Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs

by Aspyre Africa
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs
Capacity Building for Young Entrepreneurs

Dear Friend,

First of all I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and belief in our work!! As mentioned in our last report, the excellent news is that the funding for this particular project has now been fully secured. We are therefore closing down this project on GlobalGiving.

To stay up to date with the latest news on our Young Entrepreneurs, please sign up for our newsletter on our website. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin.

Our next campaign on GlobalGiving will be the “Little by Little Matching Campaign” that will be running from the 8th to the 12th April. We will be raising funds to provide our next cohort of 20 trainees with quality social work, career guidance and support. You can read more about the project here.

This new project has been developed in close partnership with both the training centre and the government fund for vocational training, who will be covering the cost of training fees and equipment. This represents a major breakthrough for us, and a giant step towards finding sustainable solutions to empower vulnerable young people.

We truly hope you will continue this journey with us. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch or spread the word. Thank you once again for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!

Warm wishes,

Savina

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What is a GlobalGiving Evaluation visit?

GlobalGiving project evaluators visit projects to complete in-depth organizational assessments and ensure donations are used responsibly. The assessments help GlobalGiving Partners to promote their work to new audiences, access relevant professional support and improve their effectiveness for the long term. During the visits the evaluators conduct interviews with staff members and volunteers, identify training and support needs, ensure a good assessment of a project’s transparency and effectiveness and much more.

Visit to Aspyre Africa’s projects in Senegal

It was with great pleasure that we welcomed GlobalGiving Evaluators Anna Maria and Isabella to Saint-Louis last week. A very full but varied schedule had been drafted alternating in depth discussions on topics like governance, finance and fundraising with field visits to see the work and meet with beneficiaries, partners and other stakeholders.

For the “Capacity Building Project for Young Entrepreneurs” Anna Maria and Isabella visited the cooperative located at the University of Saint-Louis. They talked with beneficiaries who shared their hopes and challenges. “We are so grateful for having been given this opportunity to build our future. Unlike some people I know who had no alternative than to take a boat, hoping to make it to Europe alive.” one of the boys explained. They also met with the project manager Ousmane, the technical advisor Khadim and visited the crèche that has allowed the young mums in the project to remain committed.

We also took them on a family visit to meet Babacar and his mum. Babacar had left the cooperative early on after having been selected for a government- funded scholarship to continue his education in the agricultural sector. As the training center’s Director Mr Diop also told the evaluators, Babacar is doing very well and if he continues this way, his future is wide open. Babacar’s ambition is to continue his studies all the way up to the BT (Brevet de Technicien) and to start his own enterprise.

Quote from the Evaluators

“We visited Aspyre Africa's projects in Saint-Louis and carried out an in-depth evaluation of the organisation over the course of four days. During this visit, we were impressed with the strong relationships Savina and Veronique have built with local NGOs, businesses and government. Most of all, it was inspiring to see the impact the work of Aspyre Africa is having on young people in Saint-Louis, by building their confidence and providing them with the tools to access sustainable, fulfilling careers. We wish Aspyre Africa all the best in continuing their amazing work and we hope that others across not only Africa but other continents too will recognise the value of the model they are building.”

 

IMPORTANT NOTE:

As we have managed to secure funding for this project from alternative sources, we will shortly be closing this project page on GlobalGiving. We will however soon be launching an "End of year campaign" to support the next cohort of students. More information will follow soon. We sincerely hope you will continue to support our work in Senegal, and help us provide more vulnerable young people with access to quality vocational training and secure livelihoods.

 

 

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«Challenges are what makes life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful» (Joshua Marine)

The Challenge

The Young Horticulturists of Saint-Louis had great hopes for their onion harvest, only to realize that they still have much to learn. Despite all the hard work and putting into practice everything they had been taught, the variety of onion chosen suffered from the sustained heat. In addition, as the size of the cultivated area increased significantly, the pressure hoses did not provide sufficient flow to water the whole field. As the onions needed a lot of water in the beginning, this water deficiency negatively impacted the final production. The harvest consisted of only eight bags, which was a severe blow for our young entrepreneurs.

An Experienced Advisor

«A lot of work had to be done to keep the young people motivated as well as reassure their families, but with Khadim Diouf, the young agronomist working for the Gaston Berger University now confirmed as main technical advisor, all seemed reassured. With proven expertise in cultivating on a large scale on the same type of soil, he was the best candidate to guide the young people through a complete revision of their cultivation methods and calendar. » (Ousmane Ndiaye, Project Manager)

Capacity Building

The first proposal Khadim made was to change their irrigation system into « furrow irrigation». While this required finding a grader to level certain parts of the ground, a tractor to plough the whole plot, as well as someone to train them on how to make ridges, this system could propel the production by providing better irrigation with reduced physical effort. Oumar, a specialist in handmade ridges, showed the young people how to dig irrigation canals for a quick and abundant irrigation of the cultivated areas.

"If we had knowledge of such an irrigation technique before planting the onions, we would not have had those water constraints that we experienced" observed Youssoupha Basse (the current president of the cooperative). To which Khadim replied with this old wolof adage: «Good days give you happiness and bad days give you experience ».

The second proposal Khadim made was to plant 4000 seeds of a big variety of watermelon and 25000 seeds of a hybrid cabbage, two short-cycle vegetables (3 months) and both very profitable. While the irrigation system was being overhauled, the cabbage seeds were sown in a seed bed under the strict supervision of Khadim. The seedlings are growing well. Meanwhile, the area intended for growing the cabbage is being irrigated frequently. With the price of cabbage at its highest point from now until December, this crop should allow for a considerable profit.

The Road Ahead

Khadim has now set up a cultural monitoring plan with the young people, which they must respect scrupulously in order to achieve the results they want. It is clear at this stage of the project that the young beneficiaries have gained a lot of experience as they were confronted with a reality that was totally different from what they had experienced during their training. What is also clear is that without the support of our project manager Ousmane and technical advisor Khadim more than one might have given up. But as they overcame their challenges, they know they have made major steps forward and will soon truly reap what they have sown.

 

GLOBALGIVING PHOTO COMPETITION: WE NEED YOUR VOTE...

We are delighted to announce that we are finalists in this year’s GlobalGiving Photo Competition.

Public Voting will start at 12:00 EDT on Monday 20th August and close on Friday 24th at 12:00 EDT.

Please vote for our picture and help us compete for the $1,000 grand prize.

Sign up for updates and your vote will count 3x!

VOTE HERE 

Thank you!!!

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Portrait of beneficiary during replanting onions
Portrait of beneficiary during replanting onions

Dear Supporter,

I have just returned from Senegal after spending one month in the field, and I am delighted to tell you that our Young Horticulturists of Saint-Louis have now started harvesting and selling their African eggplants/aubergine as well as their first onions!

The replanting of the onion seedlings turned out to be a much bigger task than they had imagined, having never worked on such a scale before, but they got there in the end. With the technical support provided, in particular by the young agronomist from the university farm, they are learning every day how to tackle the challenges of the land. Under his guidance, they are currently updating the calendar of crops to not only make the full use of the available land, but also take into account the market prices and potential profits to be made. With the water now flowing and the temperatures in Saint-Louis rising, the conditions are ideal for the watermelon, okra and cucumbers they just planted to thrive.

Meanwhile, their network of customers (actual and potential) has been growing by the day and they have had no problems selling their produce. They also made their first two visits to the bank to make deposits, a very encouraging development for all of us . With all the technical & business sides well taken care of, the current challenges we are facing are dealing with health issues & the lack of support from some parents, both leading to absences. While I seized the opportunity to undertake family visits while in Senegal, we realized our project manager needs to spend more time with the parents to keep them fully on board. To tackle the access to medical care, we visited the university’s medical centre nearby, whose staff is now willing to look after our beneficiaries at no cost. On our visit however we also witnessed the severe shortage of medical equipment and medications the centre has.

Our young horticulturists have shown great perseverance in often challenging conditions. They are very much aware that the strategic planning of crops and quality produce can make all the difference. However, as planned, they will need the continued guidance to guarantee their success.

Please help us provide ongoing support for The Young Horticulturists of Saint-Louis by donating to this project again. Regular donations would be particularly helpful.

If you happen to know how to access donations of medical equipment or drugs to help the university medical centre, please do get in touch.

Thank you for your continued support!!!

Harvesting the African eggplant/ aubergine
Harvesting the African eggplant/ aubergine
Weighing the aubergines
Weighing the aubergines
The treasurer at work
The treasurer at work
Harvesting the onions
Harvesting the onions
Glimpse inside the medical centre
Glimpse inside the medical centre
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Babacar & Adja with CIPA Director Mr Diop
Babacar & Adja with CIPA Director Mr Diop

First of all, I would like to thank you for supporting this project! With your help we managed to reach our “End of Year Campaign” target and earned a fantastic £1,000 bonus from GlobalGiving. We could not have done it without you! Secondly, we have just returned from Senegal with brand new photographs and uplifting updates from our young entrepreneurs as well as some breaking news to share with you! We are very proud to announce that Babacar & Adja managed to secure government funded placements for the “Certificate of Professional Competence” following highly competitive entrance examinations. This 2 year secondary level course was recently introduced at the CIPA Training Centre, where they did their 10-month course. This is an amazing achievement and opens the door to new opportunities we had not even imagined possible when we launched this project.

Meanwhile the remaining 13 young entrepreneurs have been hard at work and are currently selling lettuce (fast to grow and always in demand) while planting their onion seedlings, which will be their main crop this season. Until recently they had struggled with water supply issues and unwelcome visits of some very acrobatic goats that wander the university grounds. As a result their first crops of okra and watermelons, however promising, did not yield the return they had hoped for. With the support of our project manager both issues have now been resolved: with a large water basin and electric pump now fully functional, and greenhouse covers, generously donated by the GDS (the most important export horticulture company in Senegal) and used to strengthen the fence and keep unwanted visitors at bay. Our project manager is currently training the members of the cooperative in charge of finance to manage money matters in a smooth and efficient manner. On a technical level, they have received weekly guidance from their former trainer, but recently also benefitted from support from the manager of the university farm. As a young agronomist with a flair for business, he has turned out to be a great role model with both technical and business savvy advice.

The prospects for the onion harvest are looking very good and the profits should allow the cooperative not only to make its first loan repayment and cover the cost of the next crops, but also to start saving and share some of the profit. Still, the young entrepreneurs will continue to need targeted capacity building and supervision to make the cooperative a real success. To guarantee this support for the duration of the 2-year project however we still need to raise a further £7,567. We would therefore be extremely grateful for your continued support to this project, and for spreading the word amongst your friends & family. With warm wishes. 

Showing us the lettuce about to be sold
Showing us the lettuce about to be sold
Carefully planting the onion seedlings
Carefully planting the onion seedlings
Receiving advice from a young agronomist
Receiving advice from a young agronomist
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Organization Information

Aspyre Africa

Location: London - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AspyreAfrica
Project Leader:
Savina Geerinckx
London, United Kingdom

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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