Surrounded by the vast Sahara desert, Niger experiences intense droughts, poor soil conditions and the gradual spread of the desert.
Floods and epidemics are common in urban areas because of the lack of adequate infrastructure and systems to treat waste water and properly manage sewage sludge.
Access to public services like safe drinking water and household sanitation is still limited despite some progress.
The use of clean drinking water improved from 34 per cent in 1990 to 58 per cent in 2015, however, open defecation – one of the most unsanitary hygiene practices where fields, bushes, forests, streams, rivers and other open spaces are used as toilets – is still practiced by 71 per cent of the population. Diarrhea, a water-borne illness, is the second biggest killer of children in Niger.