Niger Village Life

Given that 80% of Niger is covered by desert, the vast majority of the population live in the savannah of the south, some in small cities like the capital of Niger, Niamey, but most in villages where they rely on subsistence farming as their main food source. Most of Niger's population live in poverty and their homes are small mud brick huts, over crowded and without any basic services such as electricity, sanitation or water. In fact, 64% of the country's village population lack access to safe water, with what water being available at risk of contamination due to an almost non existent sanitation system outside urban areas causing many illness particularly affecting Niger children including diarrhoea and typhoid fever.

Life for Niger village children often consists of just running round, normally dirty, in donated American clothing, rarely going to school due to an almost non existent educational infrastructure, nor having their health care needs met due to again, no health infrastructure.

80% of Niger's population is dependent on subsistence farming and around most villages are their Niger Village Lifecultivated sorghum and millet fields, which themselves are surrounded by the wild, untamed African bush. Some villagers have trucks but most journey by donkey and cart.

Many women will work all day from down to dusk pounding millet, beads of sweat breaking and running down their faces as they lift the heavy wooden clubs above their head (right), then thrashing them back down into their millet-filled mortars. Men will toil on the land and, at the end of the day, throw their dulled machetes down onto the dust, and sit brewing tea with a circle of friends.


Niger Village Life

Niger Village Life

Niger Village Life

Niger Village Life


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Niger Village Life

Niger Village Life

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The average in Niger is just 15 years old, with just under half the population being aged 0 -14 years old. Life expectancy is around 53yrs and over 10% of all children die at birth. Life in a Niger village is always fraught with danger, from droughts to floods and infectious diseases such as rabies, malaria, diarrhoea and typhoid fever.

Niger Village LifeThe country has also suffered from the shrinking of Lake Chad, one of its few above ground sources of water. Rainfall has dropped by an estimated 50% in the last 30 years, and coupled with a surge in the country's population, Niger is now gripped by a water crisis and inevitably a food crisis as crops and livestock die due to a lack of water. It is estimated that nearly half of Niger's population will be in need of food and water aid to prevent starvation, however the lack of international funds being made available means that aid agencies are forced to only meet the needs of children under the age of two, leaving potentially thousands to simply starve to death. Ironically, Niger has vast reserves of water underground with an estimated 2.5 billion cubic metres of water lying there, yet it is poorly exploited not least because of the country's poverty and lack of business and engineering acumen.

Most rural communities gain their water through wells, sunk deep into the ground (above, right), however these are few and far between meaning mainly women and children have to spend hours everyday walking to the wells, drawing up the water by buckets as few of the wells have pumps, then walk back home, carrying the water in what is one of the hottest countries in the world.


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