Salamatu Garba on the Continuing Impact of Water and Development Alliance in Nigeria. Global Waters, September 22, 2017.
“The whole success of this project was because of the dignity it brought to the community….women now command respect. Women in the community have dignity. The girls now go to school.”
Salamatu Garba is making waves across Nigeria. As the Executive Director of the Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN), she has spent 25 years working to empower Nigeria’s rural women and is coming off an especially big year in 2016 — she became an Ashoka Fellow for Nigeria (designating her as a global change leader) and was nominated to the steering committee of the Netherlands-based Women for Water Partnership thanks to her work improving rural water, sanitation, hygiene, and food security.
In her recent conversation with Global Waters Radio, Garba remembers the moment her life’s mission became clear, in the early 1990s. “I stumbled across one of my village women — pregnant, with loads of wood on her head, coming from the farm [with] some livestock — and I stopped to chat with her,” she recalls. “And she told me the life of a woman is nothing more than being subservient to a man, give birth, get pregnant, and that is it until God takes your life.” Garba’s interaction with that woman — whom she later learned died during childbirth — remained seared in her memory and drove her to found WOFAN to address the plight of Nigeria’s rural women and advocate for community improvements that would enhance their quality of life.
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