Our world is at a crossroads.
One path leads to the accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals and an end to extreme poverty, the other path leads to the widespread collapse of fragile states with horrific global consequences that are unprecedented in scale, severity, and persistence. The fate of the Sahel region of Africa will be the first determinant of which path will be taken and which future will be created. Conflict fueled by violent extremism and state fragility is spreading throughout the Sahel. There is no clear backstop preventing the spread of extremism across the continent. Extremists are exploiting vulnerabilities of marginalized populations in fragile states to gain footholds, launch attacks and grow. Fragile states are too weak to stop them. Access to meaningful choices is at the heart of this divide.
The ambitious vision set forth in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals is not on track – fragile states are experiencing an acute concentration of both poverty and extremism. Too dangerous for traditional NGOs to reach, these areas are ripe for extremists to exploit. Nuru International was formed to serve populations that would otherwise go unreached. Nuru creates the missing backstop and has spent the past decade proving a model to address this gap. Violent extremism cannot succeed without local support. By restoring agency, fostering resilience, and unlocking prosperity among vulnerable marginalized communities through sustainable livelihoods and increased social cohesion, Nuru deprives extremists of their local support.
The Sahel has the youngest population globally (14 years old) as well as one of the highest birth rates. Every year of conflict that persists is another year that peace becomes a more distant memory until it is fully erased. Nuru aspires to cultivate a homegrown, transformational vision of hope in the Sahel. Without intervention, the Sahel is destined to be mired in instability: a region of failed states with no memory of peace and an enduring safe haven and launchpad for extremism and terrorism, but together we can bring an alternative future into reality. A bold future where these same communities are thriving and contributing to a better world for everyone.
Nuru’s future work will be focused on the Sahel region.
Using remote sensing, satellite imagery, and geospatial analysis, Nuru has identified seventeen communities across three countries who are vulnerable to shocks like violent extremist organizations and climate change. Nuru’s vision over the next seven to ten years is to work together with these communities build “resilience corridors” where farmer communities are able to adapt and grow together in addressing extreme poverty along with the looming threats of a changing climate and the growth of violent extremist organizations.