Women-Run Literacy Center Provides Skills for Entrepreneurs in Karazomé, Maradi
The Karazomé Literacy Center was founded in 2021 by 40 women from Maradi, Niger, to improve the literacy and numeracy skills of women entrepreneurs in the region. The co-founders, who also represent eight local poultry producer organizations (POs), learned about the importance of literacy in strengthening their agribusiness management after attending a functional literacy program hosted by the Feed the Future-funded USAID Yalwa activity in 2021.
The women of the Karazomé Literacy Center first partnered with USAID Yalwa through their poultry POs, which were supported by the activity to strengthen their production and marketing in order to improve producers’ incomes and livelihoods. USAID Yalwa’s support included training in improved animal feed production using local ingredients, improving animal healthcare and husbandry through a local network of private veterinarians, developing business plans for income generating activities and supporting PO members to establish business linkages with other market actors.
Encouraged by the progress they made during these trainings, the women came together to establish a literacy center with the goal of running it without the activity’s support.
They established good management practices early on by mobilizing internal resources and generating additional income, which supported the development of the center. These practices ranged from collecting weekly contributions from learners to expanding business activities from herding to ‘habbanayi,’ a traditional system of ‘re-constituting livestock’, which allowed each learner to raise an animal and use their products and by-products for marketing. These mechanisms for mobilizing internal resources reduced the Karazomé Literacy Center’s dependence on technical and financial support from USAID Yalwa and allowed the women to sustainably cover the costs of running the center.
Based on the income they generated during their 2022 campaign, the learners at the Karazomé Literacy Center can now cover the costs for their teacher’s monthly salary and for the equipment and supplies (notebooks, pens, chalk, etc.) needed to operate the center.
Thanks to the training provided by the activity, the women were also able to improve their household incomes and increase support to their families.
“Because of the functional literacy program, I can read and calculate my revenue, which has improved the management of my businesses. I have also applied these skills within my household, which has improved my relationship with my husband and allowed me to support my children’s studies,” said Ilya Loubabatou, a 22-year-old learner at the center. “The knowledge I have acquired with regard to hygiene and nutrition has also greatly benefitted my family,” added Loubabatou.