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Volunteers prepare food for children in Niger


Mary’s Meals feeds more than 200 children every school day in Niger

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Where we work

Life in Niger

Niger is currently ranked 189 out of 191 countries and territories in the Human Development Index (HDI) and is one of the poorest and most vulnerable countries in the world. An estimated 17.5 million people do not have enough food to eat and nearly half of all children (48.5%) under five suffer from chronic malnutrition. The World Bank estimates 50.63% of the population of Niger lives below the International Poverty Line ($2.15 USD per day).

One of the largest land-locked territories in West Africa, the country takes its name from the Niger river. Over 80% of its land is located in the Sahara Desert, making it one of the world’s hottest nations.

Niger’s economy is based on subsistence agriculture and the export of raw commodities. The country’s main exports include oilseeds, mineral fuels and chemicals. Niger’s short rainy season and its fast growing population are just some of the factors driving food insecurity.

In Niger, an estimated 1.8 million children are out of school. Desperate children can resort to stealing food and are sent to overcrowded remand centres where they spend long periods awaiting trial. Many of these children have never even set foot in a classroom.

Our programme is delivered through our partner, Grandir Dignement, and supports extremely vulnerable children in detention centres. Very few of them have been convicted of any crime and many are still awaiting trial for minor offences, like the theft of food. Most of the children – aged between 13 and 18 – have either dropped out of school or have never set foot inside a classroom.

Mary's Meals in Niger

Mary’s Meals has been serving school meals in Niger since 2020.

Working with a trusted partner, Grandir Dignement, we serve much-needed meals to more than 200 children in five youth remand centres in Niger. There is no stable provision of food in the centres and Mary’s Meals is a lifeline. The meals are served to children taking part in prison education programmes, offering them vital nourishment and a chance to learn.

When did we start working in Niger?

Mary’s Meals has been serving school meals to vulnerable children in youth detention centres in Niger since 2020.

How many children do we reach in Niger?

We are currently serving more than 200 children in five youth remand centres.

What meal do we provide?

A typical meal consists of rice and vegetables with beans or meat.

Where are we based/where do we operate?

Our meals are served in five detention centres: one in the capital city, Niamey, one in Dosso and in three centres in central southern Niger (in the towns of Maradi, Zinder and Tahoua).

What is the capital of Niger?

The capital city of Niger is Niamey.

What language(s) is spoken in Niger?

French is the official language of Niger but Hausa is the most spoken.

What currency is used in Niger?

The West African CFA franc (XOF).

What is the population of Niger?

The population of Niger is 26,696,000.