IAS Niger celebrates 3 years
September 2017 marks 3 years since the inauguration of IAS in Niger. This is a good time to pause and reflect on the growth we have experienced and impacts that we have had over the last 3 year.
Niger is a land-locked country in West Africa, with a surface area of some 1 267 000 km2 divided between a semi-arid Sahelian climate in the south and the Sahara Desert in the north. Rainfall occurs during a single rainy season between July and September. Niger has an estimated population of 19.2 million inhabitants, with over 80% living rurally. The population is growing rapidly, with an annual growth rate of 3.2% and 49% of the population under 15 years of age. Niger has ranked bottom of the UN Human Development Index over the last decade and, in the face of climatic and demographic changes and regional insecurity concerns, faces significant humanitarian and development challenges, particularly in rural areas.
Diffa region in the south east of Niger has been particularly affected by insecurity. The region has been under a state of emergency since February 2015 when Boko Haram launched its first attack on Niger territory. There have been 200 armed attacks by the group in Niger, including almost 50 in 2017, and over 500 civilians in Niger have been killed, injured or abducted. This has resulted in around 150,000 Nigeriens who have been forcibly displaced within the region, adding to the over 100,000 refugees who sought refuge from Nigeria. Limited water supply and access to hygiene and sanitation facilities have led to an outbreak of hepatitis E which has affected nearly 1,700 people and killed 38 others since last April.
From 1 staff in September 2014, IAS Niger has grown to a current full-time staff of 34, 32 of whom are Nigerien. Headquarters are in the capital city Niamey in the south-west of the country, from where administrative, financial, logistical and project management support is provided to field teams. Additional support is provided from our Diffa office. In additional to these support teams we have two drilling and construction teams (water infrastructure) and community WASH teams. Partnerships with local NGOs Vision Plus (Tillaberi) and Medic Manoma (Diffa) add another 10 staff working on community WASH promotion.
WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)
In Niger, as elsewhere in the Sahel, water is life. Rurally, 48.6% of the population have access to a safe water supply, and more than 90% practice open defecation. Because of the huge needs, and the critical role of WASH in the health and development of the country, IAS has mainly focussed on this area over the last three years in projects across the humanitarian-development spectrum.
The construction of quality and sustainable water infrastructure has been our primary activity, whether through drilling boreholes, installing hand pumps or solar-pump fed water towers or rehabilitating broken-down boreholes/pumps. Community gardens have also been developed to further enhance and add value to water points. IAS seeks to implement water activities in line with Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) principles.
Hygiene and sanitation necessarily go hand in hand with the provision of clean water, and in each village where IAS works, training is provided in these areas. In line with government strategy, community-led total sanitation (CLTS) is run to encourage villagers understand the importance of sanitation and to construct their own household latrines without outside subsidy.
WASH projects have been run in 3 regions of Niger: Tillaberi, Tahoua and Diffa.
Location of WASH projects from 1/9/2014 to 1/9/2017
Over the last 3 years we are extremely grateful to have worked in partnership with Swedish, international and local financial partners, including Läkarmissionen, SIDA (Swedish International Development Agency) through SMC (Swedish Mission Council), Unicef, Samaritan’s Purse, and Stromme Foundation.
Impact of our work
Since IAS began work in the field in October 2014 we have provided around 70,000 people with access to clean water through the provision of:
- 84 boreholes drilled and equipped with hand and foot pumps
- 8 solar pumps installed and connected to water towers
- Rehabilitation/repair of 34 boreholes and pumps
These same people have also been reached through community hygiene and sanitation promotion, resulting in the construction of over 2,500 household latrines and the Open Defecation Free (ODF) certification of 21 villages.