Who We Are & What We Stand For


RAIN works in partnership with underserved rural and nomadic peoples of Niger to increase educational opportunities and improve livelihoods for more resilient communities.


Nigerien communities that have the resources and opportunities to determine their own future.


RAIN operates under mutual respect—the giving and sharing of knowledge, skills, and resources among our staff, partner communities, and stakeholders in Niger. We strive for diversity, equity, and inclusion in all our work, and rely on partnership and collaboration to build local ownership. Accountability is paramount at all levels of the organization. RAIN pursues the universally accepted values of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


RAIN founder, Bess Palmisciano, first visited the Sahara desert of Niger in 2000. She was mystified and intrigued by the ability of the nomadic peoples to survive in such a barren landscape. Bess asked her guide, Moussa Haidara, to spend some time near a nomadic encampment. Bess listened to nomadic parents express their desire for education for their children, but without teachers, supplies, or food, they were at a loss. Back home in New Hampshire, Bess raised a modest amount of money to install the first drip irrigated garden in northern Niger — thereby helping a nomadic school provide food for its students. RAIN was founded in December 2001. 

Since 2001, working with partners, RAIN has installed 27 wells, established over 20 cooperative gardens that support local schools and communities, and worked with thousands of women and children to ensure a brighter future.