Stories from change-makers in Niger

Rachida Mariatou Ousseina
Activist Fighting For Girls Rights
Beating the odds is nothing new for Rachida.
She’s studying to be a lawyer, a rare feat for a woman in Niger. So, when she says she plans on ending child marriage, she means business. It won’t be easy — with one of the highest rates in the world, three in four girls in Niger marry before they turn 18. But Rachida is a formidable opponent, and she’s not one to back down from a fight, especially when the stakes are this high.
Find out how Rachida is fighting for girls’ futures
Youth Advocate In Niger
A dynamic young woman displaced by Boko Haram fighting in the region, Mariatou is determined to change her community for the better.
“I promote child protection through awareness raising,” she says. “We go into the community to discuss issues including child marriage and its harmful consequences. We also speak about the roles and responsibilities that we all have in ensuring children are protected, and how to identify and report child protection cases.”

With one of the highest child marriage rates in the world, about 24% of girls in Niger are married by the time they turn 15, and nearly 80% by age 18.

Marietou had to drop out of school when she was 12 because her family could not afford to support her education. “If I had had the chance, I would have loved to be a teacher … Since I could not continue my education, I wish to learn tailoring in order to become a fashion designer. I would like to sew for myself and for others, and make some money to cater for my needs and also to train other girls who are in the same situation as me.”

To support her advocacy work, Marietou received a portable speaker from Plan International, accompanied with a USB stick containing child protection and gender-based violence messages, as well as health information on COVID-19 prevention measures. Solar panels were also provided to charge the speakers, so they can be used in even the most remote areas.

Marietou has already stopped six child marriages in her community. “My wish is in a few years’ time, to see all the community members aware of the rights of the child and let girls become adults before getting married.”
Meet more young people advocating for change
Girl Holding Goat
Agriculture and livestock account for 80% of Nigerians’ livelihoods.
But agriculture is impacted by significant challenges, such as droughts and floods, poor soil quality and lack of access to seeds and fertilizers. As a result, malnutrition rates are high.

Ouisseina’s mother received two goats through Plan International’s food security program. To support vulnerable families, Plan International distributed a breeding pair of goats to 440 households. They were distributed to female-headed households who have at least one malnourished child under the age of five. Not only do goats provide nourishment for hungry children, they also can help families to start small dairy businesses, selling milk and cheese at the local market.

“I’m glad my mother received these goats,” says Ousseina. “I’m going to help her take care of them and I’ll be able to drink as much milk as I want from now on.”
Help more families with livestock gifts

Plan International has been working to improve children’s lives in Niger since 1998.

Our work in Niger

Sponsored Girl In Niger
Office & operations

Plan Niger’s country office is located in Niamey, with program unit offices in Tillaberi, Maradi and Dosso.

Technical areas

Plan Niger focuses on the following program areas: education, health and protection

Number of sponsored children

As of June 2020, Plan International sponsors 21,397 children in Niger.

Why sponsor with Plan?

Gender equality is a fight we must all take on together. Through sponsorship, you can change lives and create long-term impact in communities.

The full circle of Fate

When you sponsor a child through Plan, you form an incredible friendship.

Sunny Days Magazine A sponsor and her sponsored girl hugging and smiling Child using a viewfinder and smiling

But that’s just the beginning. With Plan, you also have the unique opportunity to:

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Send them birthday gifts and cards.

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Give them special holiday presents called Little Treasures.

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Subscribe them to Plan’s educational kids’ magazine, Sunny Days.

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— Visit them (pending any travel restrictions), with individual travel assistance from us.

Each gift offering is safely hand-delivered by us, and given to your child with personalized cards from you. It’s likely that the child you sponsor will have never seen anything like these gifts, and with the exception of Little Treasures they’re available year-round to make the bond between you and your sponsored child even stronger.

Meet a child to sponsor