This December, our Farmers of the Future project achieved a major breakthrough. We were invited to participate in Niger’s long-range planning conference, held every 5 years in Paris. The 2-day conference was hosted by Niger’s President and attended by over 500 people, including senior ministers of the government, heads of state from other West African countries and major players in international development.
John, Eliminate Poverty NOW’s president, was joined by Robin Mednick, President of Pencils for Kids who co-funds the program, and Hamani Djibo, President of LIBO, our local implementing partner.
The President of Niger and the Minister of Planning kicked off the meeting with the goals and priorities for the next 5 years. They include developing the rural areas of the country, increasing agricultural productivity, and empowering the forgotten half of the population – women! All are perfect fits with Farmers of the Future.
We were invited to speak at the break-out session on rural economic development. Robin presented on our behalf and the program was extremely well received. The Minister of Planning (a very impressive woman herself) has become a big supporter and we developed several promising leads during the 2 days we were there.
We will be following up on them when we visit Niger in January, so stay tuned.
Farmers of the Future is EPN’s most ambitious project, with the goal of changing the national mindset towards farming and enabling subsistence farmers to lift themselves out of poverty. In Paris, we took a giant step towards achieving that dream.