Staff (U.S. and Niger)

Bess Palmisciano

Founder and Executive Director

Bess Palmisciano went from West African tourist to partner when she founded RAIN in 2001.  Previously an attorney, Bess has spent the last 15 years  dividing her time between Niger and the Seacoast area of New Hampshire. She is a member of the NH Advisory Board of the National Global Leadership Coalition and was named by New Hampshire Magazine as one of the state's "Remarkable Women of the World" for 2011.


Brian Nowak

Niger Program Director

Brian obtained a B.A in Anthropology from and an M.A in Education. Brian's strong passion for Niger was first kindled as a BU exchange student. He is a certified elementary school teacher with five years of teaching experience in NYC public schools. Brian lives in an adobe, solar-powered house on the outskirts of Niamey. He taught at the American International School in Niamey and Study Abroad Program in Niger, and has consulted for Red Cross and Red Crescent, IRD, Plan Niger, and OXFAM. He has conducted research on urban street children, folk music, spirit possession, and pastoral communities. 

Gaston Kaba

RAIN Representative

Gaston has served as the Director of the Health Program with the Peace Corps, for which he has also been commissioned as a Language Instructor and Training Director. From 2001 to 2008 he implemented more than 60 development and humanitarian projects in the Sub Sahara region.  He has served as the Special Assistant to the Director of USAID/Niger in Policy and Programming; he has also served as Secretary General for the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Technology in Niamey, Niger.  He speaks English, French and Hausa. He's married with three children. 

 Salifu Kountche

Naimey Office Manager









 Mohamed Djingo

 Niger Representative / Operations and Evaluations Manager 

A double graduate of Suffolk University, Mohamed obtained a B.A in Political Science and an M.A in Public Administration with Nonprofit management concentration. While at Suffolk, he served as President of African Students Association, Student Government Senator and Representative of the International Students in the President Committee on Diversity Affairs. He co-founded the African Students in Massachusetts and served as Vice-President from 2012 to 2015.

 Prior joining RAIN, Mohamed worked was a legislative aide at the Massachusetts Senate and curriculum writer for Bridge International Academies (the world’s largest education innovation company serving the 700 million families who live on less than $2 USD per day).


Djibrilla Mahamane & Akhoud Mawala

Field Agents

A native Nigerien Tuareg who resides in Ingui, Akhmoud has worked for RAIN as a master teacher in the RAIN adult bilingual literacy program and presently works as an on-site field agent with our partner communities.

Alhassane Aboubacar

Agadez Learning Center

About RAIN

“Sahel” comes from the Arabic word meaning shore -- the coast between the sands of the vast Sahara desert and the wetter savannah lands to its south.
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