Promoting government and community action in resisting the spread of insecurity and reinforcing the links between and within them.
WHY USAID/OTI IS IN NIGER
Niger’s location and robust security relationship with the United States make the country a key ally in disrupting terrorist threats in the Sahel. Over the last two years, the region experienced a sharp increase in violent extremism (VE) activity, with significantly destabilizing effects in neighboring Mali, Burkina Faso, and northeast Nigeria. For six years, USAID/OTI worked with communities in the Lake Chad Basin and Liptako Gourma regions to counter VE threats. Now, recognizing that this threat adds to an already complex set of development challenges for Niger, USAID/OTI focuses on identifying emerging threats, bolstering stability, and working with the USAID/Niger Mission to strengthen conflict responsive programming.
USAID/OTI’S ROLE IN NIGER
USAID/OTI’s current program objectives are:
Promote government action in resisting the spread of insecurity;
Promote community action in mitigating the spread of insecurity; and
Reinforce the links between and within government structures and communities.
USAID/OTI provides technical assistance to Water and Forestry Service agents to increase their capabilities and better their relationships with the surrounding communities of the W National Park. In many of the remote areas around the W National Park, these agents are the sole representatives of the State and play a critical role in maintaining positive perceptions of the Nigerien government.
USAID/OTI organized an informational caravan to villages around the Say department to help improve communication and trust between communities and authorities. The informational caravan reduced the communities’ distrust of their authorities and increased collaboration between them. The Prefect of Say shared the results from it with the Minister of the Interior, who promptly issued instructions to departmental prefects throughout Niger to follow Say’s example.
USAID/OTI provided support to Niger’s Office of the Ombudsman to build the institution’s capacity. While highly respected, the institution struggles to respond quickly when called upon to provide mediation and dialogue opportunities because of a lack of financial and material resources. With USAID/OTI’s support, the Office of the Ombudsman conducted community dialogues amongst relevant stakeholder groups, and solidified their ability to be available as a quick response mechanism when needed.