Aminata, Marianna, Imane! They are in Niamey, La Mé or Tangier. From the Ivory Coast to Morocco, through Niger, three collaborators who made us want to celebrate the event. That of the International Women's Day of course. Portraits.
“A highly enriching experience, alongside vulnerable women, fighters who want to liberate themselves and change the way Nigerien women are viewed.”
Keen to support them in their different projects, Aminata quickly realized that women need to grasp various subjects such as communications, marketing, sourcing finance, navigating bureaucracy and above all, managing their own businesses, to give them every chance of success. “Female entrepreneurship has always existed in Niger: you see donut vendors, hairdressers, all sorts of businesses, but the difference from five or ten years ago is access to training and support with formalizing these businesses to make them more sustainable.”
So, there are examples to follow, and Aminata likes to see these successful women inspiring future generations on social media. Aminata’s advice for getting started is that “You must fight to make your mark and achieve your goals. Women must never forget that they occupy a great place in this world. They are the mothers of humanity.”
Customer Care Manager in Niamey
“The challenge in Niger is a cultural one. When customers ask to see the manager, they are surprised and unprepared to find themselves face-to-face with a young woman,” explains Aminata Ibrahim, aged 32, head of a customer care department at SEEN in Niamey.
The everyday challenges of keeping the department running are numerous: managing some 30 people, coordinating all activities, maintaining customer loyalty and meeting their expectations. Customers are always pleasantly surprised: “They are kind – they congratulate and encourage me in my role, which is usually one reserved for men.”
Female entrepreneurship has always existed in Niger [...] the difference from five or ten years ago is access to training and support with formalizing these businesses to make them more sustainable.
The emancipation of women is clearly a hot topic in Niger. Having spent four years at L’Oasis, a place dedicated to female entrepreneurship, Aminata knows what she’s talking about:
Electrician at La Mé
Marianna is always running! Always moving, in one of the seven buildings, keeping the multiple electrical cabinets running, without which the factory would grind to a halt. “You have to check constantly for faults in the valves, the pumps and the regulators. We do make rounds, but often it’s the monitoring that alerts us to a problem requiring our attention.”
A key member of the maintenance crew, she is the only female electrician in her team. She’s used to it.
“I’ve often been the only woman surrounded by male colleagues, and every time, it’s been an opportunity to show I’m just as good as they are! It’s actually quite motivating, especially here at La Mé, where we work as a ‘family’ and I feel very much at home.”
It's all a question of will, passion is not enough, you need the will. That's the driving force!
Before coming to the factory, she was a service provider. Until La Mé. “I was there when the construction site opened, and when it was finished, I wanted to stay on. For me, this factory is a chance to learn, especially everything about the automation of installations and water treatment processes that makes it possible to improve performance.”
Marianna is so passionate about her job that she almost forgets the traffic jams she encounters every morning when leaving her neighborhood of Abbo, north of Abidjan. Her colleagues describe her as a “disciplined and organized professional.” Her secret? “It’s all a question of will,” she believes. “Passion is not enough – you need the will. That’s the driving force!”
“These are the epitome of cross-business issues. Every department is involved, along with all our stakeholders. We need to get them on board with the plan!”.
We can be sure that Imane is ramping up the workshops, references and hearings required to advance her roadmap and action plan. “It’s a very structured approach. For example, we identified 3,400 stakeholders and asked them about their perceptions and also their expectations of Amendis.”
Imane is just as proud of achieving the “CSR Label” from the Moroccan Business Confederation as she is of the latest majority-female intake of work-study interns from the Tétouan Training and Skills Center. She promotes her themes patiently and passionately: “Themes like the integration of people with reduced mobility, corruption and parity are now firmly on the agenda. We are making progress, even though it’s never fast enough!”.
Imane EL HATIMI
Multifaceted Performance and Digital Transformation Coordinator – AMENDIS
So many memories... Go back 18 years and Iman El Hatimi was yet to complete her doctoral studies in marine environments when she tracked down and knocked on the door of a company in Tangier: Amendis! “I got my foot in the door,” she recalls. “The sanitation director at the time welcomed me, we hit it off, I asked him to join my thesis jury panel and he invited me to join his team...”.
Themes like the integration of people with reduced mobility, corruption and parity are now firmly on the agenda. We are making progress, even though it’s never fast enough!
And so the adventure began, and over several years, Imane has managed various sustainable development projects. “From subsidized connections to certifying wastewater treatment plants to environmental reporting, I’ve developed my skills along with my understanding of the business. I even ended up becoming the QSE officer.”
Today, this “360-degree vision” has led her to the role of Multifaceted Performance and Digital Transformation Coordinator, still at Amendis.