© Helvetas

Niger

Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. One of the main problems in this desert country is the scarcity of water south of the Sahel. 30% of the people in rural areas have no access to clean drinking water. Helvetas provides wells and cattle watering tanks to relieve the water scarcity, and we advocate for universal water rights in Niger.
© Helvetas
  • Capital
    Niamey
  • Area
    1,267,000 km²
  • Poverty rate*
    46% of the population live under the poverty line of $1.90 per day
  • UN DEVELOPMENT INDEX*
    Rank: 187 out of 188
  • Population
    20,715,000
  • People supported per year
    175,000
  • Thematic focus
    Governance
    Water
* Source: UN Data

The Niger government has declared the right to water the most important right of all. And yet in large parts of the country this declaration is still written only in the (desert) sand. 50% of the rural population have only very limited access to clean drinking water, and 30% none at all. Basic sanitation is even scarcer. Only 5% of the rural population have access to a latrine. The poor water quality has a drastic impact on infant mortality: one in six children dies before reaching the age of five. Contaminated drinking water and malnutrition are the principal causes of the high infant mortality rate.

Fewer conflicts thanks to better water access

In view of the water scarcity, it comes as no surprise that access to water is an enduring bone of contention in Niger. Conflicts often break out between nomads and sedentary cattle breeders and farmers. Helvetas has been working on improving the water supply here since 2012. We also provide support for the building of communal and family latrines, which give hundreds of thousands of people access to basic sanitary facilities. This improves the hygiene situation and, in particular, keeps germs out of the groundwater. In addition, Helvetas builds livestock watering tanks to improve the health of cattle and reduce conflict potential between nomadic and sedentary communities.

Cooperation with communities

Helvetas makes sure that the communities assume responsibility for their own water supply. The authorities and the population are included in the planning to allow for the needs of everyone concerned. A control and service system is drawn up jointly to guarantee effective and sustainable operation. Training the competent officials for these tasks is another integral part of this project.   

Visit the website of Helvetas Niger.

© Helvetas
A village near Niamey © Helvetas
1/5
© Helvetas
Gauze reservoir in the Birni N-Gaoure region © Helvetas
2/5
© Helvetas
Land in the Birni N-Gaoure region © Helvetas
3/5
© Helvetas
A fountain in Dan Mallam © Helvetas
4/5
© Helvetas
A school in the Gaya region in the south of Niger © Helvetas
5/5

Water

The most vulnerable communities suffer from dirty and scarce water. Annually we help up to 500,000 people get new access to drinking water and basic sanitation.