About four-fifths the size of Alaska, Niger sits in West Africa’s Sahara region. Niger’s climate is mostly hot, dry, and dusty, with sand dunes in the north and the desert plains in the south. The Niger River basin in the south has fertile grassland with a tropical climate.

  • Population: 17,157,000
  • Life Expectancy: 58 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 50%
  • School Enrollment: 64%
  • Land Mass: 489,191 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 29%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 114/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 370

Facts about Niger

Economic Development

Niger is one of the most impoverished countries in the world. In 2009, it ranked last of 182 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index, which measures the general well-being of a population.


Niger has a fertility rate of 7.1 children per woman within child-bearing age, which ranks the country among those with the highest fertility rate in the world. Unfortunately, it has only one qualified midwife for every 4,418 women at childbearing age.


Niger has an insufficient number of medical staff. It has one doctor for every 43,564 inhabitants, one pharmacist for 769,230 inhabitants, one dental surgeon for 769,230 inhabitants, and one qualified nurse for 5,203 inhabitants.

Child Protection

According to UNICEF, Niger has the highest rate of child marriage.

Food & Agriculture

Though the rate of school enrollment is increasing, the completion rate is still around just 50 percent.

Food & Agriculture

Around 40 percent of children under 5 in Niger are underweight.

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Progress in Niger

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2014.

  • Demonstrating Christ’s love through our actions, we worked among the children and families of the community to promote peace and justice and encourage understanding.

  • We promoted student participation in school management and community decision-making by establishing and training student governments.

  • Women were trained in entrepreneurial activities such as making and selling agricultural products to diversify and increase their incomes.

  • To increase household incomes, we helped community members (primarily women) establish savings groups, providing them with access to interest-earning savings accounts and small, affordable business loans.

  • Awareness campaigns were held to promote the value of education and encourage parents to register their children for school and ensure that they attend.

  • Teachers who previously didn't have basic training attended professional development courses to improve their skills in teaching children how to read.

  • We strengthened the capacity of school management committees to effectively manage schools and ensure that girls and children with disabilities have the opportunity to go to school.

  • Cereal bank committees were trained in proper management of grain stocks to improve food security. Community cereal banks store bags of grain year-round so families have more reliable access to affordable food, especially during times of drought.

  • Farmers were trained in improved farming methods to increase production and availability of nutritious food for children.

  • Children younger than 5 received immunizations through vaccination campaigns supported by World Vision, helping protect them from disease.

  • We collaborated with the Ministry of Health, community health workers, and partner organizations to rehabilitate thousands of malnourished children.

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    World Vision in Niger Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Niger to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 8,700 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Niger. Highlights include:

    • Supporting 631 schools with learning materials such as books, desks, and pens.
    • Providing communities with methods of water treatment to improve access to clean water.
    • Making medical services accessible to mothers and children in the most rural areas.
    • Helping families produce food through gardening under small-scale irrigation.

    World Vision History in Niger

    World Vision’s work in Niger began with drought relief efforts in August 1973. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments have included:

    • Providing sponsorship to thousands of children since the late 1990s.
    • Building a multi-functional health center for families in northern Niger in 2002.
    • Improving Nigeriens’ health by raising awareness about HIV and AIDS and providing many villages with access to clean water since 2004.
    • Distributing 350 tons of cereal and seed stock after the 2005 locust infestation.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    About four-fifths the size of Alaska, Niger sits in West Africa’s Sahara region. Niger’s climate is mostly hot, dry, and dusty, with sand dunes in the north and the desert plains in the south. The Niger River basin in the south has fertile grassland with a tropical climate.

    Natural resources include coal, iron ore, tin, phosphates, gold, gypsum, salt, and petroleum. Niger is the world’s sixth-largest producer of uranium.

    The two largest ethnic groups in Niger — the Hausa and the Djerma-Sonnghai — make up more than 75 percent of the population. While French is Niger’s official language, Nigeriens use several other native languages.

    The majority of Niger’s labor force works in agriculture by growing peas, cotton, peanuts, rice, and other crops.

    Families are important in the Nigerien culture. Children are expected to respect their parents as well as obey older people.


    Niger fell under French influence in 1896 and was colonized in 1922. In 1960, Nigeriens proclaimed independence from France and established a republic.

    During the 1970s, the country enjoyed rapid economic growth, mostly from its uranium production. Niger’s brief period of prosperity ended, however, when uranium prices fell a decade later. The drought of 1968-1975 devastated the country, leaving an estimated 2 million starving people.

    Since then, Niger has experienced political and tribal unrest, a severe famine, and a locust infestation in 2005. The northern Tuareg rebels, feeling marginalized by the faraway southern government, formed the Niger Movement for Justice and attacked several government facilities in the Sahara region in 2007.

    In September 2009, heavy rainfall in Niger flooded thousands of homes and hundreds of acres of cropland, affecting more than 79,000 people. Nigeriens faced one of the worst food shortages in years in 2010, with over 1.5 million children suffering from malnutrition.

    Prayer Requests for Niger

    • Please pray for families who are struggling to grow enough food in Niger’s harsh, drought-prone climate.
    • Pray also for children, especially girls, to have the opportunity to attend school.