Aichatou Ali Mamadou is a shining example of what one can achieve with passion, hard work and support from the right sources. Born and raised in the city of Zinder in Niger, she had always dreamt of pursuing a career in veterinary medicine.
After completing her primary and secondary studies, she enrolled in the prestigious Inter-State School of Veterinary Sciences and Medicine (EISMV) in Dakar, Senegal, where she excelled and graduated with honors. Then, after defending her thesis, Mamadou returned to her hometown and started working as an assistant veterinarian to gain experience and work toward fulfilling her dream of opening a veterinary clinic. However, with a lack of financial and material resources, she found herself struggling to start her own business.
After considering a bank loan, Mamadou became aware of the USAID Yalwa activity’s call for local private veterinary service (LPVS) providers, as part of its plans to finance five new LPVSs and increase the number of local livestock assistants from 343 to 400.Although LPVS networks already existed in Yalwa’s other areas of intervention, they did not yet exist in the department of Takieta where USAID Yalwa supported 12 small ruminant producer organizations, bringing together 526 members distributed as follows: 221 men, 305 women and 227 youth.
USAID Yalwa’s support to LPVSs centers around three areas: 1) preliminary direct support—which supports LPVSs to obtain the authorization and documentation needed to practice and meet health service mandates as well as to establish a simple operating system for montioring profit; 2) direct support for clinic installation—which drives investment for start-up activities, construction and equipment acquisition (cold chain, means of transport, etc.); and 3) technical support to clinicians–which serves to strengthen the capacities of veterinarians and their assistants, both through managerial and technical training.
“It was an unexpected opportunity for me to learn about Yalwa’s grant because it was exactly what I needed and was looking for,’’ said Mamadou when remembering reading the call for application the first time.
Through this support, Mamadou was finally able to start her business in 2022 with all the necessary equipment, medicine and surgical materials, including cold chain storage units for vaccines and medications. She also recruited 34 individuals to work under her supervision, ensuring better animal health services could be provided throughout the Takieta department.
Her business’ success was shown in February 2023, when she accumulated around $1,300 (700,000 FCFA) in sales. This number will only continue to grow, with awareness on the importance of livestock vaccination becoming more prominent in local communities and with farmers being offered more affordable prices to receive private veterinary services.
Today, Mamadou continues to provide top-notch veterinary services and advice to farmers in her region. Through her strong expertise, dedication and commitment to animal health and leadership, she has also inspired the community around her, especially considering the rarity of women-owned veterinary clinics in Niger. Mamadou’s story is a shining example of the potential one can achieve when provided with the right tools to succeed.