Young Nigerien woman prepares to play the imzad
Young Nigerien woman prepares to play the imzad, a single-stringed bowed instrument, in front of about 900 people at an event.

Supporting and strengthening the ability of Nigerien communities and local leaders to address the threat of violent extremism.


Niger’s location at the center of the Sahel-Maghreb makes maintaining its stability critically important for the region and for U.S. national security. The Nigerien government is a key U.S. Government partner in the international fight against terrorism, trafficking and illegal migration as part of the Sahel-Maghreb Strategy. Violent extremist activity has grown significantly in Niger. Military gains against violent extremist organizations (VEOs) in Mali, Nigeria and Libya have pushed VEOs toward Niger, where hiding spaces, new recruits and economic exploitation are readily available.


USAID/OTI’s Niger program began in 2014 to increase community engagement with government leaders and identify the key drivers of youth isolation and recruitment by VEOs. USAID/OTI 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, in particular 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 the reach of VEOs into areas of influence, especially with youth and at-risk populations by promoting livelihoods training and cash-for-work activities. 


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

  • Working with local citizens to strengthen their ability to detect, prevent and respond to threats of violent extremism through awareness trainings and workshops to target key leaders in the Agadez Region. Through these trainings, a network of local communities called Agadez Eveil (“Agadez Awakening”) was formed to help the local population identify at-risk youth, raise awareness of radicalization and relay their needs and concerns to local authorities. 
  • Supporting traveling entrepreneurial fairs in Diffa Region in Southwest Niger organized by the Nalewa Mada (“We Search for Peace”) Committee. The fairs seek to deter idle youth from joining VEOs by showcasing how their peers have found employment opportunities including farming, raising livestock, artisan arts and crafts. 
Related Sectors of Work 

Last updated: August 02, 2018

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