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May 10, 2018

Follow-up visit - 30th March

Violet
Violet

Dear donors,

Between March and April 2018 we added 33 new girls into the program. This report will talk about the first follow-up. That is the first visits we do 1 week after having disbursed the first grants (54$) to the girls’ business sites and households. This report threatens to be very long, so I’ll split into 2 or 3 parts, but by the time we are done you will know much more about the girls we have helped thanks to you, and about how we do it.

PART 1.

30th of March, 8.45, 2 staff of REO arrive Tole after a motorbike ride through the tea plantation.

It’s Friday, and it’s market in Tole, so we start there. We have a list of girls that just received support and we want to check if they have started their businesses. We don’t really expect all of them to be active by now, it’s been only one week, but we want to take note of who is already in business and who is not, and also put a bit of pressure on those who are not.

Tole market starts as early as 4.00 o’clock because traders come to buy cheap fruits and vegetables and sell in Douala. By 10 it’s closed, but we are still on time to see it booming.

The first participant to see us is Esther, who is selling clothes with Lizette, also close to Akenji. Esther has been with us since 2013. “I hear you people are now doing savings too? That might be your best idea so far” (She confirmed her opinion by saving 17$ with us the week after).

We don’t ask for their business records, because participants have a particular day of the month when they are expected to meet us all at once and show the records. This was a very simple innovation that one of our new staff, Sylvie, brought and it has helped us save a lot of time and keep much better track of everybody’s situation. The reason we are asking business records of the new ones is that it’s very common to make mistakes on the first attempts, and we want to correct them early.

We ask them some of the names on the list to see if they can help us locate them in the market. Before they can answer somebody calls our attention.

It’s Violet, one of the new girls. She’s just behind them selling t-shirts. She has recorded, perfectly, three days of sales in different markets. No correction is made and we just ask some questions about the business. Actually, she was not supposed to be selling clothes but was planning to buy and sell garri (a by-product of cassava). "I looked at it again and the capital was not enough for that yet, considering the transport costs I will not make any profit". She is doing well with the clothes and within her first month she will go on to make 71 dollars. Which is already bigger than the business grant we gave her.

Next, we see Urslar. Urslar had stopped business for the last two months after giving birth. She asked for a loan with us in February, and she used it to re-start business with a capital push. You can see her in the project video receiving the loan.  We just remind her of her payment time and confirm that her little spot in the market is looking bigger than ever.

We then see Patience and Melvis, new participants, selling one in front of the other. Both of them are a bit older than our normal participant. (31 and 34). This year we had agreed to increase the age of eligibility after a lot of feedback from the community asking us for it.

Patience is selling palm oil. She has not used all the money of the grant to start her business, but only half of it. That is very normal. She will be adding more money if she has established that there is a solid market and she can make profits with it. Even though she had first used only half of the capital, she will still go on to make 61 dollars, more than what we gave her, after her first month.

Melvis has brought her book to the market and I’m impressed. She is semi-literate and struggled a lot during training, but she finally got it. It’s simple, but what she has works fine. There is something else, though. One day after receiving our grant she got involved in a problem with another trader. She sells vegetables and was supplied with a harvest of unlawful origin without knowing. When it was discovered she had to give it back and pay a fine to the local authority. The money lost was, roughly, the value of our business grant. She is doing business now on loan. She gets the product in the morning and pays back for it in the evening. We feel for her, but she is an experienced businesswoman and she will be fine. At least our grant helped her avoid a worse situation. “Just keep doing what you are doing, if we see a business running for 3 months, you will qualify for the next grant just like the rest.” With all her problems, Melvis made 75$ on her first month with us anyway. 

That’s it for the market, those were the easy ones. We look at our list again. We need to start going to their houses and business places within Tole. We draw a map and try to walk in some kind of a circle. We start with the most far away people, those of “Tole Weeding”. Tole is a community around a tea plantation that has grown a lot in the last years, as more and more people come attracted by the very cheap housing and the proximity to the urban centers.

We visit Solange and Enanga, our youngest participants, but can’t see either for different reasons (Enanga has gone to collect a small stipend the father of her child sends her, Solange is working by the road). Then we call Modestine. Modestine lives with her husband and does not have a phone, we call the husband who is around and directs us to her house after a long walk. We sit with the couple and their 3 children and look at her records. She also struggles a lot with writing so we try to make it easier for her. Another change of business. She has decided to do bobolo (a by-product of cassava) and groundnut paste (peanut butter, but hot). That is alright, but she does not seem to have spent much of the business grant for it, as that is a business that can be done with very little resources (less than one-third of the grant).

Later, both of us (Reach Out staff) will agree it’s possible she has given the money to the husband (willfully or not). During the meeting, without being confrontational, we just emphasize that we need to see all the money being spent in a business and that this will make her qualify for a bigger grant after 3 months. It’s important to make the husband also understand this, so he gets behind the process. We take note of the possible conflict and will be carefully monitoring her. Whatever the case, we are very happy to have helped Modestine, she might be one of the most vulnerable women we have helped so far (in our database, she was the first among 129), and she is incredibly grateful for the opportunity. (Far from being fine now, but by the end of April she had doubled her small business capital, now she’s using roughly half of the grant. Also, her business records were OK).

On the 30th of March we saw a total of 14 of the new girls, so far we have only talked about 4! We will update you next month with the rest of the girls, and like today, we will complement also with updates on their present situation.

Thank you very much for helping them and for believing in us!

 

P.D: Until the 13th of May, if you sign up for a recurring donation GlobalGiving gives us a one-time 100% bonus on it! (If you sign up to give 25 dollars every month, they will add another 25 dollars for the first donation, after you have been giving for 4 months).

Urslar
Urslar
Melvis
Melvis
Modestine
Modestine
Speech from Sylvie before disbursement - 20thMarch
Speech from Sylvie before disbursement - 20thMarch
The 19 girls supported in March - Thank You!
The 19 girls supported in March - Thank You!

Links:

Apr 11, 2018

Microfinance report

Since she took the loan, Elizabeth earns 65% more
Since she took the loan, Elizabeth earns 65% more

The loan pilot project of the Keep a Girl Alive program has been very effective and stable. Most of the girls find the loan interesting as some of them find it difficult to expand their businesses due to lack of capital and the fact that they don’t have enough collateral security to take a loan. With the loan, most of the girls have increased their purchasing power and buy now in bulk. Girls dutifully respect the time of repayment for these loans. Except for a 1-week delay of a participant who was taking care of her sick child in a hospital, but she managed to send her payment through Mobile Money.

Loan conditions are very simple. Loans are repaid in 6 months, have a monthly 1.5% interest on the principal and need to be taken in levels.

You can’t take a level 2 loan (maximum 226$) if you have not taken and repaid a level 1 loan (113$ maximum) before. You can only take a level 1 loan if you have been a participant in our poverty graduation program (business grants and training) for a minimum of 5 months and our field workers approve of it.

What follows is a break-down of loans given since January with your support:

January, 6 loans of 113$.

February, 4 loans of 113$.

March, 2 loans of 113$, 2 loans of 189$ and 1 loan of 19$.

April, 2 loans of 226$ and 1 loan of 113$.

What they did with your loan:

Mostly, they expand their businesses, even if it’s only by 19$ like Elekta, who just wanted to buy some firewood in great quantity for her food business. Some, like Urslar, also use it to recover after giving birth and being out of business for a few months.

Thank you very much, we will treat the fund with zeal and make it grow. 

Lizette selling in the market (before the loan)
Lizette selling in the market (before the loan)
Lizette in the shop at her house (After loan)
Lizette in the shop at her house (After loan)
Urslar selling in the market (before loan)
Urslar selling in the market (before loan)
Urslar at her market post (after loan)
Urslar at her market post (after loan)

Links:

Apr 11, 2018

January-March Report

Father house orphanage has been involved in so many activities lately. There have been recent developments in the orphanage. Most of the children are in school due to the fact the school academic year has been stable as compared to last year. [There is a political crisis going on in Anglophone Cameroon that stopped school last year]. They now have a school bus that transports the children to school every day. The only challenge we find with the bus is to cover for repairs and also fuelling of the bus.

Some children were involved in workshops which comprise of carpentry, welding, hair-dressing. The children really achieved much in the learning process. Reach out supported them in their training and some already know their trades and need their own workshops.They are all doing well and will soon graduate. They had some difficulties concerning working tools and training fees.

Some of the children in the orphanage fell sick, some treated from the first aid box that was donated by Reach Out. Some children consulted in the Reach Out clinic in Mbalangi, where free treatment was given to them. Some were consulted and treated in the general hospital Muyuka. The Drugs in the first aid box are running out and we so hope its gets refilled soonest.

Father’s house had experienced a drop in the quantity of food available in the center. This was due to the fact that we just relocated to a new site and lost one important partner who was really supportive in the past. But lately, the orphanage harvested food from and palm oil from its farm plus part from well-wishers. Three meals a day was the rule and children were happy

Also, electricity was one of the things that the orphanage has gotten recently. Father’s house had electricity by the electric company and Reach Out paid part of the bills for this to happen. Now the children can read, watch television and sleep well. Tiles were put in the office building and two new beds were bought, one for a visual impaired boy and the other for the visitor’s room. But it was noted that some beds don’t have mattresses and new mosquito nets. The water project is almost finished. [You will receive a report in less than 10 days about the water project!]


Thanks to your support for the orphanage it has helped to give hope to the children

Welding workshop
Welding workshop
Tailoring training
Tailoring training
Woodworking
Woodworking
Thank you!
Thank you!

Links:

 
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