Journey to Niger, March 2014, PART FOUR

Day 4 and Day 5, March 5th and March 6th, 2014

The fatigue is setting in. We are all feeling it.

Before breakfast I got a call from the former Vice Mayor of Libore,  that she was in the lobby wanting to see me! The Nigerien people I have met are always so thoughtful, polite and kind. I spent a few minutes with her and filled her on our activities for the week.

The former Vice Mayor, Fatouma.

The former Vice Mayor, Fatouma.

Then it was off to another round of meetings.  We met with the Consular from the US Embassy and with the local representative of USAID, an organization that funds many development projects.

Both meetings went exceedingly well and were encouraging.

After lunch, we had a meeting with the Director of Kollo, the Agricultural high school in Niger. Until this year, it has been like a secondary school for agriculture, but instead of three years of high school, like they have in most schools in Niger, students study for four years.  Now, with a new law, that may pass this month, there will be opportunity for the graduates to take two more years of specialty in Horticulture (vegetable gardening) after they graduate.  

The good news for us is that it may save us the need to start our own training school for horticulture and fits in well with the suggestion from the First Lady that the solution be sustainable.  The timing couldn’t be better as the country needs new technicians and every agricultural project will require them as well.

Next came a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture. He was delighted with our work and invited us to attend the Agricultural Fair that he had organized for the week.

Day 5, March 6th, 2014

Another surprisingly productive day.

We had a meeting this morning with the Swiss Cooperative, a Swiss organization that has been working in Niger for 30 years.  They were very open and receptive to our program, and definitely want to visit the sites with Dov. They have the same vision. What was particularly touching, was that one of their staff in the room recognized P4K and had heard how much Libore has changed as a result of P4K’s programs.

Then we had a very fruitful discussion with the three school Directors of our three pilot schools, and the pedagogical Councilor who monitors the teachers performances.  They all are quite happy with the program — said that each school had a few students that on their own initiative have started entrepreneurial activities at home and made money. They said that sometimes the students correct their mothers in the gardens if they feel they are not doing something correctly.

At 2:30 we had a phenomenal meeting at FAO. This is the UN organization involved with Agriculture. They have a great reputation and they really respected the FOF concept.  They plan to visit the sites and then we can sit down to see if there are opportunities for collaboration.   Amadou Madougou joins us at all our meetings.  The people love him and you can see the warmth and respect in their eyes and manner. 

Our second last meeting of the day was with Dan Goma — the Nigerien expert on animals.  Dov wants us to start a goat breeding program for the women with the Brown Goat of Maradi, a goat that has up to 5 “kids” per year, and gives excellent milk (1 litre per day), but needs no pastures to roam.  So Dan will come back to us with the costs of buying 70 – 100 of the female goats and a small number of males. Another potential opportunity for income generation for the women.

The brown goat of Maradi and her kids.

The brown goat of Maradi and her kids.

And then in the evening we went to see the local Rotary club that is the host club for the International Rotary Global grant we received that sponsors a vegetable garden in Ecole Centre and a nursery in Gonzare.  Many clubs in both Canada and US are contributors.

A long day, but another hugely productive one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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