About Friends of Niger
Friends of Niger is a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Your contributions to Friends of Niger are fully tax-deductible.
The purpose of FON is to initiate and/or support activities related to Niger and its people and for the benefit of its membership.
FON was established almost 20 years ago and was active for many years under the leadership of its founder, Meredith Mcgehee, and its immediate past-president, Jim Schneider.
The Camel Express is the name of its newsletter. It has a contact list of over 1500 people, largely Niger RPCVs but also many others who have worked and/or lived in Niger, including Nigeriens.
Further information on the composition of its current Board of Directors, on its current mailing address, and on some of its current activities can be found elsewhere on this site.
Click to view the Friends of Niger Bylaws
Click to view the Friends of Niger Application for Recognition of Exemption (PDF, 3.1 MB) under Section 401(c)(3) of the IRS code.
Friends of Niger: The Last Ten Years
Those attending the 35th Anniversary of Peace Corps in Niger in July 1997 were moved to revitalize the almost defunct Friends of Niger group, which had been started by Meredith McGehee; a balance of $6,000 remained in a bank account in Washington, DC. The process took almost a year and now ten years later seems like a good time to look back and celebrate the accomplishments of Friends of Niger as Niger has just celebrated the 45th anniversary of Peace Corps in Niger.
1998 - Jim Schneider, as Acting President, formed an Interim Executive Committee and an election was held in June.
2000 - The newsletter and website are up and running. FON received an award from NPCA for its newsletter, which was produced by Jim Schneider. Membership was up to about 160 paid dues. Annual income and expenses were running round $5,500.
2002 - The October trip to Niger for the 40th anniversary of the Peace Corps resulted in the documentary entitled Brother from Niger, which was produced for Canadian television. It was first a video and later a DVD fundraiser for FON projects in Niger. 500 pounds of children's chewable vitamins were personally distributed to the hospital in Niamey, the Notre Dame Orphanage in Niamey, and the hospitals at Galmi and Maradi. The group also visited the Mata Masu Dubara operated by CARE Niger to see first hand the benefits derived for FON's contributions of $1680. They were also able to visit MICA's Oxcart Project in the Maradi area, which received $2,300. That year we also developed the T-shirt fundraiser and contributed to a Peace Corps Partnership program in Niger
2004 - The FON meeting in conjunction with the NPCA National Convention was a wonderful social gathering of Niger volunteers and featured information and exchange sessions for RPCVs and Nigeriens. FON continued its contributions of chewable vitamins, the Oxcart project, and CARE Niger's program Mata Masu Dubara. FON also provided $500 to fund a local organization providing relief for women and children, ORUCWOCA.
2005 - Famine relief efforts. FON played an important role in informing our members and the general public about the devastating effects of the famine in Niger. They were encouraged to support the efforts of NGOs operating in Niger and many private fundraisers were organized and publicized through the web site and the Camel Express.
2006 - Donation of $1000 to the Tin Hinan micro-credit project. In order to assist 20 women in Goroubi, in the Say - Tillabery region, a fourteen-month project that ended in March 2007.
Donation to the Fraternite Notre Dame Orphanage and donations of chewable vitamins to the National Hospital in Niamey.
Donation of $500 to insure the publication of a Peace Corps Volunteer Health Manual for children.
Donation of $3600 to support the education of 18 Nigerien young women for the 2006 - 07 school year.
Educate Tomorrow events in 2006.
FON advocacy efforts to reopen the USAID office in Niamey were rewarded when Mark Wentling was sent to Niger as USAID's permanent program manager.
2007 - Donation of $3600 to support the education of 18 Nigerien young women for the 2007- 08 school year. FON also received a donation of $2,000 from the Manhattan Theater project to continue funding the Young Girls Scholarship Program. The Theater Group raised the money from a production "Voices of Africa" which was written by Nigerien students under the direction of a Peace Corps volunteer.
It is evident when you look at the FON web site now or read the Camel Express that FON serves as an important connection for a number of other projects such as Art Think -- painting to feed Niger, Educate Tomorrow, Rain for the Sahel and Sahara and the Niger Guinea Worm Eradication Project, to name a few, all working to improve the lives of the Nigerien people. FON also has an important role in informing our members and the general public about issues important to the Nigerien people. FON is proud of its service over the past ten years and pledges to continue to serve the people of Niger in the years to come.