Niamey is the capital of Niger and has a population of over 1.3 million. The city has experienced rapid population growth due in part to internal migration from rural areas. They arrive looking for work, or fleeing from the famine caused by drought that seriously affects the rural areas of the country. Rapid urban expansion has led to the formation of numerous informal settlements where infrastructure and basic services are not available.
Since 1993, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Niamey.
The entire Sahel region is affected by recurring droughts, flash floods, failed harvests and global rises in food prices. Niger is one of the hardest hit countries. Flash floods, following heavy rains, occur all over Niger, regularly submerging homes, crops and roads under water.
In August 2020, over 15,000 people were affected and over 800 houses destroyed when the Niger River flooded Niamey. After such emergencies, displaced families find refuge in makeshift camps, with poor sanitation and healthcare, or with host families, where they have to compete for limited resources. The absence of clean water and proper sanitation leads to contagious diseases, like cholera.
Niger has the highest rate of child marriage in the world. 76% of girls are married before they are 18 and 28% are married before the age of 15. Deeply rooted gender norms play a role in the likelihood of girls being forced into early marriage, as well as in decisions about continued access to education.
Due to increasing economic insecurity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing costs of living, some families resort to child marriage as a way to increase their household income. The practice of bride price, which is usually paid by the groom's family to the bride's family, is one way to generate additional income.