Accepted Paper:

The Associative Movement: the New Torch of Youth in Zinder city, Niger Republic  


Mamane Tassiou Amadou (University of Basel)

Paper short abstract:

After years of violence, Zinder's youth in Niger comes out from shadow with a new face. This paper describes while analyzing how youth associations mobilize informal peer groups, called "fada and palais", to participate in the sociopolitical process and local development

Paper long abstract:

Lately in Niger, Zinder city was associated with violent demonstrations which caused varied damages. Those events are generally charged to youth which, gained by unemployment and precariousness, acts from spaces of meeting of which the most active are "fada and palais" (UNICEF, 2012). The latter are indeed small peer groups whose members, aged from 15 to 25 years, are mainly males, who sit around the tea in different streets of Zinder for chatting. These groups are sadly famous for their antisocial intrigues at the point where the words of "fada and palais" mean, in Zinder, idleness and delinquency.

To tackle this situation, some youth leaders, supported by development partners and other actors, mobilize themselves to carry another message: making the youth to participate in the local development and sociopolical process. For this purpose, they create associations which federate those "fada and palais", previously informal and often antagonists. Structures resulting from this new dynamics gather nowadays hundreds of members around citizenship ideals. Thus, they initiate and organize forums and caravans to sensitize their members on non-violence, associative leadership and citizenship culture. In Zinder, henceforth these associations are formally recognized like development actors and members of the local civil society organizations.

Based on anthropological methods of collecting data, this contribution tries to react to the following questions :

Who are those youth associations? Which actions do they carry out in Zinder city? What agendas do they follow ? Which goals do they aim? How do they gather and mobilize "fada and palais"?

Panel P094
Unspectacular Youth - Practicing the everyday in urban/rural Africa