The below is attributable to Deputy Spokesperson Shejal Pulivarti:
From September 28 to October 3, 2022, Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman traveled to Niger and Côte d’Ivoire to meet with government, civil society, and private sector representatives and visit USAID programs addressing food security, conflict, and resilience in the region.
In Niger, Deputy Administrator Coleman met with local women leaders and discussed the role of women in promoting peace, security, and democracy. Deputy Administrator Coleman heard from civil society leaders advocating for increased transparency and fundamental freedoms of association, assembly, and expression, and was briefed by humanitarian partners on the challenges and opportunities of the humanitarian response in Niger. She also met with President Mohamed Bazoum and Foreign Affairs Minister Hassoumi Massoudou to discuss development priorities such as girls education and reaffirm USAID’s bilateral commitment to the country.
During her time in Niger, Deputy Administrator Coleman announced an additional $44 million in additional support for Niger to strengthen resilience and protect vulnerable populations from the impacts of food insecurity, as well as $14 million from a two year extension to USAID/Niger’s bilateral agreement to address food insecurity, conflict, health, governance, education, and agriculture in Niger. She also launched GirlEngage Niger, a $4.5 million program which will work with community leaders, parents, and caregivers to support girls' education in the Tillaberi, Maradi, and Zinder regions.
During her visit, Deputy Administrator Coleman traveled to Maradi, a south-central region of Niger affected by conflict, climate shocks, and food insecurity. She discussed opportunities to bolster food security, resilience, and health outcomes with the governor of Maradi before visiting resilience activities in the town of Doukounkoune, where USAID partners are working together on land management, livestock asset building, and income-generation activities. She toured a health clinic to observe how a partnership between a private, nonprofit health facility and the Maradi district public health sector has increased community access to a comprehensive package of primary health care services. She also visited an emergency malnutrition center at the Regional Hospital of Maradi to witness USAID-funded UNICEF interventions for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition.
In Kollo, an urban town within the Tillabéri region, the Deputy Administrator met with the Prefect and Mayor of Kollo, as well as the Citizens Monitoring Committee, to gain a better understanding of how USAID activities have helped facilitate citizen participation in government decision making and supported municipal leaders to be more efficient, accountable, and responsive to community needs. She also spoke with youth leaders who are helping to promote livelihoods, peace and conflict resolution at the local level. Before departing for Côte d’Ivoire, Deputy Administrator Coleman sat down with Télé Sahel, the national broadcaster of Niger, to share her experience in Niger and USAID’s work in the country.
In Côte d’Ivoire, Deputy Administrator Coleman met with civil society, community, and interfaith leaders from the north of the country, as well as USAID implementing partners, to discuss realities on the ground and learn about their efforts to prevent conflict, address the threat of violent extremism and build resilience.
While visiting the PEPFAR-supported Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe (DREAMS) program, Deputy Administrator Coleman sat down with a group of young women who shared how being part of the DREAMS program and a DREAMS Village Savings and Loans Association has changed their lives. She then met with Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) alumni to hear their perspectives on development in Côte d’Ivoire. She also spoke with women leaders in the private sector to discuss the business climate and how USAID can further support the country’s economic growth. Additionally, the Deputy Administrator met with leadership from the African Development Bank for a conversation on areas of mutual cooperation.
While in Côte d’Ivoire, Deputy Administrator Coleman met with Prime Minister Patrick Achi to reinforce U.S. support for the country’s commitment to regional security and economic development. She also participated in interviews with Radio Côte d’Ivoire, Ivorian national radio station, and Al Bayane, a private Islamic radio station, to talk about how USAID is partnering with Côte d’Ivoire to improve health outcomes, advance democracy and good governance, and foster economic growth. Finally, the Deputy Administrator visited Naima Dolls, an Ivoirian toy company that, with USAID support, has expanded exports across the continent and is preparing to enter the U.S. market.
During her time in both countries, Deputy Administrator Coleman met with USAID and U.S. Embassy staff and thanked them for their tireless work and contributions to building resilience in the region.