Salamatu is a dedicated mother working hard to provide a steady source of income for her three daughters. She is a member of a group of women in the Juaben Municipality who farm and produce palm kernel and palm oil. Due to Salamatu’s excellent leadership skills, her group has done very well, and it has became a model group for other women in Juaben.
“When cost of producing palm kernel becomes too high for my group of producers, we resort to farming until we are able to afford the production cost again,” Salamatu said.
“One day, some of the women and I were farming on our cassava plantation by the roadside, and the district Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) officers saw us. They liked our group’s commitment to our farm,” Salamatu said.
“After talking with us, the MOFA officers found out that farming is a second income option for us, and that we struggle to compete in the market due to our limited funds. They gave us improved cassava sticks to use for cultivation,” Salamatu said. “The MOFA officers also introduced us to Self-Help International’s micro-credit program to help us boost our palm kernel production and farming. My startup loan from Self-Help was $15 USD.”
Although Salamatu wasn’t among the first members of Self-Help’s micro-credit program in Juaben, she has been with the program since 2007. Her time with the program has allowed her to dream bigger.
“My oldest daughter was in junior high school when I started Self-Help’s program. She was barely 12 years old,” Salamatu said. “She was a very intelligent girl; she was at the top of her class all the time. She had always wanted to be a nurse, and I was determined to help her with that dream - an opportunity I never had”
For a period of six years, Salamatu and her group were able to compete in the palm fruits business for the processing of palm oil and palm kernel because of their access to loans from the micro-credit program. Their cassava farm also yielded more produce due to improved techniques the MOFA officers taught them. The other group members were all doing well; their commitment and dedication to their group and loan repayment was unparalleled.
“Thanks to several trainings by Self-Help on topics such as financial management and resource mobilization, I really came to understand that I couldn’t survive the changing market without getting into the habit of saving money,” Salamatu said.
“I also realized I needed more ways to generate extra income because my daughter was finishing senior high school. Her examination results were good, but I didn’t have enough money to put her through nursing school,” Salamatu said. “I was due for another loan from Self-Help and I had started actively saving money, so I added all of the money to my savings to cover her school fees instead of reinvesting the money in my processing business.”
“I needed to find other ways to repay my loan because I couldn’t reinvest in my business,” Salamatu said. “I got jobs doing anything: being a janitor, farmer, petty trader - I just did whatever came my way in order to pay for my loan and keep supporting my daughter through school.”
Salamatu’s daughter, Ayishetu, is now 24 years old, and she is a registered state nurse with a district hospital.
“My daughter has successfully completed nursing training college as a state registered nurse and is currently enrolled as a national service person with the Duayaw Nkwanta District Hospital,” Salamatu said.
“Self-Help’s support has been so immense and timely. My daughter is now a nurse, and it’s because of the support I received from Self-Help,” Salamatu said. “I want to express my sincere gratitude to Self-Help for the trainings because they really equipped me with knowledge I needed to improve myself and my business.
“Now, I don’t have to solely depend on my processing or farming businesses anymore,” Salamtu said. “When one business is not doing well, I just have to look around and there are always other options. With the loans from Self-Help, I have been able to secure my eldest daughter’s future. The younger ones are emulating her success to pave a way for themselves.”
Salamatu in front of her home