Niger

Niger Map OTI

Increasing the ability of local communities to address violent extremist threats and reintegrate former fighters and affiliates.


WHY USAID/OTI IS IN NIGER

The stability of Niger, which straddles the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin regions of West Africa, is critically important for the region and for U.S. national security. The Nigerien government is a key U.S. Government partner within the Sahel-Maghreb Strategy, and the Counter Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa Strategy. Violent extremist activity has grown significantly in Niger in recent years, and military operations against violent extremist organizations (VEOs) in Burkina Faso, Libya, Mali, and Nigeria have pushed VEOs toward Niger, where hiding spaces, new recruits, and economic exploitation are readily available.

USAID/OTI’S ROLE IN NIGER

USAID/OTI’s Niger program began in 2014 to increase community engagement with government leaders and identify the key drivers of youth isolation and VEO recruitment. USAID/OTI, through its Niger Community Cohesion Initiative (NCCI), works in some of the most marginalized and remote areas of Niger, partnering with local leaders to increase their ability to address violent extremist threats, focusing on:

  • Providing communities with the knowledge, skills, and resources to resist VEOs;
  • Connecting Nigerien governing authorities with their constituents to address historical grievances and understand long-held feelings of exclusion among select ethnic groups; and
  • Reducing VEOs’ reach by promoting livelihoods training and cash-for-work activities for youth and other at-risk populations.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

USAID/OTI implements small-scale, cross-sectoral projects with local partners; including civil society organizations, local governments, and community
members. Activities include:

  • Supporting community reintegration efforts of repentant and rehabilitated low-level former Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa fighters and affiliates. In Diffa region, NCCI supported awareness campaigns about reintegration that reached approximately 27,700 people in 190 villages.
  • Increasing local leaders’ effectiveness to respond to VEO threats. NCCI has trained more than 1,000 leaders in Tillabéri region, establishing nearly 300 Peace Committees, with more than 125 underway. These committees, which include women and youth leaders, promote messages of peace and help mitigate VEO threats at the community level.
  • Promoting women- and youth-led efforts to counter violent extremism (CVE). NCCI has completed more than 450 activities to empower women and youth through CVE training, cultural exchanges, and village-level Peace Committees, reaching over 110,000 women and 40 youth organizations.
Related Sectors of Work 

Last updated: January 16, 2020

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