Niger Create opportunity through education: a long term approach to stability in West Africa

Spirit of America and Army teams give vulnerable Nigeriens a chance for a better life

$0 $23,362

No endorsement of Spirit of America by the US Department of Defense, Department of State, or its personnel is intended or implied.



In the West African country of Niger, groups like the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), al Qaeda, and Boko Haram seek to exploit vulnerable people in order to continue to radicalize, recruit, and carry out attacks across the region and beyond. This extremist threat was highlighted during the tragic October 2017 ambush of US Special Operations Forces and their Niger military counterparts near the Niger-Mali border which killed four Americans and 5 Nigeriens.

The US Army, State Department, and US Agency for International Development (USAID) are working to stabilize the most vulnerable regions of the country, striving to provide opportunities for progress to take root and thrive. In the northwest region of Agadez, host to a US airbase aimed at countering terrorism in the region, US teams have focused on issues local tribes identified as most important: economic opportunity, human and animal food security, youth unemployment, and marginalization from the Nigerien government. Without assistance in addressing these challenges, tribal elders warned that tensions and unrest were building. In the under-governed spaces of West Africa, this can have disastrous consequences.

SoA Field Rep, Chris, meets with SoA supported graduates during a recent visit to the town of Ingall in Niger's Agadez Region
SoA Deputy Field Ops Director Chris VanJohnson meets with SoA-supported graduates during a visit to the town of Ingall in Niger’s Agadez Region

To help address these challenges and to continue Spirit of America’s longest running initiative in West Africa; we will again support US efforts to bolster a Government of Niger vaccination campaign timed to coincide with the Cure Salée festival. The festival is held annually around the small town of Ingall in northeast Niger and brings together nomadic herders from the Tuareg, Peul, and Fulani ethnic groups. Each group brings their own celebrations; ranging from camel races, music, and food to artisan crafts and traditional dress. The Cure Salée provides Spirit of America and US forces and diplomats a unique opportunity to interact with indigenous tribes that are normally dispersed over an area larger than the state of Texas.

This year, Spirit of America, in partnership with a US Army team and the Government of Niger, plans to provide training to livestock health workers prior to the start of the vaccination campaign and funding for additional vaccinators. This will allow for thousands of additional animals can be treated. For the Fulani and Tuareg nomads, whose herds represent their life’s work and savings, this is a huge boon. Healthier animals provide more meat and milk for household meals and fetch a higher price at market.

With your support, Spirit of America can ensure that US efforts are as successful as possible and that the Government of Niger equipped to serve their people and improve the everyday lives of the nomadic vulnerable tribes in the Sahel, contributing to regional security, the overall US mission, and the safety of our troops.

Annually, the Cure Salée provides a unique opportunity for nomadic Fulani and Tuareg herders from across the Sahel to gather in Niger’s Agadez region.
A young boy drives his family’s cattle toward a vaccination site on the edge of the Sahara Desert.
Young Tuareg and Fulani boys race their camels during the Cure Salée Festival in Ingall, Niger
A young herder and a SoA-supported veterinarian vaccinate a herd of goats with hundreds of animals waiting their turn in the background.
Herders, along with thousands of goats, cows, sheep, and camels, gather at a large watering hole in central Niger. Gatherings like this one pose an invaluable opportunity to vaccinate herds and engage a usually disparate and vulnerable population.

100% of your gift will be used to purchase what is needed for this project. Donations in excess of the project's needs will be offered a refund.




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