A little quiet on the blogging front and probably an indication of the demands of the week long shoot in Niger - long days, 40C+ heat and constant camera care. Slow net speeds impeded ftping, and while mobile phone coverage was great throughout the country, it was frustrating not being able to get my German phone to work on the local network or to send SMS text messages overseas via the local sim card.
The statistics and development indicators show that Niger is a country that faces a lot of problems. Child mortality for under five year olds is high. One in five children will die before reaching five. Less than half the population has access to clean water and adequate health care. And, it's estimated that more than 60% of Nigeriens live on less than a dollar a day.
Accompanying members of UNICEF's Executive Board was a great opportunity to explore the country and to see and hear first hand what people had to say from all tiers of society.
My main role was to document the board's visit and along the way capture material for short video features on education, malnutrition and child protection. The first video is up on the UNICEF website (right hand side of page). Shot over the first part of the trip, it was part edited in Maradi and completed in the back of a 4WD on the way back to Niamey. Sending by ftp to UNICEF HQ in New York took around 9 hours.
Personally, the most interesting part of the trip was to see what measures are now in place among NGO's to monitor and treat malnutrition following the food crisis of 2005.