Niger: A gardening revolution
At Save the Children, we’re always searching for new and innovative ways of supporting vulnerable families, but Niger is a particularly challenging environment.
As the second poorest country in the world, two-thirds of the land is the Sahel Desert and thousands of migrants are pouring back into the country from Libya and Ivory Coast.
Against this backdrop it may seem strange that our teams decided to start a gardening project. But that is exactly what we did.
Gardening for life
We know that training and empowering women will make all the difference to children. So we started a new project training women in small-scale gardening to produce fruits and vegetables, and we gave them the right tools for the job.
Next, we cordoned off gardening plots on land next to one of our health centres. Women often spend months at the clinics while their children are treated, so we decided that this was the easiest and most convenient spot for women to produce food for their family, whilst keeping a close eye on their children.
These gardens soon started to produce vegetables, fruits and potatoes. For families that usually survive on a few meals of maize a day, this is truly life-changing.
Resilient to crisis
We’ve already seen the impact of such an innovative scheme – the diet of children and their families have drastically improved and the number of malnourished children has been reduced.
As Tassal Agouzum, one of the women who benefited from the scheme explained, “not only do we consume what we produce but also we are able to earn a little income. We are very thankful to Save the Children.”
This resilience will prove crucial as the food crisis intensifies over the coming weeks and months. We’re now rapidly scaling up our work to cope with the increasing need for food but we know these early responses are the best at keeping children alive and safe, before it’s too late.
Help us support more vulnerable families and children in Niger