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March 25, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
March 25, 2011

RAIN fills an incredible void in development in the Niger. They communicate regularly with their donors and spend their money efficiently. I personally love the local-solutions focus and mindset of the organization.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

watching videos about RAIN's impact and reading newsletters about their successes and challenges.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

ensure a country director is hired asap (this is happening!!)

March 25, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
March 25, 2011

I've known Bess Palmesciano for many years and have followed her dedicated path to develop RAIN from it's inception. I've also written 2 major public tv series about Water - The Drop of Life, and A Dollar A Day, inspiring stories about escaping poverty, and know the value that RAIN brings to the people of the Sahel and Sahara deserts. In my support of this mission, I had the pleasure of hosting a benefit for RAIN in my living room, joined by several Tuareg and members of my community who were thrilled to learn about the culture and witness songs and artifacts that in turn support the endeavors of RAIN. I'm grateful to Bess and John Ahlgren, who have brought so much hope and sustenance to a people in grave need. This is a precious gift to humanity that needs to be nurtured and cultivated.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've followed the growth of this organization and promoted it among my family and friends.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

get greater press and recognition toward its continued growth.

March 14, 2011

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March 14, 2011

Bess Palmisciano, the nomads’ advocate

In 2002 a New Hampshire woman named Bess Palmisciano visited the Sahara Desert with her husband. This trip would change her life and the life of others forever.

Bess says, “There’s a mystery at the heart of it, an attraction I don’t
completely understand.”

The mystery lies in the remote Niger region of West Africa. The attraction is the legendary Tuareg and Wodaabe nomads who live in these beautiful and barren lands. Bess and her husband were
introduced to the vast Sahara by their Tuareg guide, Moussa Haidara. Bess saw the school Moussa
had attended as a child. But what had once been a bustling compound housing the residential school and its teachers with a dispensary and a garden to feed the students was now a cluster of
abandoned buildings. Niger’s support for its schools had shrunk with the nation’s economy. This
country is the poorest in the world.

Bess would return several times, digging deep to learn about the intriguing cultures, harsh life, and dire needs of these nomadic people who, in spite of increasing drought and political unrest, share
a sharp desire to improve their conditions.

And here it was that Bess found her calling. Starting with no knowledge of either the official French language or the people’s mother tongue, with no connections in the country save Moussa,
and with only the vaguest idea of how to obtain funding, she would not only help rebuild this school
but, in partnership with nomadic parents, create programs for the sustainable development of school
market gardens with drip irrigation systems as well as programs for community enterprises such as women’s artisan cooperatives and grain-grinding businesses that set aside half their profits for their schools.

That is how Rain for the Sahel and Sahara (RAIN) was born. Now,
nine years later, the non-profit
organization that grew out of a serendipitous journey has made a profound impact on the eduction,
health and food security of Niger nomads in many areas. In a region with a literacy rate under 10%
more and more children are enrolling in school. With Bess’s astute, hands-on guidance as Executive Director, RAIN has created libraries and market gardens, wells and updated irrigation
systems, women’s artisan cooperatives, scholarship and student mentoring programs, and has been tremendously effective in providing HIV/AIDS awareness and education. Parents, mostly women,
serve as mentors, encouraging children to stay in school, teaching after-school classes in traditional
skills, talking to them of opportunities for their futures – opportunities these illiterate mentors never
had but desperately want for their children. Recently the mentors were offered RAIN-designed
and sponsored bilingual literacy classes, learning to read and write in French as well as in their
own language.

The mysterious pull that the desert of Niger exerted on Bess Palmisciano has resulted in deep
friendships, long-term sustainable change, and a permanent relationship with the dunes of the
Sahara and its wanderers.
* * * * * * *

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

For nine years I've watched Bess work in Niger always marveling at her steady effort, the creative and positive ways she meets difficulties, her inspired programs which change to meet current circumstances, and the thrilled responses of the nomads, willing to cooperate and work, themselves, to improve their and their children's lives. I

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Provide Bess with greater financial support.

March 12, 2011

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March 12, 2011

We know that if we can educate girls so that they can read and write and do basic maths they will halve the number of babies they have and the children they do have will be educated and healthy. Educating and empowering women is the best way to support wome. It is not easy to find strong organisations that do this and RAIN is one of the best working in very very difficult and remote commun ities

I wanted to donate and volunteer for women in Nigere and this work really really makes a differece

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the monitoring and evaluation results are reported to the board sem-annually with independent evaluation

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

i would raise more money and broadcast their success

March 11, 2011

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March 11, 2011

RAIN operates in a region of Niger where you find the poorest of the poor. Already Niger is ranked as the poorest country in the world according to the UN's Human Development Index and if you are working in the poorest of the poor area, you are reaching some of the neediest people.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

working with young girls in school programs in the Air.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

expand their activiies

March 10, 2011

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March 10, 2011

RAIN celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year. We can look back on a decade of success that epitomises RAIN's mission, that is to support the nomadic and rural peoples of West Africa, with a current focus on Niger, one of the world's poorest countries.
RAIN has worked with communities
throughout Niger to create working partnerships to dig wells and plant market gardens, so as to make schools viable and so facilitating the education of young women. Our model is self-sustaining, relying on inputs from each community, and creating means by which young women learn skills that translate into jobs and small businesses, that in turn provide income, sometimes up to half of which is ploughed back into the community and into the appropriate RAIN programme.
RAIN's strength is that funds can be delivered directly to its programmes; RAIN's greatest challenge to to satisfy the demand for the introduction of its model

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Completion of five year strategic plan; expansion of funding from Foundations.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand and re-focus the Board

May 28, 2010

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May 28, 2010

My husband and I are very active in the international philanthropic community. I think RAIN is unique in many ways- primarily in the way that so much of the organization's budget is devoted to the programs themselves. Another unique aspect is how vested the entire community is in every program: from planning to execution. This seems to guarantee sustainability and success. Niger is the poorest country in the world, but we get positive stories of changes every week. I feel I'm really able to make a difference working with RAIN.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have never been to Niger and so cannot say I've directly witnessed the changes in peoples lives there from RAIN programs. Knowing, however, that my contribution helps make positive changes, especially in the lives of girls and women, is a great feeling

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Seeing the positive change over time to these villages as they benefit from RAIN programs.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Make sure more girls stay in school and get an education, a true rarity in Niger.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 28, 2010

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May 28, 2010

Throughout the years, I've seen RAIN grow and expand, and it's been very exciting for me to be a part of it. Every year, more girls in Niger are getting the help they need to stay in school- and more women are becoming literate, as well. What impresses me most is that it is all community based-entire families working to help other families, women helping girls, parents building schools, wells and gardens.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I am not a member of the population that RAIN serves; my exprience has been gratification in volunteering for this organization. I've learned so much about Niger and the nomadic culture.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

I have a real relationship with the people at RAIN and feel like I'm truly a part of the team.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Possibly permanently change how nomadic communities create sustainable change in Niger and all of West Africa.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 28, 2010

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May 28, 2010

RAIN is an outstanding non-profit in that it manages maximum impact for dollar given. It was begun by an energetic and compassionate lawyer who visited friends at the embassy in Niger about five years ago and who was overwhlemed and inspired by the need there and also by opportunity and resourcefulness of the nomadic people. Currently RAIN is paying particular attention to the needs of women and children and is developing a network of mentors that benefits both.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

speaking with visitors from Niger and from Americans who have travelled there. Schools, community gardens, AIDS education, embroidery collectives, mentoring programs are all part of the important work that RAIN successfully carries out.

More feedback...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 13, 2010

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May 13, 2010

I had the priviledge to work for RAIN and see the efforts and the benefits of all that it does for the Tuareg people and their children. The passion this organization brings is awe inspiring. RAIN helps the people of Niger overcome natural adversity by providing the resources and tools to thrive. They teach the children the power of nutrition, farming and education through their efforts with the school market gardens. And RAIN empowers women though the Artisan Cooperative initiative to bring their crafts to the US; which provides an income for themselves and the schools for the children. RAIN has so much more to offer!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my everyday life. I am thankful to Bess for giving me the chance to be involved with RAIN. I am proud to provide any of my skills for the betterment of these people.

More feedback...

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

move mountains!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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Assist with our craft sales, host a craft sale, help RAIN with online social networking, marketing and fund raising events.