THEME 4: INFRASTRUCTURE
Each video capsule consists of an interview with a member of the Zinder Brain Trust about a specific theme, intercut with extracts from the film which illustrate this theme. Each one is just 10minutes long, the idea being that within a one hour class or group session, one or two themes can be treated, even if the whole film has not been seen by everyone. At the bottom of this page, you will find links to additional resources, a list of possible questions to stimulate discussion and a suggestion for individual and group activities.
The vast majority of Nigeriens (89% of the population) live in a rural context, without access to urban infrastructure, meaning that certain ‘essential’ commodities – running water, electricity, telecommunications and public services – are simply not accessible to many citizens. Roads are few and unreliable and it is not uncommon for people to travel in carts drawn by livestock. ‘Local’ schools may be at a vast distance from places of residence, and medical treatment may not be readily available. As a consequence, three out of every 5 Nigeriens live in poverty and 41% are deemed to live in ‘extreme poverty’, notably those in rural areas. In a recent report, ‘Pathways to Sustainable Growth in Niger’ the World Bank has cited ‘low human capital (health and education)’ as one of the key reasons for the high levels of poverty in Niger (p20).
Access to health and education are an infrastructure and urban planning issue. Whilst primary schools exist within walking distance of most communities, colleges are organized at a regional level, at a significant distance from most small villages. In a country where roads are so poorly maintained that short distances take an inordinate amount of time, it is not practicable for students to make the journey to and from college daily. Unsurprisingly then, the literacy rate for Niger overall is just 31.5%. In other words, almost 70% of the Nigerien population has not been taught to read and write. It can be assumed that this figure is even higher in Kara-Kara. Such a high level of illiteracy obviously has implications for the smooth functioning of a democracy. As Professor Moumouni points out in this video, an uneducated population can neither govern effectively nor be governed. The transformation of this dire outlook requires investment and urban planning over the long-term in order that infrastructure is adapted to the needs of the predominantly rural population.