Tahoua, located in southwestern Niger on the border between cultivated farmland and a drier, pastoral zone, is an important market town for traders. The more than 80,000 inhabitants living in the region are affected by crop failures and recurrent droughts. Conflicts in the border areas with Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria have displaced thousands of people in several regions, including Tahoua. Families living here struggle to feed their children and many have no access to health care and education.
Since 2008, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Tahoua.
Due to violence in Tahoua by extremist groups; and growing instability in neighboring countries Burkina Faso, Mali, and Nigeria, thousands of people have been displaced within Niger. In 2021, 140,000 people were displaced in the Tillaberi and Tahoua regions - 78,000 were children. Violence and forced displacement disrupt the lives of children, leaving many living with trauma. Children are at risk of separation from their families and exposure to sexual abuse, child labour and recruitment by armed groups. People who are displaced tend to live in makeshift camps and areas with poor sanitation and healthcare.
More than 22,000 children were affected in 2020 when over 300 schools were forced to close in Niger due to insecurity. Children in Tahoua and nearby regions were especially affected due to insecurity as armed conflicts escalated.
Education, which is free and compulsory for 8 years in Niger, is a child’s right. School can also be a safe place, protecting children from abuse, exploitation and recruitment by armed groups. Attacks on schools deny children the right to develop the skills they need.