A story of breakdown…
How brave women disrupt the established order!
Byr Haidara Mohamed, Project Manager Timidria, Influencing grantee Voice au Niger
Whenever we talk about slavery, there is always a sudden jolt: ‘Does that still exist in Niger??? . ‘Yet survivors of this abnormality are many …
After the testimony of Alhousna, a survivor of the practice of Wahaya or 5th wife who defies all social norms and established clichés, one could hear some whispering in the room where the FailFair took place between Mali and Niger : ‘So, does it meant that what Timidria is talking about is real ?’
Unfortunately, not everyone has the courage and mental strength of Alhousna. There is still a lot of fear or embarrassment in talking about being «of slave descent» and many of these «alliances» remain purely economic because the victims think they cannot make a living otherwise.
However, the strength of character of the women of the groups that we are training has surprised us in a pleasant way. We then thought that these highly capable women no longer have to wait for the activities of the project in order to move forward.
For the record…
With the reframing of the project “Emancipation for the eradication of slavery in Niger”, the idea of training women leaders to make them “representatives” was born. The idea is to train the presidents of women groups so that they are better equipped to influence decision-making for a smooth running of their group, through female leadership. The idea was greeted with a lot of enthusiasm.
To achieve this, several topics were on the agenda: human rights, particularly those of women and children, female leadership in Niger and community life.
After a quick tour on human rights issues by exploring the national and international legal arsenal and during which the trainer did not fail to quote a sentence from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.
“Today we are equipped to go wherever a man can go, to speak out and claim women’s rights, the most important thing being to be able to express it well ” Tahanya Awjem from Tajaé.
Some figures were presented to the participants on the population of Niger as a reminder of how big the gap is. And although women make up more than 50% of the population of the country, in the project intervention area, no woman is mayor of municipality, prefect or governor. Even locally elected women are rare, even though there is no level of education required to be a city councillor. These figures had a ripple effect on these women, like waking up after a long sleep. “Since no level of education is required, we would like to take our chances, thank you for showing us the way”, said Delou Mahamane d’Abala.
Twenty-three women have received this training and are now “representatives” in their communities to pass on the information and good practices.
“ We are now aware that in order to lead, inspire, influence a group and a community, a leader must, above all, be brave and bring others forward, but also be humble, honest, transparent and welcoming ”, said Tourayatt Ismaghila from Tiguirnassi.
Since the end of the training, what we hear is encouraging
Indeed, since that training of «relay leaders “, we see that women are getting more and more active, saying that they have now understood the meaning of the Voice program, i.e. empowering their ability to make their own advocacy !