“Only work sets you free!”
According to Rachida, a Nigerien student and farmer
Compiled by Rahamatou Diarra, Project Officer, Voices of the communities through a broadcasting show, FUPGN Mooriben, Niger
The Voice of Communities through Broadcasting project is an innovative idea of the Nigerien farmers movement called FUGPN-Mooriben. They have set up a community radio show called MADALLAH, the spitting image of the French game show “Questions for a champion”. In the pilot phase of this show, rural actors from 50 communes compete and shine. One of its participants is student and farmer Rachida Hamadou. This champion tells her story here…
My name is Rachida Hamadou. I am 23 years old and in my senior year of school. I am also an agricultural producer in Kokorou, Tillabéri region. I am a member of a women’s group, called Alkawali, which is part of the network of unions and groups that make up the movement FUGPN-Mooriben, a Voice Innovate and Learn grantee.
I like the practice of rain-fed farming because it coincides with the school holidays. So I have time to devote myself to it fully.
I grow groundnuts, cow peas, sorghum and sesame. I harvest an average of 18 large bags of 100 kgs each per harvest, filled with groundnuts. My group has groundnut processing equipment and our members support me by processing my groundnuts into groundnut oil.
Most of the women in the group don’t know how to read and write, so I assist them in writing documents such as minutes of meetings and end of year reports.
With the help of my agricultural production, I manage to support my mother with my school-related expenses. I am currently enrolled at the African Institute of Technology (IAT) in Niamey and I have contributed to paying more than half of my school fees, amounting to 300,000 FCFA (about 460 Euro). I also manage to contribute to my family’s living expenses.
I represented my commune at Madallah, a platform for showing the skills and hearing the voices of small scale farmers. My motto is “Bon douri kala goy”, which means “only work sets you free” in Djerma or Zarma the local language.
I think we are very lucky because the COVID 19 pandemic has not interfered with our activities. This is because the lockdown coincided with the usual period of agricultural inactivity. I hope that the health authorities will bring it under control soon because it affects us all as humans.