Below is background information for the project I will be reporting in Niger. This was originally compiled for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and will be posted on their blog as well.
Recent U.N. reports estimate that more than 7 million people in Niger, a country of almost 16 million in West Africa, do not have enough food to survive until the fall harvest.
Niger is no stranger to famine; a 2005 drought and food crisis threatened a quarter of the population, a problem which was enhanced by the former government’s unwillingness to discuss the problem.
Several nonprofits, including World Vision, Serving in Mission, Tearfund and the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee are working with farmers in Niger to institute sustainable farming practices.
The key questions are: What are these and other non-governmental organizations doing to help Nigeriens survive the current crisis? And, more importantly, how are these groups working to ensure the current food crisis becomes, and stays, a thing of the past?
Ruth Moon reports from the field in Niger, visiting Niamey and other sites in the country and interviewing aid workers and local residents to shed light on the crisis and future of the country.
Ruth Moon is a reporter currently getting a master’s degree in political science, with an emphasis in political communication, at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.
Moon graduated from Wheaton College (Ill.) with a degree in English literature. While at Wheaton, she served as photographer, photo editor, managing editor and editor in chief of weekly student newspaper The Wheaton Record.
Moon has received awards from the Illinois College Press Association for reporting and photography and has written and produced multimedia for the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Naperville Sun and sister publications, the Vail Daily and Christianity Today. You can see her work online here.
Facts about Niger
CIA Factbook: Niger country overview
BBC timeline of Niger’s 2005 food crisis; the 2010 crisis has already surpassed that of 2005, according to Reuters.
SIM is involved in agriculture-related development projects in Niger.
World Vision is helping Nigerien farmers learn resource management and farming techniques.
Tearfund is partnering with Nigeriens on food security, well and rainwater projects.
The World Food Programme is providing food assistance in Niger.
Agence France-Presse: 10 million fear worst as Sahel faces new food crisis
U.N. Dispatch: Hunger in Niger
U.N. Integrated Regional Information Networks: NIGER: Thirsty as well as hungry
The Guardian: Military junta seizes power in Niger coup