The country consistently ranks at the bottom of the United Nations Human Development Index. Low human capital development is often attributed to inadequate access to quality social services such as education. Factors that contribute to the low level of educational attainment include high educational dropout rates, high illiteracy rates, insufficient resources and infrastructure, unqualified teachers, weak local governance structure, and high vulnerability to instability. Niger has the most youthful population in the world — 58 percent of the population are under the age of 18. 

More than half of children are out of school and nearly 70 percent of those aged 15 to 24 are unemployed, not in school, or enrolled in vocational training. For those enrolled in schools, there is a high risk of dropping out due to poor retention conditions. Niger has a high rate of gender-based violence and early forced marriage. Seventy-six percent of girls are married before age 18 and the average age of first marriage for girls is 15.7 years.

Our Work

USAID education programming is largely integrated across sectors and is designed to promote girls’ education and increase access to livelihood opportunities for youth. USAID is the third largest donor to the Global Partnership for Education which principally finances the implementation of the 2014 - 2024 National Plan for Education and Training in Niger. Through bilateral programming, USAID’s work in improving girls’ access to education, strengthening vocational training, and ensuring the continuity of education in emergencies aligns directly with the priorities of the National Plan. 

Youth Engagement

Harnessing the power of youth is one of the most pressing issues faced by Niger. Young people are challenged by bleak economic prospects and an uncertain future yet hold the region’s greatest potential for prosperity.

The Youth Connect activity is based on the premise that, by enhancing the skills, knowledge, and abilities of and interactions between youth, markets, and government and civil society actors, they will have increased access to economic opportunities and for positive civic engagement, ultimately building their resilience to violent extremist messaging and reducing its devastating impact. The three main objectives:

  • Youth are equipped with market-relevant skills to prepare them to earn a living.
  • Youth and youth groups have access to improved livelihoods.
  • Youth and youth groups are actively engaged in local governance structures to advocate for their own development needs.

Preventing Child Early Forced Marriage And Unions

USAID contributes to the reduced incidence of early marriage through GirlEngage Niger by focusing on two primary objectives. First, religious and community leaders in target communities, and parents, will value and prioritize the girl child. Through the second objective, adolescent girls will have improved access to quality, safe basic education opportunities. The program positions girls as advocates for their rights and improved education, encourages boys and young men to support girls, and collaborate with influential religious and community leaders in reflective conversation around the promotion of girls’ education and delayed marriage.

Our Goals

  • Increased educational attainment for youth.
  • Increased access to livelihood opportunities for youth.
  • Increased access to girls’ education.
  • Reduced incidence of child early forced marriage.

Select List of USAID Education Programming

GirlEngage Niger, Plan International; January 2022 - December 2024; $4.3 million 

GirlEngage Niger reduces the incidence of early marriage in target communities by addressing challenges faced by adolescent girls. In partnership with SONGES and ASO EPT, activities are designed to keep girls in school. Using a girl-driven approach, project interventions empower girls to be change agents, address systemic issues, and drive change through community and family participation. GirlEngage works in Maradi, Tillaberi, and Zinder.

Youth Connect, Mercy Corps; November 2020 - November 2025; $35 million 

Youth Connect provides technical and soft skills development to prepare youth with marketable skills for employment. Youth are at the center of programming to ensure that their aspirations and motivations are understood and realized. In addition to skill building, the activity includes access to market linkages, and micro-project co-development with youth and community leaders to help break down barriers between youth and power holders. These activities are implemented through a consortium of local and international organizations, namely Swisscontact, SOS Sahel, Viamo, ONG FAD, GeoAnalytics Center, and Ideo. Youth Connect works in Maradi and Tillaberi.

Distance Learning, UNICEF, December 2022 - December 2025; $10 million

The Multi-Modal Distance Learning for Conflict-Affected Children and Adolescents Activity provides quality and continuing education and training for youth who are out of school or at the risk of dropping out of school. Through the delivery of remote learning the activity assists recipients aged 7 to 16 years representing marginalized groups living in conflict-affected areas acquire foundational reading, math, and social and emotional skills. This activity operates in Tillaberi, Diffa, Maradi, and Dosso.




Education Office