Winds of change blowing through the Bororo community of Bermo
Written by Medji Abdou, Project leader for the “Schooling of young BORORO and keeping girls in school” ASPEL.
Education is a major issue for the Nigerien population, especially the nomadic populations. In a society that is highly rooted in culture and in perpetual displacement, education is not the only concern, there is also early marriage and marriage by abduction in the Bororo community. The NGO ASPEL, Voice’s partner on the empowerment accelerator, is implementing the project: “Schooling of BORORO youth and keeping the girl child in school”.
To do this, the approach used is to be close to the population in order to have information and mobilisation meetings with the different actors in the commune to encourage everyone to support this project. The launch of the project’s activities saw the participation of administrative and customary leaders and local actors.
We continued the activities with an awareness-raising caravan on the social, psychological, health and economic consequences of early marriages and marriages by abduction, commonly known as “tchiré”.
The aim is to make the rightsholders and decision-makers of the Bororo community aware of the harmful effects of this practice.
We have called on a doctor to explain and discuss the negative impacts of early marriage on health and the psychological trauma it can create in the victim, and a religious figure to remind them of the importance of educating young girls.
It should be remembered that the Bororo community of Bermo, which includes many Christians, is becoming increasingly settled, which gives us a glimmer of hope for the future of the young girl. Since the first phase of the project, we have created a certain enthusiasm and awareness among the girls themselves, especially with the creation of a network of former school girls from Bermo. This network serves as solid support to show once again the importance of keeping girls in school, as many of them have enrolled in the Bermo CFM (vocational training centre), which opened its doors following a plea we made to the President of the Regional Council of Maradi.
Also, many of them are now expressing the desire to enrol. The hope of total change is thus permitted in the near future.