Zooming in on Dimitra Clubs in the Niger: Niamey meeting highlights gender-sensitive communication tool
Earlier this month, FAO Representative in the Niger, Lassaad Lachaal, launched "Zoom on the Dimitra Clubs in Niger," a one-day meeting on the key role of Dimitra Clubs in the country's development of rural communities through information and gender-sensit
© FAO / Eliane Najros
The meeting, held on 4 May 2016, brought together over 60 participants, including women and men leaders, elected local officials, traditional leaders and government officials, and representatives from the United Nations as from national and international NGOs.
"The Dimitra Clubs are adapted to the context of rural areas because they address a variety of topics such as food security, nutrition, increase in agricultural production, adaptation to climate change, health, education, access to markets and services, economic empowerment of women," said Mr Lachaal.
He cited a recent example from Gamdou, in the eastern part of Niger, in which discussions on climate change within the Dimitra Clubs had led local women to come up with "the ingenious idea to collect, dry and store Jew’s mallow for sale in the city as a condiment."
"The profitable selling prices helped to alleviate the shortfalls due to low production of millet as the result of unpredictable rainfall," Mr Lachaal added. "This idea was taken up by the surrounding villages and even beyond. This became an example of an interesting endogenous social protection mechanism established by the community to adapt to change by creating a new market."
FAO-Dimitra Clubs were first established in Niger in 2009. Thanks to the success of their initiatives, their number has significantly increased and there are currently more than a thousand. They are present in 247 villages, spread out in 27 towns of 6 regions. They include 25 335 direct members, of which 16 270 (nearly 60 percent) are women.
"We have taken on the responsibility of our existence, the health of our environment, of our children and we have also understood that we need to ban certain practices such as forced marriage and early marriage," emphasized Zouera Nouhou, a woman leader of the Banizoumbou village, located some 60 km east of Niamey.