Lamia Bazir MIA ’14 and Aura Martinez MPA ’14 are part of a six-member team consulting on gender and corruption for Transparency International (TI) as their EPD concentration workshop. In January, they traveled to Niger for two weeks of fieldwork.
The students analyzed the structures, procedures, and operations of the Association Nigérienne de Lutte contre la Corruption (ALNC) with an eye to providing insights on how it can better engage women in the fight against corruption. They interviewed a number of government officials, leaders of civil society, and academics, including the first woman journalist in Niger, the former president of the nation’s Supreme Court, a serving counselor of the Human Rights Commission, and a young girl who is nationally recognized as the face of the fight against forced marriage.
With assistance from local staff, Bazir and Martinez were also able to visit six rural zones and participate in sensitization campaigns targeting women's groups, youth, and local producers. During these visits, the students connected with members of diverse communities through focus groups and interviews with figures including religious leaders and both current and former local officials. This introduction to the social, economic, and political dynamics of the country helped the students to refine their analysis and methods.
Combining the information gathered with insights from SIPA coursework and support from the local team, the student consultants will assemble a report to shed light on the understudied, yet increasingly salient role of a gender approach in state building. In particular, the team aims to scrutinize how gender shapes the understandings and experiences of corruption and how gendered tools can improve the fight against corruption.
Bazir and Martinez extend special thanks to the EPD office, to faculty advisor Kristy Kelly, to Transparency International, and to the staff of Niger’s Association for the Fight Against Corruption — namely, Aissata Bagnan, Wada Maman, Nouhou Naino, Diallo Hassane, Oumarou Djibo, Nafissa Mamane, Samira Kouré, and Serge Clément — for their support and guidance.
Other team members — Lily Brent MIA ’14, Caitlin Hopping MIA ’14, Akanit Horatanakun MPA ’14, and Maha Syed MIA ’15 — will conduct fieldwork in Zimbabwe later this month.