The development of civil society in Niger has developed increased self-confidence in recent years. From independence until the end of Kountché’s reign, non-governmental organizations (German NRO, otherwise: NGO / ONG, Organization Non Gouvernemental) were of a religious or social character. International organizations only appeared more intensively in the context of emergency aid during the drought in the early 1970’s: Care International, SOS International, Caritas International and many others followed suit. Local organizations were also founded in the 1990’s. The number is now almost unmanageable. International, national, bilateral, ethnic and other motivated NGOs work in Niger; organizes on a semi-governmental level up to almost private individual activities, which, well disguised, often serve private interests. Political liberalization,
According to ehealthfacts, a massacre among demonstrating students in February 1990 heralded “the birth of civil society in Niger”. As a result, a number of NGOs and other civil society institutions – e.g. independent media – or emancipated themselves from previous state dominance (e.g. the trade union umbrella organization USTN (Union des Syndicats des Travailleurs du Niger). However, this awakening took place in the mid-1990’s Years were put as a damper by the military coup and a subsequent period of authoritarian rule, in which civil society representatives were not only robbed of various freedoms, but were also repeatedly exposed to political violence.
Uprisings of students in May 2014. Show maladministration in the management of, because the new 3000 dossier for study support were to a considerable backlog. It happens again and again that representatives of civil society are arrested; the situation between state authority and civil society is not yet free of conflict.
To better understand the “ NGO landscape ” in Niger, a few examples are given. The trade union umbrella organization USTN was founded in 1978 as a state-controlled association. In the course of the democratization developments in the country, he has been independent since the 1990’s and has since played an important role in labor and socio-political disputes, but also in the democratization movement. The oldest and proven NGOs in Niger include: Karkara (village development), ANDDH (Association Nigérienne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Hommes – human rights), which was founded by lawyers in 1991, and Afrique Verte (care).
Many NGOs could also be described as professional organizations, e.g. AREN (Association pour la Redynamisation de l’Èlevage au Niger), FNEN Daddo, PFPN (Plat Forme Paysanne du Niger) and many others. Your professional goals are the improvement of animal and field management and thus the living conditions, supply of (good) water, improvement of health care for humans and animals, school education etc.
Nowadays, more and more individual organizations are joining together to form umbrella associations in order to better advocate the achievement of the same goals and to be able to work more efficiently. The oldest of these is the GAP (Groupement des Aides Privés), founded in 1974, with around 40 national and international members. Other associations are CAPAN / Collectif des Associations Pastorales) – Interethnic association of animal keepers; Djingo – an amalgamation of Wodaabe organizations. Quite a few organizations are regionally specific, like some organizations and associations in Agadez.
Human rights groups which are committed to the legal and actual abolition of slavery in the country are very active. Under the leadership of the NGO Timidria, they achieved a success with the parliamentary ban on slavery in Niger in May 2003! The human rights movement ANDDH is also very active here.
Another – not only – civil society issue is corruption, against which the Association Nigérienne de lutte contre la corruption (ANLC) works.
Unfortunately, several non-governmental organizations show the following weaknesses:
- Too wide range of goals and work areas
- Lack of a concrete vision from the NGOs
- Financial shortage
- Structural weaknesses
- Motivation is often oriented towards paid work, but not towards the work goals of the NGO
- Functional mentality
In addition to these organizational structures, many service and consulting offices started their work in the 2000’s. Their creation was massively promoted by the development organizations and supports the development and strengthening of the private sector. Many international partners of Niger, the German GIZ, attach importance to the strengthening of civil society and motivate them to work on the base to attach sufficient importance.
Special personalities of Niger
El Hadj Boubacar Bello (Dr. of Islamic Studies, Al-Azhar University, Cairo) – died September 2015 – was ambassador for Niger. His great commitment – led with passion – was aimed at bringing together the organizations of pastoral ethnic groups (CAPAN – Collectif des Associations Pastorales du Niger) so that they can experience more appreciation and adequately represent their rights, interests and needs. The support of all agricultural ethnicities and groups has always been close to his heart. El Hadj Boubarcar Bello also initiated the Chamber of Agriculture in Niger (RECA -Réseau des Chambres d’Agriculture du Niger) – with just as much initiative – and was ultimately also President of the Chambers of Agriculture in West Africa (RECAO – Réseau des Chambres d’Agriculture de l’Afrique de l’Ouest). A loyal,
Mamane Abou – died in July 2020 – was one of the pillars of the private press in Niger. He founded the Neue Druckerei im Niger (INN) and his newspaper Le Rèpublicain is known for extensive reporting. Mamane Abou installed and managed the Sahara FM radio in Agadez, initiated the Conference Nationale Souveraine. He headed the Commission Crimes et Abus (Commission for Crimes and Abuse) with sovereignty and discipline.