population connection june cover

June 2021

The Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa suffers from drought, depleted soils, rising seas and overfishing along the coasts, and chronic hunger. Climate change is a “threat multiplier,” contributing to migration and civil conflict. Another threat multiplier? Extremely high fertility and population growth rates. Early marriage and childbearing, low educational attainment, and unmet need for family planning are common. The United States should invest more in helping to tackle these problems, for the sake of women and girls, their families, and their futures.

Cover Image: Hawa, a Wodaabi member Departments of the Sabgari Clan, pauses for a portrait among other family members at their camp in Bermo, Niger, on June 24, 2019. The Wodaabe People, a sub-group of the Fulani, are nomadic cattle herders and traders in the wider Sahel region. Their migrations stretch from southern Niger through northern Nigeria, northeastern Cameroon, southwestern Chad, and the western region of the Central African Republic. Higher temperatures, shifting winds and moisture levels that alter rainfall patterns, sandstorms, torrential rain—all can change the quality or even the location of pasture on which migrating herders depend. (Marco Longari/AFP via Getty Images)
"The flood of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) are now beginning to overwhelm the impoverished nations of the Sahel, which are already struggling with a lack of jobs for their booming populations, climate change, and cyclical bouts of mass hunger." Will Brown, The Telegraph
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Photo, right: “You know, before there were not many residents here. But now, there are too many people. So, the little space there was left for cultivation and for grazing has now been totally cultivated,” explains Harouna Garba, a cattle breeder of 15 years who lives in Maradi, Niger. (UNOPS/Ricci Shryock)

Black man stands in front of his cattle
infographic about family planning and girls' education in the Sahel region of Africa