About

I am a daughter of Niger’s Sahara, born and raised in Arlit (in northern Niger). I am currently a PhD candidate in Development Studies as a Cambridge-Africa Scholar at the University of Cambridge (UK). My doctoral research project aims to analyse the determinants of secondary school completion – studying individuals (‘outliers’) to capture trends and patterns that may explain how and why some succeed in furthering their education while others do not. I am interested in the intersection of research and public policy with the aim of contributing to improving the livelihoods of the most impoverished by giving people the means to empower themselves, particularly in rural areas.

garin-bajini-maradi-nigerFor several years, my work took me to all regions of Niger. Working with over 100 villages and youth nationwide gave me a keen understanding of the potentialities and human wealth that Niger rested on. More importantly, it became evident that affecting/changing social institutions could unlock new practices that advance individual wellbeing (of women in particular) and collective progress. This was a discovery and rediscovery of my own country, its peoples and its realities, where beyond statistics development took a human form. As a trained economist, I have come to value numbers for their ability to paint a picture, channel policy efforts, and shift conversations, for better or for worse.

The unlikely journey that led me to Wellesley College (earning a Bachelor in Economics/International Relations and Africana Studies as an Albright Fellow) and later Harvard University (earning a Master in Public Policy, becoming the first Nigerien woman to do so) provided foundations that continue to define my engagements. Among my earliest schools in civic engagement have been the Youth Parliament (“Parlement des Jeunes du Niger“) and the United World College which were doors into seeing how interconnected, diverse and resilient people could be. What these opportunities have given me are new lenses to assess the world, tools to deconstruct assumptions and ask difficult questions, and a commitment to service rooted in a desire to lead a life of purpose and connected to a larger community of people. Now at Cambridge, I realise that seeking answers sometimes begins with asking questions differently and redefining agency and reclaiming voice. There is a shared responsibility in creating and nurturing spaces where a discourse (comfortable or not) can happen for its own sake but also for crafting and recreating a vision that betters the present and foretells an even better tomorrow.

This platform does not necessarily aim to provide answers – this is a space to analyse issues that pertain to Niger, the Sahel and Africa in general, exchange ideas and learn, and simply engage with a call every generation must answer to give meaning to its existence, that of the human’s perpetual quest for progress and for illimi, a Hausa word my great grandmother defined as a harmonious combination of knowledge humility and purpose.

Feel free to connect with me on Twitter or via LinkedIn.

 

 

© Halimatou Hima, 2016-17. All rights reserved. Written work may only be re-published with permission.

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13 thoughts on “About

    1. halimahima Post author

      Thank you very much for the “encouragements”. It is my sincere belief that every son and daughter of Niger can (and should strive to) be a blessing for our country. More content to come soon.

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  1. Fadji MAINA

    Halima, your blog is really interesting, it is the first fime I visited it, and I’m really impressed. You are such an inspiration and example for nigerien girls (and also women). I don’t know if you have the idea to also share some articles in french, so that these nigeriens girls (but also men) can read your ideas. It can be really useful for them, and you can inspire them and even change their mind.

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    1. halimahima Post author

      Hi Fadji – I am glad you find the blog interesting. It is new and only has 3 posts so far. I hope to build and populate it gradually. Please subscribe and share with anyone you may be interested. Writing/Translating some of the articles in French is something I have thought about… I hope to get there soon. Thank you for the kind words and suggestion.

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  2. Nabiya Ali

    It is absolutely impressive. You are impressive. And I agreed with fadji, you can try to do french articles and share them with the other girls. Really with your background and your achievment, you are such an inspiration for them.

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  3. Catherine B.

    Dear Halimatou,
    your work is astonishing!
    I was wondering if you’d be available for an interview. If yes, would you please email me, so I can give you some details? Or, if this is more convenient for you, you can also DM me on Twitter (I’m already following).

    Best regards,
    Catherine

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    1. halimahima Post author

      Hi Catherine,

      Thank you for your kind words! I am happy to continue the conversation via email. What is your twitter handle? I will DM you.

      Best,

      Halimatou

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  4. I Consult

    Halimatou you inspire beyond words from our very first interactions at Moremi. I go through your profile everyday just to stay inspired and find my message. You’ve made me think deep about my role in the development space and how I want to be positioned. I am really so impressed. So well done! I plan to engage you more o…to learn how to apply to these schools cause it has been an innate desire and I strongly believe its possible. Will stay updated on your post. Chidi -Moremi Fellow

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    1. halimahima Post author

      Chidi my sistah! The inspiration is mutual and you have a direct line to me… Those schools are within reach especially for someone as talented as you are. Thank you for the kind words. It means a lot. I will keep writing even though I wish I could write more regularly here. Our role in this development space is there and we must use our experiences and love for our communities to redefine it for the better.

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  5. Abdoulkader Chawaye

    Hello Halimatou. Très bien fait. Ton parcours inspire. Mes vifs encouragements. Je t’attends dans mon Kantché natal lors de ta prochaine tournée en profondeur! Je présume que tu as pu lire “L’éducation en Afrique” du Pr Abdou Moumouni, édité la première fois en 1964 et réédité en 1984. A lire absolument sinon, tellement C’est d’actualité. Bon courage à toi.

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    1. halimahima Post author

      Chawaye, merci pour ces encouragements. Je ferai un tour à Kantché avec plaisir. J’y suis passée brievement pendant des missions Unicef. Le livre du Professeur Abdou Moumouni est sur ma table de chevet. Je l’ai lu plusieurs fois et compte faire une revue pour un journal académique. Bon courage aussi!

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