Ayouba had been working for many years as a Driver for a foreigner living in Niger. During a period of time when his employer was away, Ayouba was hired by the Director of the nearby obstetric fistula hospital to assist with construction of a new building. emBOLDen Alliances (EA) Team Members were also there working shoulder-to-shoulder with the West African Staff to improve the hospital’s Operations and Logistics. While Ayouba was involved in the construction side of the hospital, EA’s Operations and Logistics Specialist Bill Rohs couldn’t help but notice the keen interest and commitment Ayouba showed.

Bill began involving Ayouba in various aspects of hospital Operations and Logistics, and realized that Ayouba had skills and talents that far surpassed those of his role as a Driver. Bill was impressed by his ability to solve problems quickly and thoroughly – all with a smile and that “can-do” attitude that reminded him of only the best Logisticians. Diving deeper into conversations together, Ayouba shared that he had not only been a Plumber, but an Electrician as well, earlier in his life! Once again, Bill was impressed.



Before long, Ayouba was promoted to Head of Operations and Logistics.

Ayouba was intelligent, quick to learn, and adept at solving difficult problems using simple, locally-available materials. Bill began to nurture Ayouba’s interest in Operations and Logistics, training him on all that he could. Ayouba seized the opportunity to learn as many new skills as possible in a variety of areas, including inventory management and computer literacy. Though Ayouba had started out as a sort of an apprentice, Bill quickly came to view him as his counterpart, and began engaging with the Hospital Director about Ayouba’s potential and the need to keep him on staff. She not only supported this idea, but also suggested having Ayouba pursue additional education so he could achieve higher goals and contribute even more to the hospital and surrounding community. Before long, Ayouba was promoted to Head of Operations and Logistics.

Given this new role and salary, Ayouba is able to further his own children’s education and opportunities. In addition, this new position combined with his status as a trusted and integral member of his community, Ayouba more effectively advocates for girls’ education and, subsequently, fistula prevention.

…a strong reminder of the power of listening

Ayouba’s story is testament to his remarkable character. But it also serves as a strong reminder of the power of listening. With an open mind and open ears, you never know who you might meet – your counterpart, a mentor or teacher, the next generation of leaders. And, with just a bit of support, you may be able to open doors together that no one even knew existed – not only making a huge difference in their lives, but also positively impacting an entire community, or who knows, maybe even the world.




Copyright emBOLDen Alliances 2016.