Niamey- Dressed in police uniform, with her eyes glued to a computer screen, Sahoura Yahouza, a female police officer at the Birni N’Konni border post on the Niger-Nigeria border, sits in a training room at the Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DST) of the National Police in Niamey. She is attending a training on how to use the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS).
This digital tool, developed in 2009 by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), facilitates the collection, storage, and analysis of real-time information of travelers entering and leaving the country across any of Niger’s borders. Since 2019, it has been used as the border information management system of the State of Niger.
“This modern system replaces our old manual registration system and is a perfect response to challenges faced by border police officers,” enthuses Sahoura.
With fifteen years of experience in the police, Sahoura has a strong sense of honour and dedication.
“I always dreamed of serving my nation as a policewoman. In pursuing this dream, I received constant support from my family and friends, despite the fact that it is depicted as a male-dominated profession,” says Sahoura
Sahoura has a good command of technology and digitalization. While stationed at the Diori Hamani International Airport in Niamey she used another digital information collection system, which enabled her to learn easily how to use MIDAS.
“I am used to working with digital tools in my daily work and my personal activities. So, during the training session, I learned very quickly how to use MIDAS and understood the qualitative impact of this tool on my work,” she says.
Digital technology plays a particularly important role in integrated border management. In Birni N’Konni, it allows border officers to become more efficient and collect reliable information.It also allows border police officers like Sahoura to share data in real time with the DST headquarters in Niamey, which has full sovereignty over the management of information on the MIDAS server.
“The work at border posts is very tedious. Using MIDAS makes our work with border communities easier and more efficient,” Sahoura explains.
Digital technology is becoming more and more accessible and according to Sahoura, so are digital jobs.
“Great achievements are being made in digital and technological fields. Several training courses for digital trades have been created. It is important for women to be interested in and have access to them so that they can keep on contributing to the development process,” she adds.
Proud of herself, the police officer confides that she promotes women’s welfare through her job.
“I am actively involved in making sure that women from border communities feel safe and protected, and it is particularly important to me that they are properly welcomed into our police station,” she says
After receiving this training supported by IOM Niger’s Integrated Border Management programme with the funding of several donors such as the US Department of State (INL) and the UK (FCDO), Sahoura feels even better equipped to serve her country and be a role model for women.