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African Borderlands Community Development – Politics of Developing Nations (ABCD-PDN) Project

Location of project villages, Yardaje and Yekuwa (click to enlarge)

ABCD-PDN builds on the financial assistance provided by Northeastern undergraduates enrolled in Politics of Developing Nations (POLS 3487) (PDN), and graduate students of the International Development Administration and Planning (PPUA 7243) seminar, to two neighboring villages separated by the Nigeria-Niger international boundary in West Africa. Three major premises undergird ABCD-PDN:

  1. That students learn best about third world development when they are directly connected to, and involved with, specific communities overseas;
  2. That populations in low-income countries are better served by people-to-people initiatives than by “foreign aid” funneled through governments;
  3. That peace between African nations can be fostered by simultaneously aiding neighboring communities in their shared borderlands.
Letter to Northeastern ABCD-PDN from Yardaje, Nigeria

Capsule Summary of Project to Date

Yardaje (Nigeria) and Yekuwa (Niger) are two rural Muslim Hausa villages separated by the international boundary superimposed by British and French colonial régimes at the turn of the twentieth century. Today, most villagers live on less than $2.00 a day. Thus far, using their own funds matched by seed money from the Department of Political Science, Northeastern students have provided: bulls and carts; goats for widows; emergency medical transport assistance; high school scholarship funds; school supplies; new latrines; and a women’s microcredit project. View the projects and photos below.

Projects

Niger, Yekuwa

Peasant farmers in Yekuwa may now rent-a-cart (along with bull), in order to haul equipment and crops to and from their distant fields. Their payment goes towards feeding the bull. Indigent farmers may borrow the bull- and-cart at no cost.

View photos here.

Nigeria, Yardaje

Yardaje Youth Forum used their bull-and-cart, an ABCD project, to haul the equipment necessary to dig latrines and undertake other infrastructural projects in the village.

View photos here.

Niger, Yekuwa

Modeled on the Heifer International program, graduate students decided that by providing goats for widows, they were helping the poorest of the poor. Goats provide milk and is a capital asset. When the goats reproduce, the kids go to widows who have not.

View photos here.

Nigeria, Yardaje

Modeled on the Heifer International program, graduate students decided that by providing goats for widows, they were helping the poorest of the poor. Goats provide milk and is a capital asset. When the goats reproduce, the kids go to widows who have not.

View photos here.

Nigeria, Yardaje

PDN students decided on pit latrines as a way of encouraging girls to remain in school. Separate boys and girls latrines were built, thanks to ABCD, in each of Yardaje’s primary schools, as well as in its new primary health center.

View photos here.

Nigeria, Yardaje

Two PDN classes have decided each to sponsor one boy and one girl throughout their secondary school education. Mustafa Alassane, currently attending Yardaje Government Junior Secondary School, was the first boy recipient of the ABCD scholarship; Naja’atu Shehu, currently attending Shargale Junior Secondary School is the first girl recipient. More recently, Mustapha Siraja and Shema’u Salisu were selected and are now being sponsored by PDN through the completion of their secondary school education.

Scholarships defray costs of school uniforms, bedding, school supplies, meals, and transport.

View photos here.

Niger, Yekuwa

In Yekuwa, schoolchildren often sit on the ground for want of benches, and their “classrooms” are straw huts. A major item, in short supply, are individual chalk tablets upon from which they learn to read and write. ABCD made one hundred of them available

View photos here.

Nigeria, Yardaje

Basic supplies like pens, pencils, chalk and notebooks are in short supply in Yardaje’s schools. ABCD helps make school ends meet.

View photos here.

Niger, Yekuwa

Thanks to an ABCD grant, the tailor’s association of Yekuwa could purchase an embroidery sewing machine, adding value to the clothes that they tailor, market, and sell.

View photos here.

Maintenance of infrastructure is a perennial problem in the development world.  Yardaje has several water pump wells in the village but some are breaking down.  Fall 2011 PDN students designated tools for water pump repair as part of their project.

View photos here.

Niger, Yekuwa

This project was co-sponsored with the Friends of Niger (FON). To read a recent article about this project in the FON newsletter, click here and scroll to pages 4 and 5.

With the additional micro-loans provided by this project, members of Yekuwa’s women’s association make soap,henna, spices, snacks, baby clothes, and jewelry for sale. Northeastern students below are wearing some of the jewelry the village women sent as gifts. ABCD is in the process of getting the women’s association their own stall in the village market, thereby increasing their trade.

View photos here.

In 2006 and 07, a group of Northeastern University students accompanied Professor Miles to visit the village of Yekuwa in Niger. View photos of their visit below.

01-Yekuwas-Location-in-Niger1

Faculty Advisor

William F.S. Miles
Professor of Political Science
929 Renaissance Park
617.373.3950
b.miles@northeastern.edu
Full faculty profile

Make a Contribution

By contributing matching funds to ABCD-PDN, donors enable Northeastern students to learn personally and experientially about community development while helping to foster peace and development on the African continent. If you would like to make a contribution, please click here. Thank you for your support!

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