Category Archives: News

News Stories

Niger Shows “A Spectacular Jump” In The 2011-2012 Press Freedom Index

Reporters Without Borders has released its 2011-2012 ranking of Press Freedom around the globe, with Niger showing the biggest improvement of any country in the world.

From the full version of the press release:

Niger (29th) rose 75 places in the index, the biggest leap by any country in the world this year. The economic environment for Niger’s media is very precarious but they are free and benefit from favourable legislation. Media freedom violations have virtually disappeared. The improvement has been seen in both concrete and symbolic measures. At the end of 2011, Mahamadou Issoufou, who was elected president in the spring, became the first African head of state to sign the Declaration of Table Mountain, thereby undertaking to promote media freedom.

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Hunger Crisis Raises Fears Of More Child Marriages

A recent story from the Washington Post highlights how the current food crisis leads to more child marriages in Niger, where the rate of child marriage is already the highest in the world.

From the author, Sudarsan Raghavan:

Niger has the world’s highest rate of child marriage, with roughly one out of two girls marrying before age 15, some as young as 7. As a hunger crisis affects millions here and across the Sahel region of West Africa, aid workers are concerned that struggling parents might marry off their daughters even earlier for the dowries they fetch, including animals and cash, to help the families survive.
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MercyCorps Focuses On Struggles In Niger

We are all concerned about the growing food crisis in Niger, and MercyCorps is ramping up their efforts not only to raise awareness of this dire situation, but to provide direct assistance that is greatly needed in the Sahel.

Some featured articles include:

Cassandra Nelson’s latest blog entry describes the impact the hunger crisis is having on children.

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In this video Nelson gives an overview of the crisis and how MercyCorps is beginning to help.

Visual Impact

gallery of images showing the impact MercyCorps is having in Niger

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The Ongoing Crisis

Read entries from the ongoing food crisis in Niger

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Read all the details about MercyCorps’ programs in Niger.

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You can help!

Donate to MercyCorps to help fight the Niger food crisis.

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The NH Seacoast Community Celebrates With Bombino In An Evening Of Music And Hope For Niger

Music with a message of peace.

On April 5th, 300 people, along with the Ambassadors of Niger and Gabon, danced, clapped and cheered for Tuareg sensation Bombino at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH to support RAIN’s programs in Niger.

Bombino at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH

At the reception before the performance, Portsmouth Mayor Eric Spears was on hand to deliver to Bombino and the Ambassadors a special welcome and to proclaim April 5, 2012 as West Africa Day in Portsmouth, expressing pride in the city’s role in bringing new life to RAIN’s partner nomadic communities.

Representing Friends of Niger were John Hutchison and Larry Koff. RAIN and FON have worked together to petition for Peace Corps reinstatement in Niger as well as support for NGOs in the region in Washington D.C.

During the concert, Bombino sang songs about unity and reconciliation, of the beauty of the desert and of nomadic life. He spoke to the audience about the importance of education in his homeland, sharing his plans for an upcoming Peace Tour to promote Niger as a model of peace for the West African region.

Bombino and Group with Ambassadors

The Ambassador of Niger, the Hon. Maman Sidikou, spoke of the resiliency and hope of his country. He expressed that despite recent unrest, Niger is a country of diverse people, unified in their identity as Nigeriens and in their shared goal of engagement with each other and their neighbors. He also expressed how inspired and moved he was by the huge show of support for his country demonstrated that evening by their New England friends.

New Friends, New Partners

The air of excitement and enthusiasm was palpable as the Portsmouth audience gave Bombino and his group multiple standing ovations. As for RAIN, we couldn’t have asked for a warmer reception and are excited to share their vision of a Niger where people with access to education, food and water have the freedom to choose to live in their tradition in safety and good health with a wider circle of supporters.

For more information about RAIN, visit the Rain for the Sahel and Sahara web site.

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Bombino On The Web…

Watch Bombino give a stellar performance at the Grande Mosquée in Agadez, in January of 2010:

Peace Corps’ 50th Anniversary Is Here

Although Peace Corps’ presence in Niger is on hold at the moment, 2011 still marks 50 years of promoting peace and friendship around the world by volunteers in dozens of countries.

The National Peace Corps Association is coordinating all kinds of events throughout 2011 to honor the past and inspire the next generation of volunteers. Come check out the calendar of events to find some near you.

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BU Program In Niger Closed Permanently

In January of 2011 we informed you that Boston University had suspended its program in Niger. We just learned that Boston University has made the decision to definitively close its long-standing International Development Study Abroad program in Niger.

The January 2011 announcement:

For more information about Boston University’s Study Abroad programs, please contact the university directly.

FON To Hold Strategy Meeting At Nigerien Embassy, Washington DC

The previously announced Friends Of Niger strategy meeting will be held at the Niger Embassy in Washington, DC, on Friday, September 23, 2011. Currently there are about 15 people in all that will be attending the meeting, where we plan to meet with the Ambassador, Her Excellency Aminata Maiga Djibrilla Maiga Touré, and her staff.

Date: Friday, September 23, 2011
Time: 3:00pm to 5:00pm, EST
Location: Embassy of Niger 
2204 R Street, NW
Washington DC


The Embassy is about a 10 to 15 minute walk from the Dupont Circle Metro Stop on the Red Line. Exit at the north side and walk up to R Street, then walk west to the Embassy. We will be welcomed by the Ambassador, or her staff if she is not in town; there will be a presentation of FON activities and funded projects, and we will discuss what we can do to reinstate Peace Corps in Niger.

If you would still like to join us, please contact Penni St. Hilaire so that we can finalize our plans with the embassy staff.

      Contact: Penni St. Hilaire,

FON To Hold Strategy Meeting In Washington, DC

Although Peace Corps’ presence in Niger is on hold at the moment, 2011 still marks 50 years of promoting peace and friendship by volunteers in dozens of countries, and 49 years in Niger.
Friends of Niger will hold an important meeting on Friday, September 23, 2011, in Washington DC, to discuss a strategy for lobbying for reinstatement, as well as continued support for local NGOs in Niger.

The time and location are not yet set; if you would like to attend please contact Penni St. Hilaire and she will send you an email as soon as the details are finalized.

The time and place will also be posted here when available, so please check back before September 23rd.

Following the meeting, all are invited to a social gathering at the Penni’s home in Northwest Washington. For additional information and if you would like to attend, please contact Penni.

      Contact: Penni St. Hilaire,