Nomadic Notes

RAIN Partners with MAZON and The Global Hunger Foundation to Create Long Term Solutions to Food Insecurity

The food crisis in Sub Saharan Africa last summer may have abated in fierceness, but is not completely gone. Rains have since come, relieving the ravages of drought, but food prices remain high, crops are diminished, and essential livestock vanished.  One could safely say that in regions so remote, so arid and harsh as is rural Niger, communities are more or less always facing a crisis of food insecurity.

The nomadic cultures of rural Niger are primarily herders, not farmers.  The transition to growing sustainable crops for food and for income does not occur overnight.  With the help of our partners, RAIN facilitates this transition, allowing each community to take the lead. 

It all begins with a School Market Garden – 1,000 square meters of sustainable agriculture, planned, planted and harvested by the community themselves, learning about drip irrigation, farming techniques, and food preparation for market along the way.  Parents see their children fed at school, and become motivated to do more. Women’s cooperatives form to dry and can produce for sale to local markets.  Small herds of goats are incorporated, along with animal husbandry education, to replenish lost livestock and create food and income for both families and schools.

Within one year, the school market garden supports itself. Within 3-5 years, the garden and the community enterprises share a mutually profitable support, and can keep growing in scope. Livelihoods are created through the investment into community enterprises such as artisan and agricultural cooperatives, grain grinding, and cereal banks.  With a sustainable means of food production with surplus stored, income producing activities, and the know how to keep it going, nomadic communities can face each impending crisis from a position of strength and empowerment to avert disastrous consequences.

We would like to thank The Global Hunger Foundation and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, for sharing our vision of sustainable food security in Niger.


MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger is a leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing and alleviating hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds.  For more information, visit


The Global Hunger Foundation is dedicated to raising consciousness and funds to prevent and alleviate hunger in the developing world by empowering women towards sustainable, organic agricultural production; and at the same time advocating for the end to hunger and its causes.  Through the Nancy Daly Memorial Grant, the foundation will support establishing a program in nomadic community schools instructing children in the principles of sustainable, organic agriculture, while incorporating lessons of gender equality, empowerment, and leadership. This partnership represents the first grant for the newly formed foundation.

For more information, visit


Article: “In Libya you face bombs, but in Niger you face death”

Posted in Niger Food Security,Niger News by rain4sahara on May 20, 2011
Tags: , , , , , ,

IRIN Africa | NIGER-LIBYA: “In Libya you face bombs, but in Niger you face death” | Libya | Niger | Conflict | Economy | Food Security | Migration | Urban Risk.

Communities across Niger already vulnerable to food insecurity after a devistating drought and rising food costs are facing the new burden of thousands who had left to work in Libya fleeing the conflict and returning to Niger.  Click the link above to the article by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs learn more.

Please post your thoughts and reactions on this new development.


Posted in Niger Food Security by rain4sahara on September 16, 2010

So many have supported RAIN in its efforts to bring food aid and animal feed programs to Niger’s herders during these months of drought and food shortages.  We think it best that the “thank you’s”  — Nagode in Hausa, Tanemeert in Tamasheq — come directly from the Nigerien people.

“The words to thank the Zakat Foundation and Rain for the Sahel and Sahara escape us because the animal feed is like gold for us.

A herder related that his animals, and those of many others, continue to die despite the rains.  The grasses are just beginning to grow and the starving animals are trying to eat it.  As they do, they ingest very little grass but a lot of sand. As a result, they die.

“My heart is full  of joy; this help is the first of its kind for the village of Teyiss and it came at a time when it was most needed.” A Wodaabe man in Teyiss, Niger.


Posted in Niger Food Security by rain4sahara on July 29, 2010

The Zakat Foundation of America, whose mission is to foster charitable giving to alleviate the immediate needs of poor communities and to establish long-term development projects that ensure individual and community growth has granted $21,360 for food aid to children in Niger. Niger is suffering from a drought-induced food shortage and, with Zakat’s help, RAIN is providing food to schoolchildren in remote regions who are not receiving assistance from any other sources.  Zakat and RAIN are also funding animal feed programs.  When nomads lose their animals they lose their source of food, milk and income.  RAIN is receiving reports of communities in which half their animals have died and others are malnourished. This is both a short and long-term disaster for affected nomadic peoples.  RAIN is augmenting the Zakat-funded food aid program with funds donated by our individual supporters. 


All the best to our supporters, 

Bess and the staff and volunteers of RAIN in the United States and Niger. 

Food delivery to Tadek nomadic school

Children are hardest hit by hunger. Food delivery to the Tadek nomadic school. Zakat and RAIN are providing food for 300 primary school students.


The women of Foudouk receive animal feed for their herds.

40% of the herd animals in Foudouk have starved to death. RAIN and Zakat contribute animal feed to keep them alive until this season's pastures are green.

Food Crisis in Niger Featured in the New York Times

Dear Friends,

There is an article featured today’s New York Times by Adam Nossiter about the scope of the food crisis in Niger, including a slideshow.

 [See the article here:]     

Prayers in Danganari. Half of Niger’s 15 million people face a food shortage, officials said.

Nossiter deftly captures the cause and scope of the crisis; the severity of need, the displacement with the endless search for food, how hunger disrupts children’s education.  He also highlights the active role the new government has been playing in giving more of the population access to food, in sharp contrast to the previous
administration.  This is great news for RAIN and our circle of donors, that the new government may possibly become a partner in aid instead of an obstacle. 

We are hoping this article increases awareness of this very pressing need and can help ignite the passion to give a helping hand to our friends in West Africa.

To donate online to the RAIN Emergency Food Aid fund, please visit:

Checks can also be sent to: RAIN/PO Box 545/Newmarket, NH/03857.

We will continue to keep you posted on our progress in bringing relief to these communities!

Bess Palmisciano

Niger Food Crisis

Signs of Drought in Niger