Niger Educational System Associates partner with Malaria Foundation International
NESA and MFI members
Recognizing that Ending Malaria requires much more than bednets, the Niger Educational System Associates (NESA) partners with the Malaria Foundation to implement a long-term plan focused on education and economic development.
The Malaria Foundation International (MFI) is proud to join forces with the Niger Educational System Associates (NESA) to work towards fighting malaria in Niger Republic, West Africa; one of the poorest countries in the world, with a GDP of $781 per capita. Executive members of both organizations (see photo) met for the first time in Atlanta, GA USA to discuss and agree upon common goals.
According to NESA, which is led by a group of volunteer professionals from Niger Republic, in order to fight the malaria disease, it is critical to work towards achieving improved living conditions for the people of Niger. Education of the children was viewed as the single most important priority towards attaining long-term sustainable success in the fight against malaria. Additionally, ensuring the development of functional health clinics and the proper diagnosis and treatment of the disease was regarded as particularly important.
The Founder and President of NESA, Dr. Mamane Nassirou Garba Meidadji, knows the devastation of malaria first hand, and has firm convictions regarding what is important in his country. He has suffered repeated bouts of malaria, as have all his family members. Worse, in 2006, his 29-year old brother Zakari Garba Meidadji died of the disease. “My brother went to the hospital on Sunday and died by Thursday,” said Dr. Meidadji. “This disease affects us all: children, men and women. Without increased knowledge and the development of functioning clinics with trained medical staff and treatment, such needless death will continue day in and day out for years to come. NESA is taking a long-term approach to end such unnecessary death and suffering and improve the quality of life for people in Niger”.
Discussions initiated by NESA with the MFI centered on the importance of education, in general terms, and specifically about malaria. The vast majority of people in Niger are illiterate (71.3%) and NESA has made progress towards seeing this change. In recent years, the Red Cross and the Global Fund for Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria have provided millions of bednets and funds designated for artemisinin combination therapies to the people of Niger. However, according to NESA members, the number of malaria cases has not been reduced and they personally do not view bednets as the top priority. As professed by Dr. Meidadji, “Niger is in Africa at the southern end of the Sahara Desert, where it is hot, very dusty, and using bednets is very uncomfortable. We need to be sure people can be diagnosed and treated effectively, and that a long-term plan including the future possibility of vaccination, if a vaccine is in fact ever successfully developed and implemented, is considered to help End Malaria in Niger.”
Members of NESA have pooled their resources to provide educational materials to teachers and children in Niger, and to pay teachers to hold summer sessions for the children. In Niger, many children do not own the basics: pencils and paper, let alone books. Staying in school through the summer in a nurtured environment is providing the stimulus needed for their advancement. Recent exam scores are in fact showing that students in the NESA programs are beginning to excel.
NESA also provides incentives, including book bags for the highest achieving students. NESA members collected over 800 ‘used’ conference bags from their professional colleagues in the United States and distributed these to the highest achieving students. “It is amazing how the students become empowered with such gestures,” said Dr. Meidadji. “Little by little, through the generosity and commitment of a dedicated group of NESA partners, teachers and government officials are starting to recognize that they can be the instruments of change for a whole generation,” added Mr. Aboubacar Amadou-Idé, Director of programs of the organization.
According to the MFI’s President Dr. Mary Galinski, “We are pleased to partner with NESA, listen to their priorities, and see where we can start to fill the gaps. It has been encouraging to see the teachers’ and students’ excitement and progress resulting from the little cash and pro bono assistance we have been able to provide to date.” The MFI stimulated NESA’s projects with several thousand dollars raised by one of its partners, Choi Kwang Do Martial Arts International, which joined forces with the MFI one year ago with the goal to stimulate awareness and education projects to fight malaria. Together they are reaching students of all ages around the world, promoting the End Malaria – Blue Ribbon Campaign (EM-BR) and developing a global Student Leaders Against Malaria (SLAM) network.
Niger Summer Enrichment Program
In July 2006, Mamane Garba and some of his colleagues from Niger living in the United States established the Niger Summer Enrichment Program (NSEP) with the purpose of sponsoring a Summer head-start program for elementary school students. The program included two (2) schools with ten classes in Niamey the capital of Niger. In addition to the school program, he collected school bags and supplies donated by CDC, Atlanta, employees to reward the best students at the end of the program. In 2006, they rewarded the top twenty of each class. The first year Summer Enrichment program was a success in their community with measurable endpoints during the school year.
In 2007, the NSEP sponsored four (4) schools including the previous two of 2006, CDC employees continued to kindly donate their used bags with school supplies and the MFI facilitated the purchase of educational material and then sponsored Mamane’s visit to Niamey to personally deliver the goods and to educate the teachers about malaria. The top thirty students from each class were rewarded with a bag including school supplies.
Upon launching of the End Malaria Blue Ribbon Campaign (EM-BRC) in Atlanta, GA in November 2006 and understanding the need of educating, training and informing the targeted population and the next generation on the biology, the impact and the burden malaria and the dangers of the illicit drug, we decided to join the EM-BRC by designing a poster that combines the life cycle of malaria and the message from of the Fight campaign against the illicit drug market (ReMeD) for teachers and children in these schools. I have to mention that joining the EM-BRC help in the transportation of the school bags and supplies collected to the NSEP selected schools in Niamey, Niger. We are grateful to the Malaria Foundation International for the coordination of these activities.
At the end of the NSEP 2007 which involved four (4) schools with fifteen (15) classes, the directors of the all four schools, fifteen teachers and advisors of the Niamey School System learned about the life cycle of malaria and the importance of recognizing counterfeit medications. The Niger National Malaria Program and the Faculty of sciences of the University Abdou-Moumouni of Niamey supported and participated in the malaria training program.
The following pictures were taken during the last days of the Summer Program. It included a session specially designed for training teachers on the basic principles of malaria.
Meet the NSEP Team:
Mamane N. Garba is a Research Scientist from Niger, West Africa. He earned his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Bamako in Mali in 2003 where he studied molecular markers of drug resistance in malaria parasites. Currently, he conducts research in a project dedicated to monitor drug resistance in malaria within the Malaria Branch laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA. Malaria kills more than one million people each year. Ninety percent of the deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Growing up in West Africa, he noticed that this affliction constitutes a social, economic and political burden to his population. Thus, he decided that ending this disease must be the first aim of the twenty-first century.
Aboubacar Amadou-Ide is a statistician and an educator from Niger Republic, in West Africa. He earned a Bachelor degree in Statistics, a Master’s degree in Administration and Supervision with emphasis in Instructional Design and Technology, and is now pursuing a doctorate program with the Louisiana Education Consortium (GSU-LTU-ULM). He has been since 2001 working as French and Mathematics teacher, and educational technology facilitator and Leader for the Ouachita Parish School System, Monroe, LA. The living conditions of the Niger population are of no secret to Mr. Amadou-Ide. For five years (1995-2000), as a statistician and a specialist of surveys, he has toured seven (7) of the eight (8) regions of Niger, investigating education and health related issues. This is an experience he would like to replicate, but this time around with the means of providing for that parent who was watching helpless his child dying of “fever”, and helping that other child with all that he needs to succeed in school. Why should a school continue to have year after year less than fifty per cent (50%) of its students passing the exit exam?
Nafissa Seydou is a Marketing Graduate with experience in women's micro finances and in law.
Mahaman Laouali Djibril has been in charge of the social and cultural Affairs within the Nigerien Association Of Michigan, providing assistance to the children, families and individuals who are affected by health issues, and by social and economic problems. He loves to help people discover options, enhance skills, and make choices that lead to self-sufficiency and positive involvement. He brings vast experience from his work with the University Of Michigan health services and the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation in Niger.
Nafissa Bako is a finance/banking professional from Niger. She is passionate about getting involved and helping her country achieve economic development. She also believes that the best way to improve Niger’s economy and well being is to support its educational system and provide resources and incentives for the youth to learn and grow.
Aboubacar Harou-Kouka is a chemist, he is bringing his experience in the malaria control program as a graduate from the University Ibn Tofail in Kenitra, Morocco.
Maman Bachir Ibrahim Almagir was an educator for ten years in Niger before arriving to the US to further his studies. He is currently a supervisor in a local company. He has served in different organizations both in Niger and in the US, he knows that the reputation of an organization and programs relies on a good communication skill.
Seidou Mohamed is a graduate from the University of Say, Niger. He is currently a law enforcement agent, the general secretary of the council of the Nigeriens in the US, and the president of African Community Services, New York branch.
Khayou H. Ikhiri is furthering her study in Human Resource Management in the US. She got her certificate and diplomas 1 and 2 in Human Resource Management in Accra (Ghana) at the Entrepreneurship Training Institute, a representative of the Associate of Business Executive in the UK. growing up in Niger, she understands the burden of malaria over her people and is convinced that Niger will be one day a malaria-free country.
For more information about the NSEP, please contact:
Mamane N. GARBA, Pharm.D.