Welcome to Niger

Click on the topic tiles to find out about the country's history, people and natural environment, as well as some of the issues facing Niger today.
We haven't conducted a children's filming workshop here, so there aren't any videos. But there's lots of information for learning more about this fascinating country.

People & Culture

Ancient cultures and traditions

Many of Niger’s peoples, including the nomadic groups of the northern regions, are trying to hold onto their traditional culture and way of living in the face of an increasingly harsh climate.


Africa has a high number of communicable diseases, which place a huge burden on healthcare systems. The vast majority of malaria cases and HIV/AIDS-related deaths occur in Africa; these two diseases currently represent the greatest threats.

With low investment in healthcare and a severe shortage of medical staff, many countries struggle to meet the health needs of their people.

Games & Sport

Africa is home to arguably the oldest-recorded games and sports. While some are only known through archaeology, modern-day games and sports such as Mancala/Mankala and Nubian wrestling are very much alive today.

Of course, new sports have come along to claim the attention of Africans. You may have heard of one - it's called football.

Poverty & Healthcare

The blight of hunger

The lack of adequate food in Niger means that many children are malnourished and one in six will not live to see their fifth birthday.


The first humans are thought to have lived in Africa and powerful African empires formed from the medieval age onwards.

However, today's African nations were shaped by the European powers who colonised this vast continent. Having gained their independence, many African countries are still coming to terms with the legacy left by their colonisers.


Keeping native trees

When native trees are grown alongside crops, farmers in Niger have found harvests improve and the country is one of the success stories for reforestation.

Climate & Agriculture

A Sahel land

Two-thirds of Niger falls within the ‘Sahel’ region, a dry band of semi-desert land which lies below the Sahara; agriculture is therefore limited to the southern third of the country.

Children's stories

Filming workshops

SOS Children's Villages have been running filming workshops to show children how to make their own films. This country has yet to be visited, but take a look at some videos made by children in nearby countries.

Tourism & Communications

Niger’s people

Visitors come to Niger to experience the stunning desert landscapes and explore the region’s history and Islamic culture. They also venture here to find out more about Niger’s unique peoples and traditional ways of life.

Economy & Industry

Growing economy

Thanks to deposits of oil and uranium, Niger’s revenues are growing, but agriculture is still the mainstay of the domestic economy, though the sector remains fragile.



Tuareg people live mainly across areas of Algeria, Libya, Mali and Niger. After long suppression of their Berber language and culture in parts of North Africa, Tuaregs are enjoying more freedom and in some areas would like their own independent state.

Education & Jobs

Low rates of literacy

With one of the lowest literacy rates in West Africa, the government of Niger is keen to improve education and encourage more families to send their children to school.


Across the rest of the world, absolute poverty has halved over recent decades, but in Africa it has barely fallen.

About two-fifths of the population of sub-Saharan Africa survive week by week on what someone in the UK earns from just one hour's work on the minimum wage.

Welcome to Niger

To find out more about Niger, click on some of the tiles and topics which explore what life is like in this vast land and some of the issues facing its people. We haven't had the chance to conduct a children's filming workshop, so there aren't any videos yet. But there's lots of information for learning more about the country.

Facts & Figures

A growing population

In five decades, the population of Niger has grown from 2 million to over 15 million. The high growth rate is reflected in the large numbers of young people – over half of Nigeriens are under 18 years of age.



Cultural and religious celebrations are important markers in the annual calendar, held around the major Islamic festivals or during times of seasonal importance.

Food & Daily life

Food is key

In Niger, the preoccupation of many families is to produce enough food to last the year, since life becomes especially hard in the dry season.


‘People are the real wealth of a nation.’ This is the belief of the United Nations, whose Millenium Development Goals provide a framework for improving the lives of millions.

It helps when nations are peaceful, stable and growing economically. But where even the poorest countries focus on health, education and creating fairer societies, more Africans have the chance of a better life.

Geography & Wildlife

A dry land

Much of Niger is made up of desert or semi-desert regions, therefore natural oases and underground water sources, as well as the River Niger in the southwest, provide a vital lifeline.


Africa is a massive continent, with a range of climates. Some regions are hot and dry, like the Sahara, Kalahari and Namib deserts. Other parts are wet or covered in tropical rainforest. Conditions also vary by altitude, from the dry salt pans of the Danakil Depression (one of the lowest points on earth) to the snowcaps (at certain times) of the highest mountains. Weather-wise, Africa has it all!


A heavy burden of work

With men frequently away, women in Niger often find that looking after crops, home and family rests entirely on their shoulders.


Store houses

Once the short growing season is over, grain is stored away to last families until the next harvest and purpose-built granaries are a feature of most villages.


Africa has some of the most distinctive cuisines and flavours in the world. Food varies widely, but there are commonalities across regions. Depending on what's grown locally, dishes are also influenced by the traders, immigrants and rulers who settled across the continent. Arab, Asian and European elements blend in with traditional African cooking.

History & Politics

Seeking stability

Since independence in 1960, a series of military coups and takeovers resulted in successive republics, but a new constitution in 2010 and elections in 2011 are bringing new political stability.

Geography & Wildlife

With its varied geography and diverse habits, the African continent is home to a wide range of flora and fauna. Though famous for its 'big game' animals, Africa has huge numbers of fish, mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and insect species, as well as many tree, plant and flower species.


A woman’s status varies by country and region across Africa. In many parts, women struggle against inequality in laws, education, pay and domestic responsibilities.

Women’s health is also at risk from traditional practices such as early marriage. But with better education, girls can make more informed choices, leading to the greater development of African nations.

Niger map

Explore Niger

Click on the map points in Niger to find out more about some of its key cities and geographical features.


Avoiding food crises

With greater support for farming communities in Niger, the government and international agencies are hoping to avoid food emergencies in the future.


Around one in six children born in sub-Saharan Africa don't live to see their fifth birthday and life can be tough for those who do.

What are the common challenges facing African children and how do their lives compare with those of children in the UK?

Agriculture & Famine

A quarter of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is undernourished and famines can impact whole regions.

Land is available to grow more food locally, but investment is needed in  technologies such as irrigation for land to be used effectively. Farmers must also adapt to climate change if they are to feed the continent's rising population.

Niger topics Facts & Figures Poverty & Healthcare Food & Daily life Malnutrition People & Culture Geography & Wildlife Climate & Agriculture Tuaregs Women Welcome to Niger Reforestation Economy & Industry Granaries Education & Jobs Children's stories History & Politics Festivals Niger map Tourism & Communications