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International Partnerships

Including women in decision making through Community Resilience Groups

Hafsat Malam Saleh’s Story

Hafsat Mallam Saleh is a widow and mother of 7 children. Hafsat lives with her children in Nayi Nawa community under Bula Bulin traditional ward, Damaturu LGA, Yobe State. She is the founder and leader of a women’s support group commonly known as ‘Himmah’. The group operates like a cooperative that encourages women to turn to crop and animal farming, and poultry. Hafsat is seen as an influential person and an inspiration to many women

Before the Building Resilience in Complex Crisis (BRICC) programme started in June 2019, it was common knowledge that women were rarely consulted or involved in dialogue and decision-making processes that affect the needs of women and girls in the Nayi Nawa community. Often, women are only informed of decisions taken without their direct inputs.. Despite Hafsat’s key role being in her group, she was not given the opportunity to engage in dialogues like other key community stakeholders. A Community Resilience Group was established in Nayi Nawa as part of the BRICC programme activities and structures to build community trust, connection and cohesion.

Hafsat Mallam Saleh and District Head of Bula Bulin
Mercy Corps


The Community Resilience Group (CRG) is made up of stakeholders in the community who help to improve community resilience from all forms of shocks and stresses that could impact the community negatively. Different ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds, including minority and vulnerable groups are all represented. Activities vary from, to support the community in the implementation programme in building building social safety nets, peace building dialogues, prioritisation of water points, community assets for rehabilitation and construction.

Hafsat was selected by the community leadership to be part of the CRG in Nayi Nawa. Hafsat is now able to sit with other community stakeholders and leaders to discuss concrete issues that affect not only poor and vulnerable households but also raise concerns that affect women and girls in the community. During the process to select the most vulnerable households and youths, Hafsat ensured women headed households were selected as well as female youths for vocational skills training.

Being part of the CRG has provided me with an enabling platform to speak on concrete issues that affect vulnerable women and widows in the community.


Even though she is not a traditional or community titleholder, Hafsat plays a wider advisory role not only to the CRG but also to the community at large. Thanks to her commitment and efforts towards women, youth and children in the community, the District Head of Bula Bulin (who also oversees Nayi Nawa community) is said to frequently consult Hafsat on some community matters.

When asked about the importance of the CRG, Hasfsat said, “Being part of the CRG has provided me with an enabling platform to speak on concrete issues that affect vulnerable women and widows in the community”. She further added that through her group, ‘Himmah’, poor and vulnerable women farmers were identified and selected as beneficiaries for the agricultural inputs distribution, which she did not lobby for.

In her words “I am grateful to the European Union through the BRICC programme for supporting the formation of the Community Resilience Group that am part of and able to speak freely to community leadership and other key stakeholders about the different needs of women and youths in my community.”

Building Resilience In Complex Crisis (BRICC) is a 3 years European Union (EU) funded programme that aims to build the resilience of 26,875 households in Yobe State, to increase their ability to cope with the shocks and stresses of conflict, climate change and complex crisis, and transform the underlying causal dynamics to reduce the risk of future occurrence.