Our Success in
Started working in Niger
Direct Beneficiaries & Program Participants
(Women & Girls)
The Situation in Niger
According to the 2020 UNDP Human Development Report, Niger is the least developed country globally. The volatile security situation, migration flows, high population growth, low literacy and education levels, coupled with climate change and natural disasters, decrease in agricultural production, and gender inequalities, are hampering the country’s long-term human development. Niger has one of the fastest-growing and youngest populations in the world. Over 58% of Nigeriens are under 18. 84% of the population lives in rural areas. The extreme poverty rate remained high at 42.9% in 2020, affecting more than 10 million people. Niger is among the world’s countries with the lowest girls’ enrolment, retention, and school completion rates. According to UNICEF, 2.5 million children and adolescents are out of school. Only 19% of girls in rural areas complete primary education, and this number drops to a worrying 8% among the poorest wealth quintile. The low female education rates directly translate to long-term gender inequality and systematic social and economic disempowerment of women.
There are a complex range of demand-side and supply-side barriers that prevent the fulfillment of girls’ rights to education:
On the demand side, harmful social beliefs, norms, and practices include: a lack of recognition of the importance of girls’ education, conservative/traditional women’s roles associated with religious believes (including the spread of jihadism); heavy burden of domestic labor on girls; high poverty levels; early marriage and teenage pregnancy. Niger has the highest child marriage prevalence rate in the world, according to UNICEF, with 76% of girls married before the age of 18 and 28% married before they turn 15. The link between education and the prevalence of child marriage is particularly evident in Niger: 81% of women aged 20-24 with no education and 63% with only primary education were married or in a union at age 18, compared to only 17% of women with secondary education or higher. In 2017, the government raised the mandatory school leaver’s age for girls to 16 – but much work remains to be done to change conservative social norms that prevent girls from accessing education and women from being socially and economically empowered. Acute poverty prevents families from paying school-related costs for girls, and insecurity puts girls at risk on their commute to school in Tillaberi, effectively preventing their attendance.
On the supply side, schools are insufficiently prepared to provide a safe and conducive environment for girls to be educated. Teachers lack training not only on basic pedagogy but also on the concept of gender-sensitive education and safe schools for girls. There is a lack of female teachers as role models for providing girl-sensitive psychosocial support and life skills education. Classrooms are overcrowded and poorly equipped, and insufficient education materials are available to create a quality learning environment.
Women are disproportionately affected by poverty in Niger; they lack vocational/professional training, entrepreneurship skills, and access to credit/loans from banks and microfinance services; and females have limited access to asset ownership. Limited mobility due to insecurity and conservative social norms makes it difficult for women to expand their social networks required to market and sell products in far-away markets. As a result, even if mothers have understood the importance of girls’ education, they lack the means to invest in their daughters’ futures. To respond to those needs, RET aims to increase girls’ access and retention in quality primary and secondary education and to promote women’s social and economic empowerment.
Promoting girls’ access and retention in quality primary and secondary education and women’s social and economic empowerment for inclusive and peaceful development in Tillabéri, Niger. (2021-2024)
Since 2021, RET Germany has been implementing a project aimed at promoting girls’ access and retention in quality primary and secondary education and women’s socio-economic empowerment for inclusive and peaceful development in the Tillabéri region, namely in 3 localities of Sakoira, Hamdallaye, and Tamou, and in 10 schools (7 primary schools and three colleges).
RET Germany is implementing the project in partnership with “Soutien aux ONG, SongES,” a local implementing partner in Niger that implements both the education component and the women’s empowerment component. The project aims to increase girls’ access and retention in quality primary and secondary education and promote women’s social and economic empowerment by (1) increasing girls’ access and retention in schools and their transition to the next school grade. (2) Sensitizing communities on the importance of girls’ education and women’s empowerment through a community-based approach involving traditional leaders in campaigns. (3) Increasing women’s income generation through participation in women’s cooperatives and reinvesting a share of their revenues in girls’ education.
The project will reach up to more than 4,800 direct beneficiaries, including 900 out-of-school children, particularly girls; 2520 primary and secondary school children with a particular focus on girls, 174 education staff, 180 school committee members, 36 traditional and religious leaders, 30 members of women’s and youth association, and 1000 women cooperative members, reaching 34,000 indirect beneficiaries in three-year implementation cycle 2021-2024.
RET will implement a holistic approach to create a conducive environment that facilitates access and retention of girls in school while integrating children into the basic education system in the targeted schools of the Tillaberi region, including:
- Setting up six accelerated learning centers equipped and provided with trained teachers with a target to enroll 900 out-of-school children, of which 720 are girls.
- Building the capacity of 174 education personnel in the “Child-Friendly Quality School,” including monthly psychosocial support for 95 education staff throughout the project.
- Promoting community participation and capacity through school committees in school management by identifying, establishing, training, and supporting community school committees of 90 members for the nine targeted schools to improve their performance in school governance with a particular focus on girls. Students’ committees will also be created, trained, and supported in school governance in target schools.
- Rehabilitating or/and constructing 20 classrooms in 9 target schools benefiting 1500 students in three years, nine blocks of hygienic, safe, accessible, and gender-separated latrines, water supply in all nine schools benefiting 6400 students and 174 teachers, fencing and greening them to benefit the entire school community, all these aiming at improving the schools.
- Providing new school furniture and/or repairs to fill the gaps based on the needs assessments, including training, and employing 18 young to repair school furniture. This includes the provision of individual study/learning kits to at least 2,080 vulnerable girls from all ethnic groups and menstrual hygiene kits to 2,390 girls, complemented by awareness-raising on sexual and reproductive health.
- Recruiting, training, and deploying 27 female teachers to support in delivering remedial lessons and exam preparation sessions for 2,025 girls.
- Setting up a mentorship system made of 54 trained women volunteer mentors while including them in women’s cooperatives for income generation.
- Establishing working income-generating activities at the nine schools.
To reduce the cultural barriers to girls’ education, RET will conduct community sensitization and awareness-raising on girls’ education and women’s empowerment, including activities such as:
- Sensitize and mobilize 36 traditional and religious leaders on the importance of girls’ education and the prevention of early marriage.
- Developing and broadcasting 300 radio messages on three local radio stations, promoting girls’ education, prevention of early marriage, gender-based violence, and women’s empowerment.
- Developing and disseminating messages on girls’ education and female empowerment via radio by 30 local youth, women’s association members, and community leaders.
- Organizing 6 girls’ days and girls’ empowerment events (including theatre, sports, music, dance, etc.). in each of the nine target schools (2 days per year), to promote the education and development of girls.
Increase in women’s Income
RET will implement a set of activities to empower women, particularly mothers and families of vulnerable out-of-school girls, to meet the objective of economic empowerment while enabling them to support their daughters’ education. RET will implement a series of activities, including:
- Creating 20 women’s cooperatives and start-up grants to be given away for income-generating activities.
- Training and Participation of 1000 women members in cooperative management, business management, and technical trade training.
- Mentoring and business follow-up to capacitate 20 women’s cooperatives to become independent after three years.
- Facilitating access to microfinance loans for 20 women’s cooperatives to develop income-generating activities and connect them with potential buyers in Tillabéri and Niamey.
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