Mark 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.
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.
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: http://nomadfoundation.org/gifts-for-nomads
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.
Ambassador Maman S. Sidikou
We offer our condolences to the Kirker family and to all who came to know this amazing woman.
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: http://www.pbs.org/program/skeletons-sahara/
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: https://soundcloud.com/wbez-worldview/u-s-considers-military-action
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.
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: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/14/opinion/sunday/kristof-where-young-women-find-healing-and-hope.html
Click here (PDF, 1.9 MB) for the latest edition of the Camel Express, including stories and news, from and about Niger.
Full URL: http://www.friendsofniger.org/pdf/CEX_Jun_2013.pdf
Click here (PDF, 2.2 MB) for the latest edition of the Camel Express, including stories and news, from and about Niger.
Full URL: http://www.friendsofniger.org/pdf/CEX_Jan_2013.pdf
The Millennium Challenge Corporation hosted its quarterly town hall meeting on the 20th December 2012. At this meeting, the Board selected Niger for the first time as a country eligible for a Compact program with MCC. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) created by the U.S. Congress in January 2004 is a U.S. foreign aid agency that is fighting against global poverty. MCC has two forms of grants: Compacts which are large 5 year grants awarded to countries that meet the criteria and Threshold which are small grants for countries close to meeting the criteria.
Niger scored 12 green MCC performance indicators and has maintained green the Governance indicators for the last 2 years.
The MCC Board recognized the country’s efforts in good governance, the engagement and commitment of the Government of Niger in the fight against corruption, the respect of political rights, civil liberties, freedom of information and the adoption of policy reforms to strengthen economic freedom. The Board was particularly impressed and congratulated the authorities of Niger for their engagement in environmental protection.
The MCC report on Niger concludes:
Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world but has relatively strong policy performance, as indicated by two consecutive years passing the MCC indicators. Scorecards for Niger can be found athttp://www.mcc.gov/scorecards. In 2011, Niger was the first country to demonstrate that with sufficient political will, countries can restore their MCC eligibility. Niger’s constitutional reform, clean and competitive elections, and peaceful transfer of power to civilian government prompted MCC to reinstate Niger’s threshold eligibility last year. Since that time, Niger has pursued reforms related to democratic and economic governance and contributed to efforts to promote stability in the region. Niger has been a strong MCC partner in its threshold program, operating a dedicated program and policy analysis unit through both elected governments and even during its period of suspension. Niger is currently finalizing its constraints to growth analysis, an exercise that forms the basis of MCC’s compact development process, and this will now shift from a threshold program assessment tool to part of the compact development process. Capacity constraints may impact the timeline for the compact development process.
Many thanks to James T. Thomson, Niger RPCV ’64 and FON member, who has worked on many development projects all over Africa. Jamie led the charge in drafting a letter to the MCC for the FON board, urging the MCC to approve the compact grant. His efforts will have positive impact for years to come.
Additional Media Coverage
The Patriotic Vanguard: