BENEFITING: RAIN FOR THE SAHEL AND SAHARA INC
Women are key players in food security. Acute malnutrition in Niger is estimated at 13% -- a World Health Organization emergency level. Many rural nomadic men must travel to neighboring countries, referred to as exod, to find work - leaving women to provide and take care of their families. With RAIN's help, a situation of vulnerability is transformed into empowerment. A group of women come together to manage 1,000 to 5,000 sq. feet of crops. In these desert regions, where herding dominates and agricultural knowledge is scarce, training in organic techniques, drip irrigation, seed and crop strategies, pest control and nutrition ensures maximum benefit.
Members plan budgets and crops, hire a gardener, and take turns monitoring the garden. Fresh produce provides critical supplementation to the nomadic staple diet of milk and millet. Drip irrigation means more water available for drinking and cooking. From produce to profit. Harvest time brings another opportunity to earn desperately needed income to pay for medicine, tuition or emergency food supplies. Subsitance crops are transformed with the addition of cash crops to sell at local markets. Women also make sauces and other value-added staples for sale. Knowledge is shared and everyone works together towards mutual benefit. A food secure and self-sufficient community is the end goal.