Handicap International is working in Niger to improve living conditions for Malian refugees in Niamey, as well as for people with disabilities throughout the country, and to secure weapons stockpiles to limit the threat to the local population.
© Franck Pinay Rabaroust
Handicap International aims to improve the situation for people with disabilities in Niger by offering support to their representative organisations. Training is also provided to local authorities to encourage them to take people with disabilities into account when implementing policies, so they can enjoy the same rights as their fellow citizens (the right to representation, to attend school, to move around freely etc.).
Our teams are particularly concerned with the issue of access to education for children with disabilities and work to ensure they are able to get to school and that the setting is adapted to their needs. Through its education project, Handicap International ensures that over 3,300 children with disabilities can get to school and benefit from a suitable learning environment. In order to guarantee the project’s future viability, the organisation has provided training and awareness-raising for numerous stakeholders in the inclusive education and disability sectors. The participants include 300 headteachers and teachers from 530 schools.
Handicap International also uses its expertise to support the Malian refugees currently living in Niamey, having fled the drought and fighting in north Mali (from summer 2012). The organisation has also taken over the management of the one-stop shop where refugees can be referred to the different services they require (health, education etc.).
Since 2016, Handicap International leads a project to prevent developmental delays and disabilities among children affected by malnutrition, using physiotherapy and physical and emotional stimulation (through parent children interaction and educational games). A targeted 10,500 children will have received specific care in the coming two years.
Finally, Handicap International also runs a project to secure the country's armed forces weapons and munitions stockpiles with the aim of limiting the risk of accidents. The organisation simultaneously works on the construction and rehabilitaiton of adapted storage facilities, and the destruction of obsolete weapons and munitions.
Situated in the Sahel, Niger is considered to be one of the poorest countries in the world. Over half the population is destitute, living off less than one Euro a day.
Niger suffers from extreme poverty. There have been a series of rebellions by the Touareg tribes, mainly in the north, which have destabilised the country (again recently). The northern region is also subject to worrying levels of organised crime, a problem which affects the whole Sahel region and has generated displacements of populations seeking physical and food security.
Against this very difficult backdrop, the situation for people with disabilities is aggravated by the high levels of discrimination and socio-economic inequality. This discrimination means they have very limited access to education, employment and health services. Furthermore, their civic participation is extremely limited and their specific needs are not taken into account in development initiatives.