Rising Voices is pleased to introduce a few of the students from The Mapping for Niger project, one of this year's micrograntees. Three of the students from the project introduced themselves to us via email; this is the second interview in the series.
I’m Abdou Salam Ousmane, and at the moment I live in Niamey, the capital of Niger, where I study at the university. I’m originally from Zinder… a town situated to the east of Niamey, nearly 1000 km away. It was the country’s first capital.
I study geography. My prior experience included … an international francophone forum, Youth and “Green Employment”; I received a certificate after putting together a microproject.
[About my computer skills,] before this, I’d worked a bit on Word. In the second year [of university], we learnt Adobe Illustrator for cartography, but I didn’t really master than that, as we just learnt how to make a tracing of a [digial] map from the original. I decided to participate in this project because this fits with my geography major. It’s also been a good way to get to know GPS, and how and why to use it.
[During the mapping project] we split the team into sub-groups; the original schedule for collecting the GPS coordinates coincided with a long vacation period, so some [of the group] stayed in Niamey while others left for the interior area of the country during the vacation. I spent my vacations in [my hometown of] Zinder. We each had a GPS and a camera over vacation; we took photographs and coordinates in the town of Zinder, and everyone worked on the information they'd collected individually.
I have written a dozen articles which I will publish soon. I really photography and publishing articles on the blog… but I find the digital tools a bit difficult. I will publish several articles about current events, and the realities of the circumstances [in Niger].
I write in French. With my friends I speak 90 % Hausa, but French with those who don’t understand Hausa. With my family I speak 100% Hausa as they didn’t have the chance to go to school. To write in Hausa would be quite difficult as it has its own alphabet, and the alphabet has to be studied to be able to write.
You can read one of Abdou Salam's recent articles on the Mapping for Niger blog. This interview was translated from its original French by Laura Morris.