Niger, with its 17,000,000 people sandwiched between Nigeria, Libya, Mali, and Chad in the heart of the Sahara Desert is the poorest countries in the world. Plagued by endemic poverty, rampant desertification, high birth/mortality rates, a lack of economic opportunity, and threats from extremist groups like Boko Haram, ISIS, al Qaeda, and others, the UN ranks Niger last in its annual Human Development Index rankings.
US Army teams are working to stabilize the most vulnerable regions of the country, striving to provide enough breathing space from Niger’s significant challenges for progress to take root and thrive. In the northwest region of Agadez, teams have focused on the issues local tribes identify as most important: 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, that can have disastrous consequences (as in the case of Mali in 2012).
Spirit of America is committed to addressing these issues by providing support centered on an annual livestock festival that brings tribes together from across the region. Since 2014, Spirit of America, in partnership with the Government of Niger and the US military, has provided:
Twenty scholarships for local youth to attend the national veterinary school giving them the skills they need to take care of their tribes’ livestock and to build an economic future for themselves, their families, and their tribes.
Funding for additional veterinarians – including the scholarship recipients – to participate in the annual vaccination campaign as well as improved transportation resources to reach far-flung herds and populations. This has greatly increased the number of animals treated each year since 2014, improving herd health, livelihoods, and food security across the region and country.
With your help, SoA can continue to support the US military and the Government of Niger in the Agadez region, a critical effort in a region critical in the struggle against extremism and the root causes of instability in Niger and West Africa.
Hello, I just returned from supporting the annual Cure Salée Festival and associated livestock vaccination campaign in central Niger. This is the third year Spirit of America has worked with US Army teams to support the Government of Niger’s Cure Salée-related efforts. We first told you about these efforts here. This year, Spirit of America … Continued
This is the third year Spirit of America has worked with US Army teams to support the Government of Niger’s efforts at the Cure and the associated livestock vaccination campaign. This year, Spirit of America employed graduates of the veterinary scholarship program we’ve funded over the past two years to vaccinate the herds and publicize … Continued
Greetings, I recently had the opportunity to sit down and chat with some of the Spirit of America scholarship recipients that recently graduated from Community Veterinary Tech program in Maradi, Niger. Working with Nigerien counterparts in the central Agadez region of Niger, a U.S. Army team identified youth unemployment and a lack of financial opportunities … Continued
The recipients of veterinary training scholarships provided by Spirit of America in response to local needs identified by a U.S. Army Civil Affairs Team in Niger recently completed their training at the national veterinary school in the city of Maradi. We first told you about this project here and here. These scholarships were provided as … Continued
Greetings, I recently returned from ten days in Niger, the culmination of a project Spirit of America has been working on since the beginning of the year. Niger, just to the north of Nigeria, with Mali to its west, Chad to its east, and northern borders with Libya and Algeria, is by many measures one … Continued