The Tuareg school of Imalole is having a hard time this year. The pasture in the region of the school is very bad and as a result the parents find it difficult to stay nearby so the kids can go to school. Last year there were 30 students and this year only 7. We have seen that all the Tuareg schools have the same problem. The children have to walk long distances and arrive at school tired, or they do not come at all if their parents are too far away from the school in search of pasture.
We have decided on a project for the schools at Imalole, Doli and Aboye and at the Tamesna center: We will pay the local people–a cash for work program for the parents and families of the school kids–to build earth mounds and dams to retain water during the rainy season. This will be overseen by the office of the environment in Ingall who have done several successful projects of this type. Our hope is to prolong the life of the good pasture near the schools so parents can stay nearby. This method also helps recharge wells and retards desertification.
One of the things that parents are already discovering is that the children who go to school are in better health. They get vitamins, a good meal at midday and participate in the weekly bathing and clothes washing on Wednesday afternoons, when school is not in session in Niger.Here Sidi and I are giving vitamins, a medicine chest, soap and candies to the teacher at Imalole.
We have high hopes with the cash for work program to promote better pasture and the medical and nutritional attention paid to the students will pay off in better attendance.