In Niger, HI runs various projects for the inclusion of children and adults with disabilities and in support of vulnerable populations, such as people affected by climate-related disasters and communities living in the cross-border areas impacted by armed conflicts.
HI helps malnourished children to develop in a serene environment. Workshop of affective stimulation with mothers and children. | © J. de Tessières / HI
HI is currently supporting Niger's vulnerable populations and people with disabilities, helping the country's various humanitarian actors to adopt an inclusive response. To ensure that the specific needs of vulnerable populations and people with disabilities are taken into account, our programme conducts studies on existing barriers, raises awareness among associations and communities and strengthens the inclusive dimension of other humanitarian actors' interventions. The teams provide support for inclusion at central level, in various clusters and working groups.
HI is also implementing a project to strengthen the resilience and social cohesion of vulnerable populations in cross-border regions by supporting community-run projects. Our teams organise the distribution of kits and shelters to cover the basic needs of vulnerable populations and assist local actors in addressing mental health and psychosocial support needs. They also organise risk education sessions and training within the communities.
Given the risks of malnutrition caused by natural disasters or armed conflicts, the programme supports the families of children suffering from acute malnutrition. To this end, our teams organise discussion groups and offer physiotherapy sessions to stimulate young children.
Lastly, although Niger is the country with the youngest population in the world, the school enrolment rate remains very low, especially among children with disabilities. Through our inclusive education project, HI helps children with disabilities to access and remain in primary education. This involves strengthening the capacities and training of teachers, working to identify and follow-up children with disabilities and raising community awareness of disability issues.
Niger is a Sahelian country experiencing rapid growth, but a large part of its population lives in poverty. Education is an absolute priority, as half of the population is currently under the age of 15.
Niger, which has a surface area of 1,267,000 km2, has three climate zones: the north is dry and arid; the centre is a Sahelian zone with average rainfall; and the south has high rainfall. As a result, the country is prone to droughts and floods. Niger’s economy is largely based on agriculture and livestock and both of these activities are at risk of climate-related disasters.
Niger is a relatively stable country. It has good relations with its neighbours, is a member of many regional organisations and has often played a role in crisis resolution. However, it has experienced successive and significant waves of population displacement and refugee arrivals in recent years and, with the growing insecurity in the Sahel region, an increase in terrorist attacks by non-state armed groups.
People with disabilities face significant discrimination and socio-economic inequalities in Niger. Indeed, according to popular perceptions and representations, disability is generally assimilated to incapacity and deficiency. The negative perceptions and attitudes perpetuated by families and communities remain the biggest obstacle to the successful social inclusion of people with disabilities.
Number of HI staff: 112
Programme opened in: 2006