How a woman in Niger is helping to build peace in her neighborhood
This is a story about a Ni Ima. Ni Ima lives in a neighborhood in Niamey, the capital city of Niger...
A Project of —
Peace Through Development II (PDev II)
In Ni Ima’s neighborhood, like in many neighborhoods in Niger, there are very few social services and violence between the local youth is a common occurrence.
But this is not a story about violence. This is a story about hope and change. In 2010 Ni Ima hoped she could change her neighborhood by creating a listener group made up entirely of women from the local area.
Each week the women got together, listened to the radio programs Sada Zamunci (a good governance show) or Gwadaban Matasa (a youth show), both created by EAI. They then talked about the topics raised in the programs, which usually included tolerance, mutual support and how to manage conflicts.
The group called themselves Tashi da Kanka (or Rise Up and Help Yourself) and very soon they started living up to their motto. Inspired by the positive messages presented in the radio programs, the group exchanged ideas on how to improve their living environment in their neighborhood and decided to set up a system to provide each woman with a small amount of money each week.
The custom, known as “Tontine”, represented for Ni Ima’s group an important opportunity to stop being financially dependent on men. Each woman in the group was asked to donate a certain amount of money and that pool of cash would then be given to one of the group members. The next week the same money collection or Tontine would take place and rotate to someone else in the group. This system benefited all of the women, since they could use the collected amount as a small investment to develop personal projects or boost their own small businesses – such as selling candies, or making and selling bread.
But the story of Ni Ima does not end there. By encouraging women to come to her home each week and participate in the Tontine, Ni Ima soon became extremely well known and respected. In a short period of time, she was seen as a leader in her community. She was even asked by the neighborhood chief to reconcile disputes between youth in the neighborhood using the messaging that her and her group had absorbed from the EAI-produced radio episodes they listened to each week.
Recognising that Ni Ima was making a real difference, the Peace Through Development project (PDEVII) provided her with additional grants to train local women on how to read and to carry out awareness-raising activities in the Fada, the community space where young people usually meet in her neighborhood.
This is how, the power of information can change lives. This is how relevant radio messages can transcend the FM waves and made Ni Ima and her women neighbours agents of education, empowerment and inspiration in their communities. This is how positive and bright stories like Ni Ima’s can become.
Thanks to PDEVII we learned a lot about empowerment, about countering violent extremism and we received several trainings that have helped us improve our way of life; we are more and more autonomous now.” Ni Matou Boubacar
Member of listeners’ club Tashi da Kanka