Niger (MNN) — In Niger, malnutrition affects a large portion of people, especially children under the age of five.
“Statistics show that every woman in Niger has 7.5 children, and that is between 40 and 50 percent of the children in Niger, and these children are under the age of five. And all the children are pretty much malnourished, like severely malnourished,” Christian Aid Mission’s Sarah Simba says.
Of the 18 million people in the nation, the World Food Programme (WFP) says more than 1.5 million people were affected by food insecurity last year and millions more experience food shortage during every lean season. Between 20 and 30 percent of people cannot meet their food needs depending on rainfall, agricultural production, and other contributing factors.
Seeing the need for proper nutrition and health practices, a Christian Aid ministry partner established a medical clinic to help children. They later expanded their program to include maternity services.
“Both malnourishment and improved maternal care have been very, very… successfully managed in Niger,” Simba says. “Their vision was to establish an oasis of hope for mothers and children by providing to them holistic health services… education, health education in many, many, many community [outreaches].”
Their work is reaching eleven villages and providing nutrition and immunizations. In each center, there are trained nurses running the programs.
Overall, around 450,000 people are reached through their medical ministry work.
“This is a very strategic ministry because this project was just a launching pad for three major projects. So, the first one is the major outreach to different villages that they have right now [in] eleven villages. And the second project they use is a solar-irrigation, which is currently being implemented next to the clinic to provide food and other help to the patients.”
The third major project conducted by the ministry is sharing the hope of Christ and planting churches.
Ministry through Medicine
“The ministry we assist in Niger, they use their clinic vision to minister to all poor people. But, they don’t only target the people that are just poor, but every person that comes in contact with them,” Simba says.
Only about one percent of the Niger population is Christian. The dominant religion is Muslim. In fact, 80 percent of the people follow Islam.
Yet, addressing the people’s physical needs opens doors to minister. As the people see how loving and kind the ministry workers are, they listen to the Gospel truth and are told how much Jesus loves them.
“A [ministry] leader in Niger has shared with us how it’s an awesome task to be called both in the U.S. and in Africa and throughout the world to be ambassadors in Christ, and He said in all times, in all situations, as ambassadors, we are presenting the Kingdom of God,” Simba shares. “And he said, this is our challenge today, this is our privilege, and this is our passion.”
Simba encourages you to pray for courage, boldness, and unity of the believers in Niger so they will be strong witnesses in the name of Christ. She also encourages you to pray for authorities as they make decisions to increase sustainable development in the nation.