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News Stories

AREN Opening Ceremony Speeches

As reported in the latest Camel Express, President Mammadou Issoufou of Niger joined us for the opening of L’Archive de la République du Niger, or AREN, on April 3 this past spring. AREN is a new archive in the African Studies department at Boston University dedicated to storing Niger-related media, giving easier access to a wide variety of materials dating back more than 50 years.

From the archive’s website:

The Archive of the Republic of Niger at Boston University (AREN) is designed to serve not only as an archive but also as a bridge between Nigerien and American stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic.

We are pleased to share with  you the full text of five of the speeches delivered during the opening ceremonies of the Archive:

Fallen Volunteers

Memorial Day is about remembering those who have sacrificed their lives in service of this country. Let’s not forget that there is another kind of service for our country, and take a moment to remember the nearly 300 Peace Corps Volunteers who lost their lives during their time abroad: the Fallen Peace Corps Volunteers.

Fallen Peace Corps Volunteers is a web site dedicated to these volunteers, with the ultimate goal of  honoring their memory with a memorial in Washington, DC. Take a moment to read about these individuals who gave it all:

We honor both these fallen volunteers, as well as the members of the armed services who gave their lives. I like to think they all had a common goal for the world: peace.

#LetGirlsLearn Launches – and the National Peace Corps Association is there!

Friends of Niger is a big supporter of girls’ education, and we’re happy to pass on this message from the National Peace Corps Association announcing its partnership in the Let Girls Learn Program.

Let Girls Learn

Their focus will be on raising awareness about the initiative across our network of 215,000 RPCVs, and in the process spotlighting the RPCVs who promote girls’ education and empowerment.

Direct link:

Let Girls Learn Program website:

Nigerien Rockers Tal National Performing At The Schimmel Center in NYC

Tal National

Rock & Roll Africa: Tal National
Thursday, April 2 | 7:30pm
Schimmel Center 3 Pine St.
Tickets: $19/$10 with student ID
West African rockers Tal National hail from the small West African nation of Niger which is situated along West Africa’s ancient trade routes and is home to Songhai, Fulani, Hausa and Tuareg people, all of whom are represented in the group.

The band’s hugely popular and entrancing sound is based on guitar and percussion-driven grooves that are bursting with fiery energy and vocalist/band leader Almeida’s powerful voice (he works as a teacher and a judge while still playing five-hour sets with his band most nights of the week).

“Tal National mix energy and precision with an engagingly hybrid style. There are echoes of sped-up desert blues… and reminders of the Fuji tradition of Nigeria, to the south, in some of the percussion. But what makes this band special is their full-tilt approach, and a hypnotic intensity.” –Guardian Culture

Facebook event page
Tickets and more info

And be sure to check out this new track on YouTube!

Niger Seminar Hosted By Henry George School of Social Science in New York City

Wednesday, March 11 at 6:00 PM at the John Haynes Holmes Community House, 28 East 35th Street (Madison & Park)

Niger in the Shadow of the “Giant of Africa” – Nigeria – and under Threat from Boko Haram

Niger is rich in natural resources yet is beset by economic inequality, chronic poverty, and civil strife. This seminar is based on Amnesty International’s recent report “The State of the World’s Human Rights 2014 / 2015”. Dr. Gladys Melo-Pinzon will review the human rights situation in Sub-Saharan West Africa, (with special focus on Niger and Nigeria), and outline United States foreign policy towards the region. What are the implications of these policies for the human rights and well-being of the people of the region? As Americans, what can we do to assist the process of human and economic development?

Dr. Gladys Melo-Pinzon is the Senegal / Niger Country Specialist of Amnesty USA (AIUSA), the Amnesty International’s Section in the US and part of the global movement of people fighting injustice and promoting human rights.

With Global Focus On Ebola, Cholera Persists In Niger

Though this past year brought a surge of Ebola cases in West Africa, Niger has been spared from the unforgiving virus. Cases have been reported across the border in Mali and Nigeria, but so far Niger remains clear.

That doesn’t mean all is well, however. Cholera remains a critically dangerous threat to Niger’s cities, particularly as refugees flock from other countries and settle in overcrowded camps.

Organizations like Medecins Sans Frontiers continue to provide valuable relief in areas afflicted by this disease. Please help support MSF and other organizations battling these persistent threats to everyday life.

Read more here:


Nigeriens Extend Hospitality To Thousands Fleeing Boko Haram

The people of southeastern Niger have opened their homes, schools, and hospitals to thousands of refugees fleeing attacks by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria.

Deadly attacks carried out in northeastern Nigeria by Islamic extremists known as the Boko Haram have created an urgent humanitarian crisis in eastern Niger. Since 2013, more than 115,000 refugees have fled from Nigeria seeking shelter in Niger. More than 10,000 arrived in Niger between Nov. 24 and Nov. 26, 2014. The need for medicines is desperate and has been exacerbated by an outbreak of cholera among the refugees and the local population. A MAP International container of medicines and supplies worth U.S. $1,600,000, including over U.S. $1,000,000 in antibiotics, sponsored by International Relief Teams (IRT), is being shipped to eastern Niger, but Kirker African Medical Relief Association (KAMRA) has to raise $10,000 in transport costs. To do this, the  KAMRA is launching the “Medicines for the Most in Need” campaign. A $10 contribution will deliver over $1,000 in antibiotics and $600 in other medicines and supplies.

The towns of Maine-Soroa, Diffa, Bosso and N’guigmi have noted a significant flow of refugees, including women and children due to recent attacks on the Nigerian towns Damasak, Damaturu, and Gaidam, all located less than 40 miles from the border with Niger.

Refugees in Maine Soroa
Group of women having Fled violence in northern Nigeria to take shelter in Maine Soroa


More refugees continue to arrive following the attack in Gaidam, a town located at about 20 miles from Maine Soroa on Sunday December 21. Among the recent flow of refugees, there are mainly children separated from their families, women vainly searching for their children, and teenage young men who fear being forced to enroll by the islamist group.

The situation in the Diffa region is exacerbated by cholera epidemics. Health authorities in the region are currently struggling to control an outbreak that has spread from Nigeria, aggravated by insecurity and waves of refugees.

An acute diarrhoeal illness caused by a bacteria that can cause rapid dehydration and death, cholera frequently spreads through the ingestion of water and food contaminated by human feces. The situation is getting more and more complicated, as the number of people infected is likely to be much higher than reported. Cholera has killed about 50 of the more than 1,350 infected late last year in southern Niger.

Kirker Hospital Patients

The MAP shipment contains antibiotics, as well as vitamins, anti-anemia, cardiac drugs and various supplies. These medicines will be placed in the region’s main hospitals as well as smaller health centers to treat local population and refugees free of charge. Nearly all refugee women, and children have not seen a doctor in months due to the insecurity, and in many cases their health centers in Nigeria being burnt down.

Health institutions to benefit from shipment include the regional Hospital of Diffa, the District Hospital of N’guigmi, and the Kirker Hospital of Maine Soroa.

The Kirker Hospital has a capacity of 164 beds. It now sees an average of 200 patients per day, representing more than 25% increase compared to previous months. Entirely run by Nigerien personnel, the Kirker Hospital has been supported by KAMRA for the past 8 years. It has an admission/observation ward, a maternity/delivery ward, a surgical ward, a laboratory, an X ray section, and a med-peds- malnutrition ward. It has a staff of 130 people including 1 general physician, 1 surgeon, 1 nurse surgery assistant, 1 nurse anesthetist, 1 nurse eye specialist,4 lab technicians, 22 nurses and over 100 non professional support staff.

To contribute, please visit the KAMRA  website, and click on the donate button. You can also send your contribution by check to:

4840 Forest Dr., PMB 216
Columbia, SC 29206

Seminar on Niger: Rich in Resources, Enabler of Energy, Resilient in Recession

As part of its series “Africa – Case Studies in Economic and Social Issues”, the Henry George School of Social Science will host the following seminar on Niger. The event is being held in New York City, and all are welcome, with no cost or obligation.

Niger – Rich in Resources, Enabler of Energy, Resilient in Recession

Niger is endowed with plentiful natural resources, including the world’s largest deposits of uranium. Nuclear fuel derived from Niger’s uranium is an important source of Europe’s cheap, clean energy. Why does the country consistently receive low scores on the United Nations Human Development Index? Adam Barnes explores the contradiction between Niger’s facilitation of wealth creation abroad and chronic, widespread poverty at home.

Adam Barnes is currently working on his Doctorate in Comparative Theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He also works closely with the social movement organization Poverty Initiative at the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice.

Thursday, October 9 at 6:00 PM at the John Haynes Holmes Community House, 28 East 35th Street (Madison & Park)