Why You Should Donate to Wells Bring Hope

by Catalina Macedo Giang

Niger is a country that has experienced more than her fair share of challenges. According to the 2019 UN Development Report, Niger ranked 189th out of 189 countries making it the poorest country in the world. With this poverty comes a lack of resources and infrastructure, which has a devastating impact on the population, particularly in the rural areas.

Over 64% of people in rural areas in Niger lack access to water.

Nine out of 10 Nigeriens don’t have access to the improved sanitation of even a simple latrine.

It’s because women and girls often walk four to six miles a day to collect water.

At first glance, it might seem that , as a landlocked nation,Niger simply lacks access to a reliable source of clean water, but that’s actually not the case. In reality, it is estimated that there are anywhere from 2.5 to 3 billion cubic meters of drinkable water. The challenge, however, is that this water is far from beyond reach, flowing in aquifers, which are 200-300 feet below ground. In fact, Niger ranks 8th highest of all African nations in terms of the productivity of its aquifers.

Groundwater storage for Africa – Panel (a) shows a map of groundwater storage expressed as water depth in millimeters  (Döll and Fiedler 2008). Panel (b) shows the volume of groundwater storage for each country. Source: IOPscience

Tragically, people in Niger die every day for lack of that which is plentiful just a couple of hundred feet below ground, clean water. Accessing that water requires expert water engineers and multi-million dollar drilling rigs to access the water, but once the well is drilled, there is no danger of it running dry. The people of Niger don’t need or want endless support. Once the well is drilled, life in the village is transformed for generations. Thanks to our partners at World Vision, we are able to jump start that change with just $6,100 – our cost for drilling a well. With your support, we can give Niger a chance at a brighter future.

References:

https://www.charitywater.org/our-projects/africa/niger

https://globaleducation.edu.au/case-studies/wells-and-pumps-in-niger.html

https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/climate-change-water-and-conflict-the-niger-river-basin

http://hdr.undp.org/en/2019-MPI

https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/7/2/024009

Humanitarian Response Plans and a New UN Office in Niger

by Michelle Nelson von Euw

Humanitarian aid organizations and the government of Niger are scrambling to design more targeted relief plans to respond to the recent upsurge in violence at the hands of armed groups in Niger. Violence in areas that border Burkina Faso, Mali, and Nigeria has created yet another challenge for already vulnerable populations in Niger. In addition to the violence, natural disasters like flash floods , plant diseases, and related agricultural epidemics, have increased since July 2019 and resulted in the destruction of a number of fresh water reservoirs, which in turn  caused the death of a large quantity of livestock. Unfortunately, according to recent weather forecasts, this situation is only expected to worsen over the coming year.

On November 20th, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released its funding overview which stated that its Niger Humanitarian Response Plan of 2019 required an additional $160.5 million (42% of the original target). This budget was put into place as a response to the “emergence of new humanitarian needs and the persistence of the needs not covered” by previous relief efforts. In 2019 alone, 1.6 million people in Niger faced food insecurity, 1.8 million suffered from malnutrition, over 437,000 refugees have been displaced, and over 295 security incidents were reported. The humanitarian crises facing Niger have been exacerbated by instability in neighboring countries which are ill-equipped to handle the influx of refugees and facing violent crime on their own. While it was unable to reach its goals in 2019, OCHA continues to reach out to previous donors in the hopes of completing its projects by the end of 2020. The targets of the response plan include:

  • Treating 381,700 children for malnutrition
  • Immunizing 110,000 children against measles
  • Providing access to safe drinking water for 95,000 people
  • Distributing household items to 143,500 people affected by violent conflict and natural disasters

 

As a result of the needs of the country, on December 9th the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, and the government of Niger formalized an agreement to open the first-ever UN Human Rights Office in the country. The debut of this new office serves as a symbol of Niger’s commitment to promoting human rights and protecting its citizens, particularly the most vulnerable: refugees, migrants, women, and children. The office will work to:

  • Strengthen democracy with the increased involvement of women and youth
  • Provide policy assistance to the Government of Niger to ensure the protection of economic and social rights
  • Support legal reform to administer justice and protect human rights
  • Assist the government of Niger with the construction of a human rights compliance framework

 

References:

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (2019). The Niger: Response Overview of December 2019. Retrieved from https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/CA7230EN.pdf

United Nations Children’s Fund. (2019). Niger Humanitarian Situation Report. Retrieved from https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/UNICEF%20Niger%20Humanitarian%20Situation%20Report-%2031%20August%202019.pdf

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. (2019). Niger: Humanitarian Situation Overview as of 06 December 2019. https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/ner_humanitarian_situation_overview_06112019.pdf

United Nations Office of the Hight Commissioner for Humans Rights. (2019). UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to Open Office in Niger. Retrieved https://reliefweb.int/report/niger/un-high-commissioner-human-rights-open-office-niger

The Wodaabe Gerewol festival

by Raphaela Barros Prado

Much has been written about Niger and the challenges it faces. According to the United Nations Human Development Index, Niger was ranked 187th of 188 countries in 2015 and 189th out of 189 countries in the 2018 report. The nation has grappled with a range of issues due to its land-lock position including inefficient agriculture, high fertility rates, poor educational levels, lack of infrastructure, poor healthcare, and more. Niger also suffers with security issues because of the cross-border influx of terrorists and  militant groups as they can easily cross the borders without having to cross the ocean. Besides, a land-lock country may also suffer with the sense of physical isolation as people feel they are unfortunate to depend on other countries and they end up having a local mindset instead of an international and open minded one. In this situation, old mindset kings can take advantage of the environment and will have more power and chance to rule the country for longer time besides  inhibiting  the progress of the nation .

Source – Dan Lundberg

Despite all the difficulties people in Niger face, have succeeded in keeping their traditions and culture alive. One example of this is the Gerewol Festival, which has been celebrated by the people in the Tahoua region for centuries. The weeklong festival is a ritual courtship competition held by the Wodaabe Fula people each year.  During Gerewol, young men wear traditional face paint and elaborate ornamental dress. They then line up to dance and sing in order to attract the young women in the village. It’s basically a male beauty contest!

Source –  Dan Lundberg – 1997 #274-24 Gerewol

The Wodaabe people value height and bright white teeth and eyes in men, so the male beauty contestants will roll their eyes and bare their teeth during the dance to impress the young women who are evaluating them. The judging is tense, with the young women walking down the line of dancers, poker faced in accordance with the Wodaabe pulaku, or code of behavior. Then woman each taps her favorite man, and everyone rushes in to celebrate and congratulate the winners – being selected is a huge honor. The women then return to their camps and wait. If the chosen men like them, they follow.

Source – Dan Lundberg

Thanks to documentary films and National Geographic articles about Guerewol the ritual has become more widely known in recent years. Occasionally, foreign tourists can be seen taking in this unique courtship ritual.

Since the festival can only be held if there is enough water to support the hundreds of people that the festivities attract, Guerewol is not held during times of severe drought. More recently, instability caused by the insurgency of Boko Haram has resulted in less frequent Guerewol festivals. Forunately, the traditional dance can still be seen at tourists hotels in eastern Niger where it is performed by troops of Wodaabe. Hopefully, these staged performances will help to preserve the tradition for future generations of Nigeriens.

References –

Megan Lane, The Male beauty contest judged by Women, “https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-12215138

Wikipedia, Guerewol, “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gu%C3%A9rewol

Water Conservation Challenge

By Caroline Moss

For some, water is available with a quick turn of a faucet, while others have to walk for miles every day to search for and collect water. Access to water is a privilege we often take for granted. Water is an invaluable resource, and easy access to it is a luxury for many people. On average, an American uses about 100 gallons of water per day while average use in sub-Saharan Africa is only two to five gallons of water per day.

  1. Turn off your faucets.

Bathroom faucets run at about 2 gallons of water per minute. What only takes a minute for you will take someone in rural Niger a walk of 3.7 miles per day on average to collect the water necessary for daily life. In your day-to-day, challenge yourself to never leave the faucet running if you’re not using it. Always turn off faucets when shaving or brushing teeth.

  1. Shorten your showers.

Use your phone timer to hold yourself accountable for shorter showers. Aim for 5-minutes or less. A 4-minute shower uses approximately 20 to 40 gallons of water! An American taking a 5-minute shower uses more water than a rural African uses for all activities in a day.

  1. Full-loads only!

Only run the washing machine when you have a full load of clothes. Sort clothes by color and challenge yourself to wait to wash until you have a full load. Most high-efficiency washers use 15 to 30 gallons of water to wash clothes. For those in Niger, a washing machine, fishing destination, and drinking water may all be the same place.

  1. Use the dishwasher.

You might be surprised to learn that pre-rinsing your dishes can actually waste more water than dishwasher itself. If you do pre-rise, make sure to save the water for all of your dishes. A dishwasher uses an estimated 9 to 12 gallons of water per wash. Hand-washing dishes uses an estimated 9 to 20 gallons of water.

These are just a couple examples of ways to reduce your water consumption. The facts are interesting, but I challenged myself to take the Wells Bring Hope Seven Gallon Challenge to become more aware of my own water usage. The Challenge is to limit our water usage to seven gallons of water per day, which is a high estimate of how much the average rural African uses in a day.

Some parts of the challenge were easy like turning off the faucet to brush my teeth. Other parts of the challenge were difficult. I timed myself for a five-minute shower (3 gallons per minute) and tried to flush the toilet as few times as possible. It made me recognize that my ordinary routine isn’t ordinary and gave meaning to the facts and statistics above. I invite you to take the 7 Gallon Challenge, so that you can experience for yourself how much water the average rural African uses in a day.

 

SOURCES:

Breyer, Melissa. “36 Eye-Opening Facts about Water.” TreeHugger, Treehugger, 11 Oct. 2018,

https://www.treehugger.com/clean-water/36-eye-opening-facts-about-water.html.

 

Caruso, Bethany. “Women Still Carry Most of the World’s Water.” Quartz, Quartz, 24 July

2017, https://qz.com/1033799/women-still-carry-most-of-the-worlds-water/.

 

Cowan, Shannon. “45 Ways to Conserve Water in the Home and Yard.” Eartheasy Guides &

Articles, https://learn.eartheasy.com/guides/45-ways-to-conserve-water-in-the-home-and-yard/.

 

Houzz. “11 Ways To Save Water At Home.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 31 Mar. 2015,

https://www.forbes.com/sites/houzz/2015/03/31/11-ways-to-save-water-at-home/#71cc586b166c.

 

Shryock, Ricci. “Life on the River Niger.” Niger | Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera, 20 Apr. 2016,

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2016/04/life-river-niger-160414093402652.html.

 

Watkins, Kevin. “Human Development Report 2006.” Human Development Report 2006, United

Nations Development Program, http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/reports/267/hdr06-complete.pdf.

Facts About the Capital of Niger

By Catherine Cheng

Niamey is the capital of Niger. Located next to the Niger River, it is Niger’s largest city. As of 2019, its population is estimated to be 1,251,511.

Source: CIA – CIA World Factbook

How to Pronounce Niger and Niamey

The pronunciation of Niger can be traced back to its colonial roots. Niger was a French colony until it gained its independence on August 3, 1960. Therefore the official language of Niger is French, and its name has a French pronunciation.

The pronunciation of Niger is “nee-ZHER.” The last syllable rhymes with “air.” Click below to listen to the pronunciation of Niger:

 

This video is the pronunciation of Niamey:

 

Population of Niamey

The population of Niamey has exploded in the past century. In 1901, the population was only about 600 people. In 1960, the population was 30,000. In the 1970s and 1980s, drought and famine pushed people from rural areas to the capital. The census in 1988 was 391,876.

Now, the population of Niamey is over one million. It should be noted that the population growth of Niamey is slower compared to rest of Niger even though Niger has the highest fertility rate in the world.

History of Niamey

The 1885 Berlin Conference carved Africa into sections for European countries to colonize. The area now known as Niger fell under French rule. Niamey was a trading area until the French decided to make it a colonial post in the 1890s. Niamey officially became the capital of Niger in 1926.

Education in Niamey

Like many developing countries, access to education in Niger remains an issue . Still, the capital of Niger can boasts several institutions of higher education. Niger’s biggest university, The Abdou Moumouni University, is located in Niamey.

Source : fatima @ Mapillary.com

The Higher Institute of Mining, Industry and Geology is also located in Niamey. It is Niger’s only higher education institution dedicated to training technicians and engineers. Another notable school is the African School for Meteorology and Civil Aviation. This college is dedicated to training students for careers in the aviation industry.

Climate

As a landlocked country with 80% of its area taken up by the Sahara Desert, it comes as no surprise that Niamey’s climate is hot and semi-arid. There is no rainfall between the months of October and April.

Temperatures dip to a low of 60 degrees Fahrenheit and can reach a high of 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

Source : Hedwig in Washington

Things to do in Niamey

Niamey is full of exciting things to do and see. The Grand Mosque of Niamey, built in 1970, is a must-see. The mosque is affiliated with Sunni Islam,a religion which is followed by 81.1% of Niger’s population.

Source : diasUndKompott

The Grand Marche (aka The Niamey Grand Market) is another experience that is unique to Niamey. Located in the center of the city, it is Niamey’s largest market and shopping center. An estimated 20,000 tourists visit the Grand Marche each year.

An aerial view of the Grand Marche in Niamey.

Source: Mab.black

The Musée National Boubou Hama is the national museum of Niger. It draws about 170,000 visitors each year according to a 2013 survey.

Source : Jean Rebiffé

With its rich history and attractions, it is clear that Niamey is one of the top best places to visit in Niger.

 

Water is the First Step

By Caroline Moss

Millions of people live in poverty  due to the lack of available water resources. In developing nations, the task of retrieving water often falls to women and young girls. In rural Sub-Saharan Africa, women and girls may spend upwards of 3 hours per day, retrieving water that is contaminated and unsafe to drink. Having access to clean water has critical health benefits, but it also affords girls the opportunity to stay in school and women the chance to pursue income-generating work.

Women pumping water from a WBH well.

Wells Bring Hope knows that water is simply the first step. In addition to working with every village for 15 years after a well is drilled, WBH is the only safe water cause to provide microfinance training to women in every village where our wells are drilled.

Microfinance training allows women to make valuable use of the time that is freed up when they no longer have to walk for water. A skilled facilitator assists the women in the village in forming a savings group. She then leads the women in weekly training sessions where they learn basic math and economic skills.  This microfinance training a transformative step in the lives of women whose villages have received wells.

When girls no longer have to walk for water, they remain in school. Less than 20% of Nigerien women are literate and only 8% of women attend a secondary school. In addition, families are often forced to decide who to send to school, leaving girls behind while boys pursue their education. Just a year of secondary schooling can account for a 25% increase in a woman’s earnings later in life, and an educated mother is more likely to send her daughters to school, creating an empowered future generation and lasting economic development.

A group of women participating in a savings group.

Wells Bring Hope knows that having easy access to clean water not only saves lives, it gives women and girls freedom. Access to water means that girls are free to pursue their education, and women are free to find income-generating work that helps them provide for their families. When you donate to Wells Bring Hope, you’re not just giving a community life-saving access to clean water, you’re empowering women to transform their own lives.

 

Bourne, Jo. “Why Educating Girls Makes Economic Sense.” Why Educating Girls Makes Economic Sense | Global Partnership for Education, Global Partnership for Education, 6 Mar. 2014.

Corwin, Amelia. “Empowering Women through Water.” The Female Quotient, The Female Quotient, 6 Sept. 2019

Filipovic, Jill. “How Do You Get Girls to School in the Least Educated Country on Earth?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 15 May 2017

Hallett, Vicky. “Millions Of Women Take A Long Walk With A 40-Pound Water Can.” NPR, NPR, 7 July 2016.

Review of Niger’s Progress Toward the Sustainable Development Goals

by Michelle Nelson von Euw

As the five-year anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda approaches, many nations are beginning to assess whether and how they are achieving these targets and indicators set by the United Nations. To summarize, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a collection of 17 international development objectives set by the United Nation’s General Assembly in 2015 for the year 2030. The development problems addressed by the 17 SDGs range from improving general well-being, education, and clean water practices to combating poverty, hunger, and detrimental climate change. The 17 SDGs are monitored by 169 targets. Within each target exists one to three indicators, which are used to monitor success and evaluate whether the targets are  met. The ultimate goal of the SDGs, as outlined, is universal progress toward a more equitable and sustainable world.

Source : The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Last year, the United Nations released a Voluntary National Review on their SDG Knowledge Platform outlining Niger’s progress within the SDG framework as well as a commitment from the country to submit an additional report in 2020. The report focused specifically on the programs that have either already spurred progress toward the SDGs or were recently implemented. At the core of Niger’s success is the Economic and Social Development Plan (PDES) 2017-2021, which focuses on 43 of the 169 targets and 66 of the 232 indicators outlined in the SDGs. This program was designed with the goal of creating a well-governed country built on equality and a sustainable economy. Through  this program, access to water and sanitation services has improved on a national level, moving the country closer to accomplishing SDG 6: Clean Water. Unfortunately, however, there is still a disparity between urban and rural areas in the use of basic sanitation services. With the continued support of government programs, the Republic of Niger hopes to rectify this by their next reporting period of 2020.

The PDES outlined improvements for two of the SDGs. For SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, the PDES suggested improving living conditions for urban populations through strengthening waste management and counter-pollution programs. For SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, the PDES recommend adopting a decade long framework dedicated to cultivating a culture of responsible consumption of resources and energy. This framework also ensures that any waste resulting from these consumption or production processes is minimal. In an effort to reach more targets and indicators for SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, Niger adopted a National Renewable Energy Action Plan which aims to reduce the use of biomass as a central energy source and to shift to clean fuels and technologies.

While there is still a great deal of improvement to be made before the 2030 deadline of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Republic of Niger has made great strides toward creating a more sustainable environment for its citizens through the effective use of government programs. The Voluntary National Review 2020, when released, will indicate just how successful these programs have been.

References:

“Niger .:. Voluntary National Review 2018.” United Nations – Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, United Nations,

“Social and Economic Development Plan.” Niger Renaissance Conference,

“Sustainable Development Goals .:. .” United Nations – Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, United Nations,

2019 Successes

As we start to think about the holidays and the end of the year, we thought we’d share photos of just a few of the wells that you made possible in 2019.

On behalf of the people of Niger, thank you. Nagode!


Linlingou

Completed February 7, 2019
Serves 300 people
Funded by Noosh Brands


Ouroutchale

Completed March 16, 2019
Serves 566 people
Funded by five individual donors


Alfaga Koira

Completed March 20, 2019
Serves 389 people
Funded by Katelynn’s Water Circle


Kourfadje

Completed May 1, 2019
Serves 747 people
Funded by Bliss Car Wash


Harikouka School

Completed April 30, 2019
Serves 182 people
Funded by Stanley Black


Tchamangal

Completed May 3, 2019
Serves 388 people
Funded by 14 individual donors


Dan Madatchi

Completed July 12, 2019
Serves 810 people
Funded by the Million Dollar Round Table and 14 individual donors


Anabouta 2

Completed September 23, 2019
Serves 267 people
Funded in memory of Cely Arndt


Anabouta 3

Completed September 23, 2019
Serves 267 people
Funded by the Wells Bring Hope Club at Chadwick School


Garin Maizouma

Completed September 23, 2019
Serves 319 people
Funded by  Bliss Car Wash

The Magic Tree

By Elsa Sichrovsky

In a country like Niger that is three-quarters desert[1] and has an eight-month dry season[2], drought is a constant threat. With extremely limited natural resources, aggressive grazing and farming practices take an enormous toll on the environment. Add a rapidly growing population and a strained ecosystem, and the result is food and water shortages. In the 1980s and 1990s, with the help of foreign NGOs, Niger’s government strove to alleviate the crisis with massive tree-planting programs, but sadly less than 20% of planted trees survived due to poor execution of the program. Locals were not involved or educated about the importance of reforestation, so most of the trees were cut down for firewood or to feed animals.

However, one reforestation technique has proved massively successful, resulting in 200 million new trees in just a few decades. No international organizations funded this project, rather, it is headed by local farmers. What’s more, it does not involve planting trees. It involves protecting trees.

A few decades back, Nigerien farmers noticed that crops planted under the Gao tree (winter thorn) yielded were four times more productive than those planted on fields without Gao trees. Unlike most other trees, the Gao tree loses its leaves before the rainy season and grows them during the dry season.  The Gao tree’s leaves drop and fertilize the ground just before planting season, making the soil beneath the tree so full of nutrients that additional enrichment is not necessary. The Gao tree’s massive root system draws nitrogen from the air into the soil, naturally fertilizing crops sown near the tree.

Source – Roger Culos

The Gao tree isn’t just important to the men who farm for their families,but also to the women who make medicine with Gao tree bark that they sell to neighboring villages. This additional income is put into the village women’s joint fund. Gao tree pods make nutritious animal feed, and fallen branches are used for firewood. In areas where Gao trees abound, women and children are saved from  walking many kilometers to find animal fodder and fuel for their families.

Because of all the uses of the Gao tree, villagers came to see the trees as a community resource that they needed to protect and nurture. In some areas, locals have organized patrols to protect the Gao trees from neighboring farmers or those seeking to cut trees for firewood[3]. In one village, a person caught cutting a Gao tree must be brought before the chief to explain his or her actions. If caught again, he/she will be fined[4]. In areas densely populated with Gao trees, World Agroforestry Centre scientists have observed that local farmers protect Gao trees by pruning the shoots and building thorn fences around saplings during the grazing season.

Niger’s success with protecting the Gao tree has attracted farmers from Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria to come to Niger to learn natural regeneration techniques–and has put Niger in newspaper headlines for positive reasons, which is a rare  occurrence for this struggling nation. Abasse Tougiani of Niger’s National Institute of Agricultural Research sums it up: “It’s a magic tree, a very wonderful tree.”

By helping Wells Bring Hope, you can bring some “magic” to Niger, too. Wells Bring Hope is the only safe water cause that provides women with microfinance training and continues working to educate and train villagers for 15 years after a well is drilled. Farmers are trained in water-conserving drip farming techniques[5]. Every well that Wells Bring Hope drills is a gift that keeps on giving.

[1] http://www.worldagroforestry.org/sites/default/files/Niger%20booklet%20-%20Prepublication%20version_2.pdf

[2] https://www.voanews.com/africa/nigers-farmers-and-cattle-ranchers-nurture-giving-tree

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/16/regreening-niger-how-magical-gaos-transformed-land

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/16/regreening-niger-how-magical-gaos-transformed-land

[5] https://wellsbringhope.org/what-we-do/

The Women Revolutionizing Music in Niger

By Caroline Moss

Every culture enjoys music regardless of its purpose. Whether it’s a tradition, used to sooth a child, or to tell a story, music is a part of our lives no matter where we live. Culture shapes music, and music undoubtedly influences culture. Music offers an outsider insight into unfamiliar cultures and into the lives and emotions of people they’ll never meet.

A group of women, within the Tuareg society, are revolutionizing Niger’s traditional village music. The Tuareg are a group of nomadic people living throughout the Sahara. The society is known for it’s style of traditional folk music called Tende, in which a guitar and a goatskin drum are played. Tende music is characterized by the drum, the style of playing and the events during which it is played. Tende music is often played by women and typically performed at ceremonies and festivals. It also serves as a activity for evening entertainment.

Source : Direct Relief

Connecting the world of tende music to the modern world is a woman named Fatou Seidi Ghali. In her small village of Illighadad in central Niger, Ghali secretly taught herself  to play the guitar. With her cousin, she formed the group Les Filles de IIllighadad, which translates to The Girls of Illighadad. In Niger, the guitar is typically played by men who used it to replace female vocalists when performing tende. Ghali is one of only two known female Nigerien guitarists.

With gender norms informing music throughout Niger, Ghali is breaking new ground as a leading female guitarist. Her group is not only reclaiming the importance of the Tuareg guitar, but also empowering women to innovate their traditional music and create an entirely new genre of music. Les Filles mostly performs folk songs that they grew up with and adapted to be played with the traditional tende drum and the acoustic guitar. In 2016, the duo released a six-song self-titled LP recorded by Sahel Sounds,which featured the group in their hometown to transport the once rural sounds to the world in 21st century. In 2017, the group toured Europe to celebrate their talents and inspire other women.

Ghali invested her earnings in cattle for her family to show women the power of music and what it has made possible for her and her family.  Currently, Ghali might be only one of a few women guitarists in Niger, but she is helping to bring attention to her village and paving the way forward for other women.

Listen to  Les Filles de Illighadad here.

 

CITATIONS –

Beyond, Strange Sounds From. “Les Filles De Illighadad: Daughters of the Desert.” STRANGE SOUNDS FROM BEYOND

“Eghass Malan, by Les Filles De Illighadad.” Les Filles De Illighadad, 28 Oct. 2017

Hird, Alison. “World Music Matters – Les Filles De Illighadad Strum out a Unique Tuareg Sound.” RFI, RFI, 13 July 2017

“How Les Filles De Illighadad Is Revolutionizing Traditional Tuareg Music.” She Shreds Magazine, 4 July 2019