L'oasis de Niamey

Niamey’s oasis for Niger’s women and environment

Posted on 02 May 2019.

In 2018 in Niger’s capital, Veolia and Empow'Her created a place dedicated to women's entrepreneurship and protecting the environment. Focus on this solidarity initiative.

In nature, an oasis is an island of vegetation in the middle of the desert made fertile by the presence of water. In Niamey, “L’Oasis” is exactly that: a third place in the heart of one of the poorest countries in the world designed to nurture entrepreneurial projects with a positive impact.
In Niger, access to education and employment is particularly difficult for girls. Women are hardest hit by poverty and live in conditions that are often very precarious.

L’Oasis encourages women to start a business with a positive impact for the country's population and environment.

L’Oasis was born in January 2018 from the meeting between Veolia - established in Niger through its subsidiary SEEN (Niger Water Company) - and Empow'Her, a non-governmental organization that works for the economic integration of women through entrepreneurship.
Convinced of the essential role women have to play in developing the country, the co-creators wanted to help them exploit their potential and encourage them to become agents of change, especially in the field of the environment.
L’Oasis has a twofold objective: to support the economic and social empowerment of women through entrepreneurship and raise awareness about sustainable development issues.

Local mobilization

It was initially thanks to mobilization in Niger - including the artist Diassibo Tchiombiano and the NGO Jeunes Volontaires pour l’Environnement - that L'Oasis premises were designed using recycled and recovered materials. The result: a 1,000 m² green space, open to women and men - female and male entrepreneurs who want to take part in the many activities organized.
On the agenda: literacy workshops, entrepreneurship training, incubation programs, co-working spaces and evenings for new entrepreneurs. Something to encourage women to start their own businesses with a positive impact on the country’s people and environment.
And that's not all: there are debates on sustainable development, and agro-ecology and gardening sessions to raise awareness of the country's environmental issues.
The underlying philosophy is about ensuring diversity in a climate of listening and tolerance, solidarity with personalized support of each and every one, and friendliness so that the seeds of lasting change can germinate freely. Values that reflect those of the inspiration behind L'Oasis - La Recyclerie, a Parisian space dedicated to the circular economy that opened in 2014 with Veolia as its main partner

Results after one year: almost 700 women trained

A year after it opened, Abdoul Cissé, director of L'Oasis and Empow'Her in Niger, is delighted by the enthusiasm generated by this place of exchange and experimentation. Over 2,500 people have discovered L'Oasis: some to take part in sessions to learn about environmental protection, others to benefit from entrepreneurship training and incubation programs.
The first figures are encouraging: in its first year, 686 women benefited from entrepreneurship training. All of them have been able to develop their skills in entrepreneurial management and the majority of them have decided to transmit this knowledge to those around them. Result: 90% of L'Oasis women have started their own businesses, and almost as many make a living from them!
And it doesn’t stop there. L’Oasis has ambitions. The venue hopes to allow more than 2,000 women in Niger to embark on the entrepreneurship adventure and bring together many more initiatives to help save the planet.