The association MADéLA (Mener des Actions de Développement Durable en Afrique), which has been active for several years in Niger, puts its skills to the service of the populations of the remote bush villages.
By preferring to "teach fishing" rather than "give fish" to the villagers, it is developing two action guidelines: training, through the construction of teaching and rural development centers aimed at unschooled youths aged 16 to 20, as well as the development of projects placed under the sign of population self-sufficiency.
These aims have already served to inaugurate two teaching centers at Tidirka (a village 150km from Niamey) and at Tchambanga.
Methodological and technical training
At Tidirka, where the center has been running since September 2006, the villagers have drawn up their development project alongside the association. To guarantee their food security, create local economic activity with surplus products for sale, and to stanch the rural exodus, they have decided to go into truck farming activities. A hectare of land has already been dedicated to this project, and the villagers decided that each family - about a hundred in all - would receive a plot that it could cultivate for its own needs.
For the project to thrive and strengthen over the years, however, it still has to satisfy three major prerequisites: the current difficulty of access to water; the straying of the herds with the risk of ravaging the future crops; and the agricultural ignorance of the population. MADéLA has therefore approached the association Microfel (Microréalisations dans le secteur des fruits et legumes - Micro projects in fruits and vegetables), an association purveying the unpaid skills of engineers, technicians and fruit and vegetable producers. Together, they will advise and help the villagers construct a well equipped with a hand pump, a solid irrigation network, and fences around the construction zone.
Throughout these projects, the villagers involved will receive technical and methodological training designed to enable them to take charge themselves of making the activity permanent.
The Veolia foundation supports this project, which responds to a precise need of the local population and fits into the national objectives of poverty eradication set up by Niger.
And the Foundation's accompaniment can rely on a deeply involved sponsor: the operations manager of Société d'Exploitation des Eaux du Niger (Veolia Eau) - of the neighboring town of Dosso, 10km away.