Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, with over 9.5 million people affected by extreme poverty. The Realigning Agriculture to Nutrition (RAIN) Programme is a four-year partnership between Kerry Group and Concern Worldwide which aims to improve the livelihoods of some of the most vulnerable households in Tahoua, a region in the south of Niger, with strategies that mitigate the impact of climate change and provide increased food security to the community living there.
RAIN supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger. The programme’s core objective is to increase food production and encourage a more diverse, nutrient rich diet. In 2020, the programme contributed to a 40% increase in yields of millet amongst participating farmers, year-over-year, and an additional 700 kilos of bio-fortified millet supplied to the local nutritional flour factory. In total, over 20,000 kilos of fresh vegetables were produced for the community’s own consumption and commercialisation.
In addition, the programme resulted in the nurture of over 15,000 trees in 2020, including mango and guava. Programme-supported sack gardens continue to provide nutrient rich diets to families year round, which is especially helpful during the harsh summer months.
The RAIN Programme aims to develop farming practices that are appropriate for the arid climate of West Africa, which is difficult for growing food, and to provide the community with training and tools. It also promotes key health practices for improved maternal and child nutrition. For example, last year the project conducted 59 community awareness sessions and cooking demonstrations and promoted the use of fortified flour to tackle infant malnutrition.
By addressing the broader factors contributing to hunger and malnutrition, the programme is making a positive, long-term impact on communities.