For every child, a fair chance: partnering for the well-being of women and children in Niger
Dear Friends and Partners
The past years have been an exceptional journey for UNICEF in Niger. The country has made progress in advancing children’s and women’s rights.
The child mortality rate significantly decreased over the past decade from 328 to 95 per 1,000 live birth between 1990 and 2015 thanks to comprehensive health, nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene interventions engaged by the Government and its partners.
UNICEF and its partners have led intensive advocacy efforts in the country, leading to substantial developments in legislations, policies, strategies and national programming. UNICEF took a leading role in organizing a roundtable on girls’ education in 2017, resulting in a list of 10 Commitments signed consensually by the Government, Cooperating Partners, Civil Society and traditional, religious and community leaders, a first for Niger. This led to the adoption by the government of a decree in December 2017 for the protection of the girl-child in school to guarantee access and retention until age 16.
The government also demonstrated its engagement to tackle child marriage through a pledge to end this harmful practice and develop an action plan, made by the President of Niger during the high-level meeting of the African Union campaign.
In child survival, the Government developed in 2017 its health sector development plan and adopted key policies in the Water, Hygiene and Sanitation sector, setting a clear vision for the development of those sectors for the coming years.
Niger continues however to face simultaneous emergencies that are stretching the capacities of the government and humanitarian partners to respond adequately. Children in Niger face malnutrition, recurrent disease epidemics and outbreaks, cyclical floods, drought and displacement. The situation is exacerbated by instability in neighboring countries, resulting in an influx of thousands of refugees, returnees and migrants, all needing access to basic social services for survival. The issue of migration has taken a new dimension with the evacuation of refugees and migrants from Libya to transit countries, including Niger.
The UNICEF Niger programme has made progress in leaps and bounds in many areas. It has not been without its challenges. But our vision has remained steadfast—to ensure that no child is left behind in Niger, and that the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children are given the best opportunity for a healthy life, to fulfil their potential and to remain protected against harm.
The current programme comes to its end in 2018. It offers the opportunity to align the new 2019-2021 Country Programme Document with the newly approved 2017-2021 national development plan, UNICEF’s Strategic Plan 2018-2021 and the Sustainable Development Goals. We look to the future with optimism and with the willingness to work harder and more effectively for Niger’s children.
For every child, a fair chance
UNICEF Representative in Niger