Starting as a poultry vaccinator with business training through NCBA CLUSA’s USAID-funded Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel – Enhance Resilience (REGIS-ER) project, Maïmouna Amadani has achieved a level of personal and professional empowerment that allows her to provide for her family and take advantage of new business opportunities. She recently told the story of her journey to financial independence that will continue long after the project ends. Here is Maïmouna in her own words:
My name is Maïmouna Amadani. I’m 33 years old, married and a mother of three children, including two girls. After a USAID| REGIS-ER training and with coaching from the project, I have been a poultry vaccinator since March 2015 in Tagantassou, my village in Sakoira commune from Tillabery region in Niger.
To start my new job, I requested a village assembly with the chief of village. During the meeting, I raised awareness on the importance of vaccinating chickens to everyone who came. Afterwards, I started vaccinating in my village. For every chicken I sell I receive 50 FCFA (Francs CFA) or the equivalent in millet, eggs, or milk. For each vaccination I do and dose of medicine, even after the cost of the vaccine, motorbike to travel and fuel I still earn a 2,500 FCFA ($5 USD) profit.
I feel like vaccination is a useful task and I was able to extend my reach toward neighboring villages. I managed to save 55,000 Central African Franc ($94 USD), with which I was able to buy a sheep for 35,000 FCFA. I fattened it for over six months and resold it for 65,000 FCFA.
That experience gave me all the more taste for business. I then turned to the supply of straw and stems necessary to make seccos (mats comprised of a specific type of thick grass used to construct easy-to-move tents) that are very popular during the rainy season here. I partnered with women in the village who craft them. It was a brand-new approach and it turned out to be a great idea. Our village pioneered this partnership. Based on a verbal agreement, I provide 70 women with a bundle of raw materials every other day. Each bundle costs 600 FCFA ($1 USD). Each bundle enables the women to make three to four seccos. The first one is used to reimburse me [for the cost of the bundle] and I purchase the other seccos for 750 FCFA each in order to resell them on the market.
I have already earned 200,000 FCFA ($342 USD) with this business. With these savings, I bought three more sheep for fattening and I resold them for a total of 315,000 FCFA. Part of this money helped me to pay my credit off to Kokari, a micro-finance intuition where I got a 200,000 FCFA credit over six months, thanks to the women’s group I belong to called Tassiwat. I used the other part for the supply in vaccination inputs, straw storage and the purchase of chickens. I also sell cooked leaves of moringa (a nutrient-dense fast-growing superfood) every night.
Thanks to God, with all these sources of income I can now handle many of my family’s expenses, such as toiletries, soaps, my children’s school lunches and even medical fees if needed. I can buy animals for fattening by myself. I currently own three sheep that I am reserving for sale. I will continue with these businesses, with or without the project support, and I will encourage other women to engage in vaccination.
My husband and I emigrated five years ago. Now we are comfortable at home and able to face all the expenses we have. I also created a shop for my husband. He manages it while I continue my activities. I would like to expand even further, to become a poultry provider for the university and some restaurants in Niamey. I am also considering opening a poultry sales store there. For the moment, I haven’t made all the necessary contacts, but I’m working toward it!