did in my country. She was a true friend of Niger. That the Kirker family’s name is so closely associated to everything good that happens to our people (including the great work AFRICARE is doing to strengthen the resilience of the most vulnerable in Niger) is testimony to Barbara’s dedication to service to Humanity.

May her gentle soul rest in peace and may God grant you, William Jr. and your entire family the fortitude to bear this immense loss.

Kind regards

Ambassador Maman S. Sidikou

We offer our condolences to the Kirker family and to all who came to know this amazing woman.

Skeletons of the Sahara: National Geographic

PBS is currently airing an intriguing new documentary about one of the largest prehistoric human burial grounds found in the Sahara. As with many of these discoveries, this one is located in the remote deserts of Niger.

From the show:

Over 10 years and five expeditions, Sereno has found more than 200 burial plots, each more intriguing than the last: a man buried with his head in a pot; another buried sitting in a turtle shell; a girl with a bracelet carved from hippo bone; and most striking of all, a woman embracing two children, hands entwined in a triple burial.

Adding to the intrigue is the fact that the bones are from two separate civilizations, Kiffian and Tenerian, thousands of years apart, yet the dead are buried side by side. Scattered throughout the site, artifacts offer clues to the lives they led – arrowheads, intricate jewelry and, perhaps most surprising of all, harpoons carved from bone.

Who were the Kiffians and Tenerians? How did they live? How did they die?

Watch the full National Geographic special here on PBS (in high definition no less).

Full URL:


Niger RPCV Leslie Natzke Interviewed on WBEZ Worldview

As a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger in the late 80′s, Leslie Natzke noticed that there were very few young women and girls going to school. Since then, she’s launched a non-profit aimed at developing leadership skills in young women in West Africa to empower them to become pillars in their communities. Natzke introduces us to her organization, Expanding Lives.

Listen to the WBEZ Worldview interview here on SoundClound.

Full URL:
Note: yes, the URL is correct; the WBEZ segment includes multiple stories, some of which relate to military action in Syria. The Niger story begins at the 35:00 minute mark.

NYT Report On Medical Progress In Danja

The New York Times reports in a recent article on the progress made by a group of surgeons — with the support of Times readers — who insisted on finding a way to help young women suffering from fistula.

There is nothing more wrenching than to see a teenage girl shamed by a fistula, and I’ve written before about the dreams of a couple of surgeons to build this fistula center here in Danja. Times readers responded by contributing more than $500,000 to the Worldwide Fistula Fund to make the hospital a reality. Last year, the Danja Fistula Center opened.

Full URL:

Website of the Friends of Niger