Niger is a low-income, food-deficit country, ranking last of 187 countries on the United Nations’ 2014 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. An estimated 2.5 million people are food-insecure even during normal times, and this number rises dramatically during droughts or other stresses.
Nearly half of children are moderately or severely stunted in growth, and 1 in 10 will die before age 5.
Education levels are extremely 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.