Conference in NYC: Economic Prosperity, Human Rights, and the Role of Free and Fair Elections – Case Studies Haiti and Niger

Friday, February 19 at 6:30 PM at the NYC Seminar and Conference Center, 71 West 23rd Street (6th Ave & 23rd Street)

Economic Prosperity, Human Rights, and the Role of Free and Fair Elections – Case Studies Haiti and Niger

A country’s economic development depends on its institutions: its system of government, property rights, land tenure, civil service, and justice. The Inter-Parliamentary Union notes that “In any State the authority of the government can only derive from the will of the people as expressed in genuine, free and fair elections held at regular intervals on the basis of universal, equal and secret suffrage”. What are causes, consequences, and lessons of a breakdown in the electoral system?

Elections are scheduled in Haiti and Niger in the very near future but the campaigns are far from free and fair. In this seminar Dr. Gladys Melo-Pinzon reviews the situation in Niger, and Kim Ives considers the case of Haiti.

Dr. Gladys Melo-Pinzon is the Senegal / Niger Country Specialist of Amnesty USA (AIUSA), the Amnesty International’s Section in the US and part of the global movement of people fighting injustice and promoting human rights.

Kim Ives is a journalist, broadcaster, documentary filmmaker, and an editor with Haiti Liberte.

Organized by the Henry George School of Social Science

Wells4Wellness Kicks Off Spring Fundraiser For Niger

Wells4Wellness, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing safe, sanitary water wells to the people of Niger, Africa, is holding a spring walk event fundraiser. The Moline-based organization is hoping to raise enough funds to add to the drilling of the next group of 6 wells.
The fundraiser kickoff event is scheduled for Sunday, March 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Milltown Coffee, 3800 River Drive, Moline.  Guests will sample American and Niger food and desserts, as well as enjoy entertainment and a silent auction. Walkers and walk teams may obtain walk information there. The event is free.
Wells4Wellness is encouraging Quad Citians to walk 10,000 steps per day and pledge pennies towards accumulated miles. Teams are challenged to cumulatively complete a 6,000 mile walk to Niger. Faith Lutheran Church, Moline, and the Reverend Mark Gherke and Parish Nurse Barb Marlin are the first walk team to sign on.
A former nurse turned Executive Director for Wells4Wellness, Pat Herath, Moline, says her many health missionary trips convinced her to help the people of Niger. “There, a child dies every 20 seconds from the effects of contaminated water. Drilling modern wells has a dramatic impact on the health and commerce of the people living in these rural desert communities,” she said.
About Wells4Wellness:

Wells4Wellness is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to improving the health of rural Niger, Africa by drilling modern water wells. The organization has a goal of drilling 33 wells to help the people of Niger gain access to clean, safe drinking water. For further information, please visit www.wells4wellness.com or phone 309-236-1301.

Peace Corps Values – a Message From Glen Blumhorst

The Friends of Niger board would like to send out the following message from Glen Blumhorst, the president of our National Peace Corps Association,

http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/2015/12/when-our-peace-corps-values-matter-most/

He talks about being deeply disturbed by the recent chorus of negative and aggressive speech targeting Muslims and refugees in our countries. He urges us to reach out, in large ways and small, to Muslims, refugees and other minorities in our communities.

Now is the time for us to rededicate ourselves to this third goal of the Peace Corps, to commit ourselves to education and constructive dialogue – to the open hand of America, rather than the closed fist.

A great reminder for the new year. Thank you and best wishes for 2016!

“Smart Tractors” in the Sahel

The Washington Post: A farmer works on a Smart Tractor with a tiller attachment in Kaduna, Nigeria. With the Smart Tractor, a farmer can knock off in one day what he could do manually in 40 days. (Jehiel Oliver/Jehiel Oliver)

A small company led by Jehiel Oliver in Anacostia, D. C., is bringing small, versatile “Smart Tractors” to Nigera and Niger

He devised a business in which farmers send a text to Hello Tractor’s U.S.-based dispatchers, who locate the nearest GPS-embedded Smart Tractor and ping the service provider. The tractors typically arrive within three days.

Read about how this new tractor and business model are bringing increased efficiency to the farmlands.

Sowing self-sufficiency in Africa with Anacostia-based ‘Hello Tractor’

Hello Tractor Website

AREN Opening Ceremony Speeches

As reported in the latest Camel Express, President Mammadou Issoufou of Niger joined us for the opening of L’Archive de la République du Niger, or AREN, on April 3 this past spring. AREN is a new archive in the African Studies department at Boston University dedicated to storing Niger-related media, giving easier access to a wide variety of materials dating back more than 50 years.

From the archive’s website:

The Archive of the Republic of Niger at Boston University (AREN) is designed to serve not only as an archive but also as a bridge between Nigerien and American stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic.

We are pleased to share with  you the full text of five of the speeches delivered during the opening ceremonies of the Archive:

Fallen Volunteers

Memorial Day is about remembering those who have sacrificed their lives in service of this country. Let’s not forget that there is another kind of service for our country, and take a moment to remember the nearly 300 Peace Corps Volunteers who lost their lives during their time abroad: the Fallen Peace Corps Volunteers.

Fallen Peace Corps Volunteers is a web site dedicated to these volunteers, with the ultimate goal of  honoring their memory with a memorial in Washington, DC. Take a moment to read about these individuals who gave it all:

http://fpcv.org

We honor both these fallen volunteers, as well as the members of the armed services who gave their lives. I like to think they all had a common goal for the world: peace.

#LetGirlsLearn Launches – and the National Peace Corps Association is there!

Friends of Niger is a big supporter of girls’ education, and we’re happy to pass on this message from the National Peace Corps Association announcing its partnership in the Let Girls Learn Program.

Let Girls Learn

Their focus will be on raising awareness about the initiative across our network of 215,000 RPCVs, and in the process spotlighting the RPCVs who promote girls’ education and empowerment.

Direct link: http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/2015/03/letgirlslearn-launches-and-the-national-peace-corps-association-is-there/

Let Girls Learn Program website: https://letgirlslearn.peacecorps.gov

Website of the Friends of Niger