In search of pasture, the nomadic Tuareg and Wodaabe of Niger roam the Sahara desert. The largely ignored and unassisted nomads inhabit the most desolate part of a destitute country that is ranked the worst place on earth to be a mother and child and the poorest country in the world.
The NOMAD Foundation has worked for 14 years in Niger helping the nomads support themselves using expertise that has sustained them for centuries. The foundation is now introducing new technologies such as solar power and water well drilling to bring them employment that will help them improve their lives.
Through its programming, the foundation focuses on five essentials: water, food, education, health and work. It has established a solar energy company, a well drilling company, gardens, cereal banks, and medical clinic, and a school; it also provides training in midwifery and healthcare, well drilling, solar fabrication and installation.
In addition, the foundation provides microloans to women skilled at embroidery, basket or mat weaving and leatherwork, which is sold at the Nomad Gallery in Ojai and at selected locations elsewhere. The foundation also helps the nomads with their herds through providing emergency feed during the annual dry season, vaccinations and assistance in rebuilding their herds.
As a result of its extensive experience with the Touareg and Wodaabe, the foundation is establishing the Tamesna Center for Nomadic Life, located on the annual migration route, which will provide a range of services in a centralized facility.
First Place in Country Award
Educating Africa Pan-African Awards for Entrepreneurship in Education, 2012
Founder & Executive Director
Nonprofit (donations + earned income)