The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

2016 Mandela Washington Fellow: Rabiatou Harouna Moussa


Rabiatou Harouna Moussa (left) with other Mandela Washington Fellows during their summer at Dartmouth.

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Rabiatou Harouna Moussa Software Engineer, Orange Niger, Niger

Since childhood, Rabiatou Harouna Moussa has been passionate about technology and business. From playing with computer desktops and raptly watching “geeky” characters on television shows and movies, Rabiatou realized that she wanted to pursue a career in technology. After contemplating all of the the different careers and types of engineering that she could study, Rabiatou ultimately decided that she would go into software engineering. For her, engineering would be her way to develop the innovative tools needed to tackle her country’s issues and shape its future course.

“I am a dreamer,” says Rabiatou. “I strive to be the change that I want to see in my country.”

Instead of negatively perceiving Niger’s reputation as one of the world’s poorest countries, she alternatively views its status as a motivation to make her country better. Rabiatou aims to use her talents in technology as tools to improve the daily life of her compatriots and country. While acknowledging Niger’s many issues, including education quality, corruption, and access to healthcare, Rabiatou emphasizes that there must first be a change in the people’s mentality because if people are unmotivated, true change cannot happen.

“The government and I alone cannot change the country. We have to work together to have a better Niger,” says Rabiatou.

Along with being a billing and mediation engineer at Orange Niger, Rabiatou is also the project manager of SAADUWA, a social media platform based on SMS to help combat corruption and promote good governance in Niger. SAADUWA translates as “meeting” in Hausa, because it is meeting place between the people and government. The platform allows users to to send SMS of testimonies of corruption and also displays testimonies and reports of corruption for all users to view, for example. In addition to her work with SAADUWA, Rabiatou also developed a monitoring site for Niger’s 2016 elections.

In the future, she will further utilize her business and technology skills to launch a data management and business intelligence startup to carry out many projects that will put technology at the service of development. She is currently working on a platform to improve education in Niger. Because of a shortage of professional teachers, Rabiatou explains how the government hires contractual teachers that are underpaid, unqualified, and thus unmotivated. Inspired by a Facebook model, her platform will allow teachers to share lessons plans and will feature a social networking component where professional teachers and contractual teachers can correspond.

Taking what she has learned from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Rabiatou hopes to further expand her professional network for future projects and amplify her ability to use technology and business to create solutions to Niger’s most pressing problems.  

2016 was Dartmouth’s third summer as a Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) host for a cohort of Mandela Washington Fellows. On campus, the program is a collaboration between the Dickey Center for International Understanding, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences, the Dartmouth Center for Service, the Thayer School of Engineering, the Outdoor Programs Office, and the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network (DEN).

- Submitted by Rachel Favors ’18, Student Program Assistant for Communications

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences