Niger is a low-income, food-deficit country, ranking last of 188 countries on the United Nations’ 2015 Human Development Index. Three-quarters of the population lives in severe poverty, and communities depend heavily for survival on rain-fed crops and livestock. This leaves the people highly vulnerable to crisis. Nearly half of children are moderately or severely stunted in growth, and 1 in 10 will die before age 5. Water and sanitation are an ongoing concern: Only a little more than half of the population has access to a good water source, and only 1 in 10 people have access to an adequate bathroom.
Education levels are also very low. The average woman has attended school for less than one year, and the average man for about two years. And rather than focusing on school, nearly half of children work to earn an income.
Islamic Relief began working in Niger in 2005. The official Islamic Relief Niger office was established several years thereafter. Recent work has included water projects, including several solar-powered systems.