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Salimata and Amina: the journey of two sisters towards financial autonomy

Emergency Inclusion

Salimata and Amina live in Niger. Through the RECOSA project, HI has helped them to find a source of income and improve their household’s living conditions.

Salimata crouches in a straw and bamboo stable. She feeds an ox standing behind her, while looking at the camera.

Salimata taking care of the bullock she bought with her savings. Tallé, Niger. | © Ravi Productions / HI

Insecurity and violence reign in the cross-border regions between Burkina Faso and Niger. Food insecurity and a lack of economic opportunities, particularly for young people, are steadily weakening the already impoverished populations. To support them, HI and its partners - the Nodde Nooto association, the Burkinabe Red Cross / Spanish Red Cross, the NGO Karkara, Médicos del Mundo, Médecins du Monde Belgium, SongES Niger and Vétérinaires sans Frontières Belgium - have launched the RECOSA project.

Helping households escape from poverty

RECOSA is a project designed to strengthen the resilience and social cohesion of people living in vulnerable conditions in the cross-border regions of Burkina and Niger. Salimata and Amina (their names have been changed for privacy) have received support from HI as part of this project.

Salimata, a young woman in her late thirties, has a motor disability. She lives with her parents and sister Amina in Tallé, Niger. When the project teams first arrived, her family was living in extreme poverty. Moreover, without the resources to buy a wheelchair, Salimata’s mobility was very limited, making it difficult for her to find work.

Salimata’s financial autonomy

With the arrival of the project, Salimata was assisted in developing a sustainable source of income. She received a few goats and cash transfers, as well as training in the management of economic activities. She also received psychosocial support to help her cope with everyday difficulties.

"The project gave me a billy goat and three nanny goats. I also received cash on three occasions, which I saved up. With the first installment, I bought a bag of millet, corn, and three pairs of shoes; I also underwent medical treatment. The rest I saved. With the second installment, I bought three items of clothing, a bag of rice, condiments, and telephone credits. Again, I saved what I had left. The same goes for the third installment: I covered my household’s needs and saved the rest."

With her savings, Salimata bought an ox for agistment, a rearing technique used to fatten cattle quickly before selling them.

Village savings, a lever for autonomy

Amina has started selling fish. © Ravi Productions / HIAs for Amina, she joined a village savings and loan association. These associations enable community members to lend money to each other to strengthen their businesses, launch new activities, and diversify their sources of income with the support of the group. 

Amina took out a loan with the association to launch her fish-selling business. Thanks to HI's financial management coaching, she has been able to grow her business and repay her loan.

Today, due to the unwavering determination and efforts of these two sisters, their family has overcome the extreme poverty they had always known.

The project, designed to strengthen the resilience and social cohesion of vulnerable populations in the cross-border regions of Burkina Faso (Sahel region) and Niger (Tillabéri region), was launched in December 2019 and until December 2023. It is coordinated by HI and implemented by our organization and its partners: the Nodde Nooto association, the Burkinabe Red Cross / Spanish Red Cross, the NGO Karkara, Médicos del Mundo, Médecins du Monde Belgium, SongES Niger and Vétérinaires sans Frontières Belgium. Financed by the European Union,the project has had the following outcomes:
* 7,002 households have received seasonal cash transfers to protect their economic activities launched with the project’s support;
 * 225 people with disabilities have been provided with assistive devices, such as wheelchairs or walking sticks, and support to start up an economic activity;
* 671,956 people have improved access to basic social services;
* 389,905 people have been reached by radio broadcasts promoting peaceful coexistence and social cohesion.
Date published: 12/06/23


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