Welcome to the landlocked Republic of Niger, where 80% of the land is desert and the heat can be so intense that rain often vaporises as it falls. The life expectancy at birth in Niger is 41 years, 12% of all infants die before their first birthday and most of the population is under 17 years old. The 2013 United Nations Human Development Index rates Niger as the poorest and least developed country in the world.
By faith, we see a church holy and mature in Christ, transforming Nigerien society and beyond.
Though Niger is predominantly Muslim, surprising openness to the Gospel exists among some sectors of the population. Thanks to famine relief efforts, many Fulani have opened to the Gospel. There is also encouragement in the outreach to the Tamajaq with a vision to reach the Arab community as well.
SIM’s vision is expressed through a variety of ministries in partnership with the Nigerien church and other organisations: Bible translation and literacy, evangelistic outreach, theological education, discipleship, worship ministries, general education teacher training, and media publication, as well as various medical and community development initiatives.
Sahel Academy provides education for MKs from many missions including SIM. SIMAIR provides air service for missionary travel, supplies and medical emergencies.
Niger has 15 people groups in which less than 20% of the population has any affiliation with a Christian church. There is openness—albeit general unresponsiveness—to the Christian message with many Muslims willing to listen. Radio Station ELWA and the new Radio Espoir in Niger’s capital, Niamey, have helped prepare the hearts of many nomadic Tamajaq and Fulani. Some Fulani, feeling the effects of famine, are opening up to the message of Jesus due to the response of Christians who brought relief.
History of Christianity
The church in Niger is small and faces tremendous pressure from Islam. Nevertheless, national believers have a growing vision for church planting and evangelism. Challenges include a shortage of pastors, educated Christian women and a mature, well-trained leadership.