Hassan keeps his mother's goats received thanks to the support of Oxfam. Hassan never went to school in his life. His dream: to become a herder. Credit: Tom Saater / Oxfam.
Niger is a Sahelian country with a population of roughly 21.5 million people, 50.1% of whom are females. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, and was ranked last in the world according to the 2018 Human Development Index (HDI) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The country's economy is not only focused on agriculture, livestock farming and fishing, which account for 49% of its gross domestic product (GDP), but also on the private sector, which produces considerable resources from extractive industries, including uranium, oil and gold. Since oil production began in 2011, the country has enjoyed an average growth rate. However, it is still one of the poorest countries in the world with an average GDP per capita of USD $378.
Moreover, the country's vulnerability is exacerbated by its isolated location, combined with recurrent food crises and an unstable security situation. (Source 2018: https://www.populationdata.net/countries/niger/)
Oxfam in Niger
Oxfam has been working in Niger since 1992 to promote good governance and active citizenship, support vulnerable populations that have been victims of disasters and conflicts, and contribute to strengthening their food security. Our vision of change is a fair Niger without poverty, where all citizens (men, women and youth) have the power and means to exercise their fundamental human rights and have control over their lives. All our interventions are supported by influencing work, actions to promote gender justice, and the development of strategic partnerships with local and international organizations.
Promoting respect for rights and dignity in Niger
Today, Oxfam’s work in Niger is mainly focused on four key areas, guided by a rights-based approach:
The right to sustainable livelihoods and food security, by increasing productive capacities to respond to crises and climate change, setting up community early warning systems, and analysing the capacities and vulnerabilities of men and women.
The right to basic services, through advocacy actions calling for the State and local authorities to take responsibility and increase investments and access to quality education and training, as well as supporting pastoralism.
The right to political and social participation, by building a credible civil society that is able to influence public and private sector policies, and through the innovative use of media.
The right to identity, through the promotion of human rights, the reduction of gender-based violence, the promotion of women's leadership, and the reduction of inequalities.
Providing humanitarian aid in periods of crisis and drought
Some areas in Niger face chronic food and nutrition insecurity due to poor agricultural yields linked to the lack of rainfall. In addition, the crises linked to armed conflicts in the Lake Chad Basin (Diffa region) and the northern part of the Malian border region have exacerbated the vulnerability of thousands of internally displaced persons, refugees, and even host communities.
We provide humanitarian aid to these vulnerable populations, particularly by installing water supply systems to give them access to safe drinking water and distributing essential food and non-food items. We also strengthen the autonomy of displaced persons and refugees through the support of income-generating activities.
We are working with the affected communities and the State to build peace in conflict zones, particularly in the Lake Chad Basin (Diffa) and the Tillabéri region.