A Note from RAIN’s Executive Director re: An Update on RAIN’s Response to the Security Situation in Niger

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Thank you to all who reached out to us with compassion and understanding after last week’s security update (if you missed it, you can read it here). In these uncertain times, when we’re all weighing concerns about our own safety and that of our communities, your continued support is even more meaningful.

RAIN has a history of adapting and continuing to serve our partner communities during challenging periods. During the National Justice Movement Rebellion in 2008, most organizations shuttered local operations in the Air Massif (Air Mountains). We, however, persevered to provide critical services and assistance. Standing with our partner communities in their periods of greatest need has earned RAIN a reputation that we “always come back.” In a region where many organizations deliver one-off projects, the communities we serve view us as partners.

RAIN staff in Niger have worked closely with US leadership to determine next steps to respond to the shifting security situation. Unfortunately, we have determined that in the interest of staff and community safety, we are obliged to suspend all programming in the Tillaberry region until further notice. This was not an easy decision but we believe this is the best way for RAIN to continue its mission.

As such, we will be redirecting funds and resources from the Tillaberry region to expand programs in pre-existing and new partner communities in the Agadez region. We believe the Agadez region, quite a distance from the affected Tillaberry communities, is secure at this time. We look forward to concentrating resources on this region to meet the needs of underserved communities. We are also conducting preliminary outreach in additional regions of Niger, should Agadez also come to face security issues. To that end: 

  • We have identified two new middle schools – in Iferouane and Dabaga – where we will implement RAIN’s hallmark Mentoring Program including supplementary classes and room and board for the highest-risk students. Expansion of RAIN’s elementary school Mentoring Program, Sustainable Agriculture Program, and Women’s Entrepreneurship Program will be built up in communities surrounding these two new schools as well as our existing partner middle school in Aouderas.
  • RAIN’s Director of Programs, Boube Aw and his team have worked tirelessly to collect data on communities that could be good RAIN partners. He will lead a field team in the next two months to the 3 districts where those communities are found to collect further data, meet with community leadership, and assess which are best aligned with RAIN’s partnership criteria.
  • We will select new partner communities by the end of April and in May begin establishing the relationships needed for our programs to be successful. We anticipate launching programming across these new partner communities in September 2020.

We will continue to monitor the security situation. We are dedicated to continuing our programs in Tillaberry as soon as we can assure the safety of our colleagues and partners. We are also monitoring the Covid 19 situation in Niger. While no cases have been identified as of yet, neighboring Algeria and Nigeria have cases. 

I reiterate our team’s commitment to RAIN’s mission and to stewarding our resources effectively to support education and opportunity in our partner communities. We remain confident in our ability to do so and we are deeply grateful for your continued support – our partners in Niger need that continuity now more than ever.

Our team will be in touch as there are updates to share. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me directly at 603-371-0676 or katherine@rain4sahara.org.

With gratitude for your continued support,
Katherine Kolios
Executive Director of Rain for the Sahel and Sahara