The Bilma community has mined the salt pans in the massive Ténéré desert region in northern Niger for centuries. But the threat of the ever-encroaching desert has become a real concern as locals here struggle to cope with a decline in salt prices.
About 20 communities in Tillabéri, west Niger, have been declared open defecation-free zones as across the country, very few people have access to proper sanitation.
Malian refugees in Mangaïze, northwest Niger, are keen to return home to start work and be able to support themselves once more.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by heavy flooding along the Niger River over the last few weeks. Niger, Mali and Benin have been particularly hard hit, with dozens of deaths, tens of thousands of houses destroyed and vast areas of farmland submerged by rising waters.
When her name is called, Rékia Djibo leaves the group of women gathered in front of the school in Toula, and takes a confident step towards the door. Djibo is one of the recipients of a cash transfer from the World Food Programme here on the outskirts of the southwestern Niger city of Tillabéri.
Four figures bend intently over their work in one corner of the large vegetable garden near the western Niger village of Dioga. Months after the village's main harvest has been brought in – and eaten up – the irrigated green of the garden is welcome relief in a part of the country where hunger never seems far away.
Bitterness is written all over Boureïma Hamado's face as he prepares to return home after selling his onion crop at the Katako market in the Nigerien capital, Niamey. He's taken a big loss on the harvest.
The little village of Chinagoder, on the Niger-Mali border, has become a refugee camp, flooded with Malian families fleeing fighting between their regular army and Tuareg rebels known as the MNLA - the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad.
Women have been left in charge of many of the households in the village of Zamkoye-Koïra, in western Niger, as food shortages have driven male family members to leave in search of work elsewhere. A national survey of vulnerable households shows that 5.4 million people face food insecurity across Niger.
In anticipation of growing sorghum during the coming rainy season, Hamadou Abdou and his son are busy preparing the soil on the family's farm in Bougoum, a village in the west of Niger.
Bacharou Gorel had 300 head of cattle before the food security crisis began in Niger. Today he has only 53 left.
In April, the United Nations World Food Programme estimated it would need 190 million dollars to respond to a food crisis threatening more than 7 million people in Niger. By July, the WFP had revised the amount needed upwards to $371 million: a month later, the U.N. agency has been forced to scale back aid for lack of funds.
The cows Djibo Hama looks after belong to someone else, but he is diligent. Anticipating a severe shortage of good grazing in 2010, he secured cattle feed for the 35 that remain.
As its promised transition to democratic rule begins, the military junta that overthrew Nigerien president Mamadou Tandja on February 18 has named a former information minister, Mahamadou Danda, as the new prime minister while retaining legislative and executive powers for itself.
Nigeria and Niger, in West Africa, are neighbouring states. But the two countries have more than a border in common; they are also share a number of river basins that are under threat, and the responsibility for conserving them.
Stretching over more than 4,000 kilometres, the Niger is West Africa's longest river, and greatly threatened in the country of the same name by environmental degradation that is causing the water course to silt up.
The new year is looking much like the old for certain residents of the "Pays-Bas" shantytown in Niger's capital, Niamey. Four months after seeing their homes demolished in the name of safety and security, they are still waiting for resettlement at an alternative, developed site promised by authorities.
As fears of its destruction mount, city authorities have taken steps to protect the forest, or the greenbelt, around Niamey and evict squatters living within its confines. The forest protects the city from encroaching desertification and the extremes of Niger's climate.
Abdou Adamou spends his days in a pit 50 to 80 metres below ground at the Komabangou gold prospecting site. His job involves hacking up rocks and raising them to the surface with a bucket.
"It’s not easy to give up a profession passed down to you by your parents that you’ve been at for years. But once you become aware of the grave harm you do others in this job, you have to quit," says Salmou Himadou.
There’s no doubting that authorities in Niger have a host of problems to grapple with. United Nations estimates put the number of people living beneath the poverty line in this country in the region of 60 percent – while life expectancy stands at about 46 years.