CRS History in Niger
Niger gained independence from France in 1960. In 1974, a military coup overthrew the civilian president, and for more than two decades Nigeriens endured political turmoil.
Catholic Relief Services arrived in Niger in the early 1990s. The program was a satellite of CRS Burkina Faso until it became a country program in 1999, the same year President Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara was assassinated in another coup. Baré had taken control of the country by force in 1993. A new constitution was approved in July 1999, and legislative and presidential elections followed later that year. Tandja Mamadou, the current president, won the elections.
In 2004, a severe rainfall shortage coupled with a locust infestation led to the most serious food crisis in 20 years. Following the widely failed harvests, grain prices rose on the markets and the price of staple foods soared. CRS was part of an assessment in April 2005 that identified 3.6 million Nigeriens as not having enough food.
In response to the crisis, CRS Niger collaborated with the government of Niger, the World Food Program, the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and Caritas Niger to implement an emergency program. The response reached thousands of Nigeriens.