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.
The 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
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.