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Rural societies in the face of climatic and environmental changes in West Africa

Benjamin Sultan
Richard Lalou
Mouftaou Amadou Sanni
et al.

Part III. Social changes in rural populations

Chapter 15. Female migration, a non-farming strategy for adaptation to climatic and environmental changes in the Imanan (Niger)

Amadou Oumarou

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Labour migration of rural girls who go to towns as domestic servants is a very widespread phenomenon in sub-Saharan Africa. In Niger, although it has developed remarkably in recent years, it is still little known. However it does have substantial proportions in various places in the country. Such migration is mainly seasonal and takes place during slack work periods of the year, that is to say from October to May. It is commonly referred to as an ‘exodus’ and, in addition to its economic purpose, plays a significant social and cultural role for rural populations.

However, a new form of migration has been developing in the Imanan district for nearly two decades. This is the migration of women to Niamey, the capital of Niger, where they work as ‘maids’ in urban households during the dry season. This practice concerns all the sociocultural groups in the district in variable proportions and concerns both girls and married women.

This chapter is based on research results1 and h...

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