Help Save Children in Niger

Niger, officially the Republic is Niger, is a vast, landlocked country on the edge of the Sahara desert. Following its independence from France in 1960, Niger fell victim to a series of military coups and political instability.

Today, Niger is one of the world’s least developed countries. Its largely subsistence farming-based economy is frequently disrupted by extended droughts, leading to severe food and water shortages. Nearly half the population lives in extreme poverty, with many families unable to provide for their children’s basic needs. 

Niger is a country where childhood is severely threatened.

Challenges for Children in Niger

By every measure – from high child mortality, severe malnutrition and lack of education, to child labor, child marriage and motherhood, violence and poverty – children in Niger are facing challenges no child should. Niger’s children need your help.

  • 1 child in 12 dies before their 5th birthday, 12 times the U.S. rate
  • 49% of children suffer from stunting due to malnutrition
  • 52% of children are out of school, with 34% engaged in child labor, instead of learning
  • 64% of girls (ages 15-19) are married, and 1 in 5 gives birth – and 89% of girls (ages 15+) struggle to read and write
  • 7 children in every 1,000 are murdered
  • 45% of people live in poverty
Map of Niger

Our Results for Children in Niger

Thanks to supporters like you, one of the world’s poorest countries has managed to make significant progress for children since 2000, cutting child deaths, making important breakthroughs in education, and committing to end child marriage. Together, we reached over 3,632,000 children in Niger last year.
Eleven-year-old Zeinabou (center) smiles and plays with her girlfriends – all in colorful outfits.

Eleven-year-old Zeinabou (center) plays games with her fellow schoolmates in Niger, where more girls are getting a quality education, thanks to donor-supported Save the Children programs. 

  • 3,111,000 children healthy and nourished
  • 192,000 children educated and empowered
  • 93,000 children protected from harm
  • 102,000 children lifted from poverty
  • 852,000 children aided in crisis

Our Results for Children in Niger

Save the Children has been a leading charity for children in Niger since the food crisis of 2005, and offering child sponsorship since 2016. We were there for children and families in need in 2017, when a combination of drought, economic shocks and conflict converged to erupt into a severe, multi-dimensional hunger crisis across multiple countries, including Niger, with many desperate people ending up in food insecure refugee settlements in Niger.

As well as emergency response, we run long-term programs to support health and nutrition, food security and livelihoods, education and protection for children in greatest need.

Working closely with local communities, we design programs to help vulnerable children from early childhood to early adulthood — giving them a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm along the way.

Here are some recent examples of our work:

A healthy start in life

  • We’re helping ensure babies are delivered safely, and that children receive lifesaving immunizations to protect them from killer diseases
  • We're also working with communities to improve health, hygiene and sanitation
  • We’re leading the USAID-funded Kulawa (meaning “care” in the Hausa language) project (2020-2025) to support the government in improving health, family planning and nutrition results, reaching 1.4 million women of reproductive age, 1.1 million children under 5 years old, and 2.6 million youth ages 15-35 – as a part of USAID’s Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE) project, which supports vulnerable communities to effectively prepare for and manage recurrent crises and pursue sustainable pathways out of poverty
  • Along with partners, we’re implementing a multi-year USAID-funded project called Development Food Security Activities in several countries including Niger, supporting interventions that address undernutrition and chronic food insecurity through targeted food assistance and/or cash and other interventions that include the promotion of optimal infant and young child care feeding and care practices, healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies, and improvements in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)
  • Through our USAID-funded SPRING (Strengthening Partnerships, Results and Innovations in Nutrition Globally) project (2011-2018), we helped develop crucial global tools and guidance on how to better collaborate across sectors and design, implement and monitor nutrition-sensitive agriculture activities to improve nutrition outcomes, with successful results in Niger and other countries – we continued to support this partnership through the 2019 follow-on USAID Advancing Nutrition project
  • We used several strategies to change gender norms – including women’s savings and loan groups and small business enterprises, support for small ruminants and improved animal husbandry, identifying local community champions, and engaging men in husbands’ schools to promote inter-couple dialogue in support of maternal and child health and nutrition – through the integrated food security and nutrition LAHIA project in Niger (2012-2018)
  • Emergency evidence highlights the importance of WASH in relation to improved nutrition, as demonstrated through our signature Clean Household Approach, in which we use effective behavior change, marketing and policy strategies to promote household behaviors that reduce the risk of childhood illness
  • We’re involving traditional and religious leaders as important stakeholders in social and behavior change approaches – for example, in our LAHIA project, faith leaders supported our WASH programs

The opportunity to learn

  • Our early childhood programs help prepare toddlers and young children for school by giving them access to quality preschools and early literacy programs
  • Our programs designed for primary school-aged kids work to transform students into lifelong learners by building strong curriculums and passionate teachers
  • Our work with adolescents focuses on that challenging transition between childhood and adulthood, helping ensure it’s a positive one by teaching them money, job and relationship skills
  • We also provide health education and care to children in need through our school health programs to help children stay healthy, well-nourished and in school
  • Through sponsorship, children in our early learning programs make great intellectual and social gains later in life, compared to children without access to similar programs, so we support quality preschools, early literacy and parent training to ensure a healthy and positive foundation that prepares children for success
  • We’re adapting our gender-transformative Choices program for young adolescents, including developing a club activity guide
  • We’re identifying children with disabilities who could potentially attend school with accommodations
  • We’re focusing on improving the quality and safety of children’s education experience through Literacy Boost activities, including teacher training and reading clubs; establishing and supporting high quality accelerated/alternative education options for children and young adolescents, called “bridging schools”; and developing a highly contextualized model for safe schools in areas of conflict, called Schools Zones of Peace
  • We’re working to improve education with a focus on teacher training, literacy, numeracy and community engagement, with special attention on girls, in addition to renovating schools, providing essential supplies and promoting child-friendly policies
  • Our livelihoods programs are helping families become more resilient in the face of seasonal stresses and economic shocks – as well as distributing livestock, seeds and fertilizers, we use cash transfers to boost local economies and avert food crises
  • Through our Household Economy approach, we're learning more about what foods families buy and where shortages are likely, and working with the government and nonprofit partners to improve early warning systems

Protection from harm

  • We successfully used community approaches to address gender norms, notably with adolescents, to promote male engagement through our Model Husband School approach

Emergency response

  • Our infant and young child feeding toolkit and programs are focusing on ensuring parents have the knowledge they need to breastfeed/feed their children under age 2, even in emergencies

How You Can Help Children in Niger

You can create change that lasts a lifetime for children in Niger – in so many ways

Support Save the Children’s mission. Donate to help children in Niger and around the world grow up healthy, educated and safe.

Sponsor a Child in Niger
Be the hero in the life of a Nigerien child. Sponsorship drives lasting change in children’s lives, families and communities.

Shop Gift Catalog
Give a meaningful gift that will help transform children’s lives and futures in Niger and beyond. There’s something for everyone!

Sources: Facts and statistics have been sourced from Save the Children’s monitoring and evaluation experts, as well as our thought leadership publications, including our Global Childhood Report 2020 and Stop the War on Children 2020 report. Other sources include CIA World Factbook and BBC Country Profiles.


Photo: Victoria Zegler / Save the Children.


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