2023 – Pencils for Kids’ 18th year in Niger

Pencils for Kids’ 18th year has been a year of both progress and upheaval in Niger. 


The Coup

On July 26, 2023, the military took over the government of Niger. Niger had been widely viewed as the last bastion of democracy in the West African Sahel, so the military takeover caught many by surprise, including us. It is still early to know what the long-term impacts of the coup will be, but it does create a more uncertain future.

This is hardly our first experience with political upheaval and uncertainty. On one of our earlier trips to Niger, there was a military coup only days after we left, in 2010. Democratic elections were restored a year later. We do not know what will happen with governance for the foreseeable future, but we do know that our team in Niger continues to work and we hope to fulfill our promise to open the Dov Institute, the first ever Horticultural Training School for technicians in the country. We stayed the course in 2010, and we will stay the course now. 


The Dov Institute will open in October 2024!

Screenshot 2023-11-24 at 4.50.26 PM

Members of LIBO, the NGO managing P4K projects in Niger, gather on the Dov Institute campus. They are committed to launch technician training in 2024.

We’re excited by the Dov Institute. It’s innovative – the first in Niger to feature horticulture and the income-generating power of agriculture. Everything about it will be first class –from its facilities to its faculty, students, and programs. And we’re well on our way.

The campus is a showcase, our emphasis on experiential learning and practical skills is attracting great attention, and our knowledge and results are starting to turn heads.

In the past year we’ve been sought out by Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Blair Institute, USAID and the US Embassy. We were disappointed to push back the launch of technician training another year. 

We fully intend to launch technician training next October despite the challenges the coup may pose. As Professor Dov always said, “Never Give Up”!



Please visit our Flickr page to see more photos of the Dov Centre!


Scholarships for Girls

We continue our Scholarship for Girls program, the first ever program we started almost 18 years ago. Hundreds of girls have received scholarships for one or more years during this time and 50 have graduated and gone on to post-graduate studies and are now working in their respective professions.

Three years ago, we decided to tutor the same ten girls from junior high through the end of secondary school and follow their progress. The 10 girls we have now sponsored for these past three years, all started their Troisieme level in the 2023-2024 school year, having passed their exams in July and graduated from the Quatrieme level. We will keep everyone posted on their progress!

Te girls of te scolarship Program 2


Cooper Sewing Centre celebrates its 15th anniversary — a very special milestone!

The Cooper Centre, founded by P4K with generous support from the Cooper family, is a sewing program in which girls pay their own tuition, and participate in examinations that are accredited by the National Sewing Association. The goal is to give girls and women, who are no longer in school, a second chance to get a profession. P4K started this program with only four girls in 2008 helping them acquire an income-generating skill. They are learning embroidery, sewing, knitting, and dyeing and also take courses in numeracy and literacy. Students pay a yearly fee to help cover the costs of the teachers.


405 girls have enrolled since the Cooper Centre opened.

116 girls have graduated from the Centre since its inception. 


Eight of these girls graduated in 2023 and they are now accomplished tailors! 


2023 Sewing Program Graduates!


This year 43 girls enrolled in our first-year program and 12 have entered their second year.  


Year 1 sewing girls 2023-2024

First Year sewing girls


Second year Sewing girls 2023-2024

Second Year sewing girls


We have seen an exponential rise in enrolment this year for a variety of reasons. Prices have dramatically risen after the coup, and parents who can no longer send their daughters to private schools for secondary education, have chosen to give them a specialized skill. In addition, our program offers a Certificate when they graduate, which is recognized in the country, and our Cooper Centre has a reputation for excellence in Niger.  


Thank you for supporting the work of Pencils for Kids and letting the families in Niger know that they are not forgotten. 

Pencils for Kids continues to be a volunteer-run organization and we are proud of the programs and services that we are able to deliver to the children of Liboré. None of these accomplishments would have been possible without the unwavering support of our Pencils for Kids community. Your ongoing contribution to P4K has an impact every day on the life and the future of the children and women of Liboré. For these children and women, and for the whole community, your support is driving sustainable change that will deliver benefits right now and for future generations.

In particular after the military coup this year, the population of Niger faces a more uncertain future, with rising prices and even more poverty. For all these reasons we hope you will be able to maintain or even increase your financial support for P4K

“Over 95% of your donation goes directly to sustaining highly effective education and training programs for the young people of Niger.”

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