LWR began working in Niger in 1975 to address severe drought-related famine, and continues to partner with rural communities to address the root causes of poverty and lay the groundwork for greater food and nutritional security . LWR works to break the vicious cycle of poverty by improving local agricultural production and investing in sustainable land use. In times of emergency, LWR and its partners use cash-for-work approaches in which farmers earn immediate income to feed their families, while at the same time rehabilitating community assets in order to build future resiliency. LWR works in the Tahoua and Dosso regions of Niger – areas affected by recurring food crises.
Value Chains and Climate Smart Agriculture
LWR impacts the lives of thousands of rural farm families in Niger by improving their participation in agricultural value chains and strengthening their livelihood base. LWR works with partners to improve small-holder farmers’ cultivation, processing and marketing capacity . LWR strengthens the capacity of agricultural cooperatives and unions that serve these farmers with training in governance and financial management, facilitating joint negotiation of credit and other services, and strengthening cooperative sales and marketing.
LWR uses a climate smart agriculture approach in Niger to promote the introduction of environmentally sound practices with improved cultivation practices and crop varieties. LWR brings farmers’ organizations together with agricultural research and service organizations for the development of local and sustainable solutions to improved production, through the development and dissemination of higher-yield and drought-tolerant millet and legumes. LWR organizes and supports local farmers in the cultivation of certified seed through the provision of on-farm technical assistance and training in quality control. To increase the distribution of and demand for improved varieties, LWR facilitates the organization and official registry of certified seed grower associations, the construction of storage and distribution warehouses, and investment in post-harvest quality control training and equipment.
LWR addresses producers’ need for credit to increase and sustain agricultural production, by linking farmer organizations with credit and other financial service providers, using its innovative Tripartite Rural Financing Model wherein initial loan guarantees and technical assistance allow farmers and their organizations to build a relationship of mutual trust and success with credit providers.
LWR also promotes animal husbandry as an important means to bolster the productive capacity of rural families in Niger. With a focus on women – often the most vulnerable of the population in times of crisis – LWR provides breeder goats and training in their reproduction and care.
Building Resilience through Conservation
In Niger, LWR reduces marginalized rural populations’ vulnerability to ongoing environmental degradation and the effects of global climate change through long-term, sustainable development and emergency projects that meet immediate needs while building resilient communities . LWR’s programs emphasize environmental rehabilitation through the implementation of soil and water conservation works and watershed management, as well as tree seedling production for community-led reforestation initiatives. Participants rehabilitate pasture and assist in the rehabilitation and construction of dams and the expansion of water points available for agro-pastoralist use. Community members are organized and trained to ensure sustainable community management of natural resources.
From Relief to Recovery
LWR’s established experience and strong relationships with communities in Niger place it in a privileged position to respond quickly and effectively to emergency situations. LWR collaborates with international agencies and donors such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to quickly respond to drought and food crisis in Niger through the emergency distribution of seeds and agricultural supplies to reestablish agricultural production and offset critical food shortages. LWR also provides household and community asset-building assistance to affected populations through cash-for-work initiatives focused on environmental rehabilitation.
LWR’s emergency operations initiatives adhere to the Sphere Project Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Emergency Response. LWR is also an associate member of the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP), whose mission is to make humanitarian action accountable to its intended beneficiaries.LWR operates with the belief that those affected by an emergency have a right to life with dignity and that all possible steps should be taken to alleviate their suffering.
LWR’s Material Resource Program is another important element of our emergency operations capacity; in coordination with local partners, LWR provides families in Niger with Quilts, School Kits, Personal Care Kits, Baby Care Kits, Fabric Kits and more. These non-food items are donated by U.S. Lutheran supporters to assist people with meeting basic humanitarian needs.