Room to Grow
Léger Foyet of Population Services International in the U.S. along with the Organization to Advance Solutions in the Sahel (OASIS) and the High Commission of the Nigeriens Nourish Nigeriens agriculture initiative (HC3N) will improve gender equity, nutrition, and access to family planning in Niger. Niger has one of the highest levels of poverty and malnutrition. Women in Niger are usually married before the age of 16 and have on average around eight children. Men generally make the decisions on family planning, and there is limited access to contraceptives and healthcare. Non-governmental organizations have supported over 3,000 community gardens across Niger that use solar-powered drip irrigation for growing basic crops like beans. The gardens are tended daily by women, providing an opportunity to address gender inequality in a safe and supportive space. They will select up to 20 gardens to develop and test a package of successful interventions targeting both women and men including reproductive health counseling, identifying gender-based barriers to family planning, and engaging religious leaders to help overturn deep-seated social norms.