Was wir tun HEKS
Christian Bobst
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HEKS/EPER is making a difference in the «Access to land and resources» in Niger

The people of the West African Sahel country of Niger face frequent droughts and famine. They suffer from food shortages, chronic malnutrition and epidemics. In the UN Human Development Index, Niger shares ranks second to last. HEKS/EPER has been working in Niger since the great drought of the 1970s and, together with local partner organizations, is improving food security, access to land and the preservation of natural resources. Over the long term, development projects are leading to improved living conditions and supporting beneficiaries in better preparing themselves for future droughts. HEKS/EPER and its partners supply humanitarian aid during acute food crises.

HEKS/EPER in Niger

Facts

In 2019, HEKS/EPER secured collective access for 45’000 people to 1033 hectares of land to be used for agricultural production or as livestock corridors. Of the 13’000 smallholders supported, 84 per cent were able to boost their income – owing to better production techniques and yields. Some 8800 families are benefiting from five new watering places that can cater for about 25,000 animals.

Rural communities need unimpeded access to natural resources such as land, water, pastures, savannahs or forests if they are to develop. The possibility to use these resources is critical to fighting hunger and poverty. Agriculture is, after all, the most important source of income for many rural communities. With crop farming, small plantations, livestock rearing, fishing or gathering they can secure their food supply and generate income by selling their produce. Land also serves communities as living space and reinforces cultural and spiritual identity. Many rural communities still lack access to land or risk losing it despite existing or traditional law. HEKS/EPER therefore helps them, through numerous projects, to secure long-term access to land and resources, both practically and legally.