Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship

by Reach Out NGO
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Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Change a Girl's Life Through Microentrepreneurship
Milvert at her- business site
Milvert at her- business site

Milvet, a mother of 2 is a Keep A Girl Alive beneficiary who was displaced from the interior of Mundemba (Torkoh Village), South West Region in 2018 after having lived in the bush for over 6 months. She fled to Ekondo-Titi together with her two children and 5 siblings where she was purging with a friend who later moved to Douala 2 years.  Later things got extremely rough on her side as she had to beg to stay with people she never knew, just to have shelter With the ongoing crisis, Education is one of the reasons why most people leave neighboring communities of Ekondo Titi and stay in the main town, Ekondo Titi but this was not her priority due to extreme financial challenges. In order to   survive, Milvert and her siblings did many odd jobs to survive. Hunting of snails at night, picking of palm nut fruits, working on peoples farms (tilling the soil, planting and picking of Egusi). 

While in Mundemba, Milvert had acquired tailoring skills though she could not start up her own place due to financial challenges. She was linked to a tailor in Ekondo Titi, where she worked for 6 months after which the friend moved to Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon.  She had an agreement with her where she sends 1/3 of the income to the shop owner.

When she was identified by Reach Out Social workers in March 2021, Milvert was assisted with the sum of $60 which served as a turning point in her business. . She added this money to her own little savings and acquired a sewing machine of her own (fairly used) and other materials needed to run a tailoring shop . With the proceeds from the business and income generated from the odd jobs she and her siblings and children now rent two rooms (temporal structures)). “My 5year old daughter and younger brother are back to school for the 2021/2022 academic year. This is the greatest achievement I have had in the last 03 years” says Milvert.

Milvert buys business items from Kumba  (materials, tape, thread and other things). Sometimes she goes to Nigeria to buy from there when the Ndian-Kumba road is unsecured. As at August 2021, she had a capital of 78,000 ($156) and a monthly  profit of ($58). Though this is school resumption business is somehow slow to me because i did not invest in school materials. This was because it was rumored that the Non State Armed Group Boys had warned that they should not see any school material anywhere. This scared me and I could not go and buy from Kumba.

Thank you so much for donating. This is how far your donation has gone to put a smile on the face of a family that has been affected by the crisis.

Milvert displaying some of the fabrics she bought
Milvert displaying some of the fabrics she bought
Goodness taking stock of her business
Goodness taking stock of her business
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resource person giving lessons on puff-puff making
resource person giving lessons on puff-puff making

Background

The ongoing Anglophone crisis has been raging for more than three years. Many persons especially women and children have been forced to leave their places of origin principally because of insecurity and for the sake of education. Bonabome is a community in the Douala IV municipality of the Littoral Region that has witnessed the influx of Internally Displaced Persons from both the South and North West Regions.

 With funds from GlobalGiving, Reach Out is implementing a project in the area titled “Poverty Graduation for young Displaced Girls at Risk in Douala”.

The Goal of the project is to help 30 internally displaced young women at-risk to overcome extreme poverty permanently in Bonabome, Douala, Littoral Region.

 With specific objectives to:

  • Build capacities of 30 young girls in income-generating activities and entrepreneurship
  • Disburse grants valued in 40,000 francs to 30 young girls at risk

   Activities and methodology

Targeting

Methodology

Two Social Workers of Reach Out organized an introductory meeting in Bonabome on the 11 of March 2021. A 5 women’s targeting committee was created and the project, funders and activities were well explained to them. based on our pre-selection vulnerability criteria. The targeting committee members assisted the Reach Out team on the identification of the following category of women:

-          The person must be an IDP woman or girl from 18 to 35years

-          Must have incomes below the extreme poverty line to qualify (437 francs a day)

-          Should also be interested to do an income generating activity

-          Should be ready to learn a skill or a trade.

A door to door targeting and registration was done with the aid of the targeting committee member.

Selection of beneficiaries

Registration of beneficiaries was done using the mobile app KoboCollect. with the assistance of targeting committee members, a total of 51 women and girls were registered on the 11 of March 2021 in Bonabome. The information was saved and sent to the data base in the KoboCollect server. The information was later extracted from the data base to an excel sheet where it was analyzed. A scoring grade was awarded for each question, and the 30 persons with the highest aggregated scores were selected.

Trainings

A two days training was organized in Excellent Bilingual School Bonabome. Based on beneficiaries’ demands, the training was on pastries, yoghurt and Ice cream. A resource person was hired for the training.

Day two was focused on Entrepreneurship, Savings, Book keeping. This was facilitated by Reach Out Social workers from the Wealth Creation Department. Using the Reach Out’s Training Manual for Grassroots Women and Girls, it was based on how to start a business, sustain it, characteristics of an entrepreneur, SWOT Analysis. Method of savings, importance of savings, how to save, definition of book keeping, examples of book keeping, and developing business plans.

Disbursement

After validation of the business plans, on the second day of training, beneficiaries filled a payment sheet with full names, contact, Mobile money number and associated mobile money name. This sheet was typed and sent to the accountant who did a mobile money transaction to each beneficiary. Each beneficiary received 40,000.

On-site coaching

A week after the training, two social workers carried out the first on-site visit. A total of 26 beneficiaries were seen in their houses and business sites. In this visit, the participants received corrections and encouragement, and their businesses were verified.

 Training Report

The training commenced with Puff-puff making because it needed time to rise and its end product needs no electricity. The consultant, Madam Linda commenced with the ingredients and tools which are necessary for the process. The resource person emphasized on the necessity of a good hygienic condition for the product. The procedure was copied on a black board. Participants each copied the procedures in their exercise books. The flour was mixed and covered in a clean tight cover 10 litters of bucket for it to rise. The sawdust, pot, oil, strainer and frying spoon were all arranged pending frying of the puff-puff.

While waiting for the puff-puff to rise, the procedure for Yoghurt was given to participants. Before this, the resource person conducted a quick survey to find out how many people had knowledge about the making of the product. Unlike puff-puff, which was familiar to participants although they did not know how to do it professionally, 29 of the 30 participants had no idea on the production process of yoghurt. In madam Linda’s voice “yoghurt is not cooked, if you don’t maintain a good hygienic condition, you might poison consumers. You know how milk can be when wrongly or badly handled”. This she told the girls for them to know the importance of hygiene in the process. The yoghurt was mixed and kept in a tightly covered bucket for 7 hours for it to ferment and she strongly advised that nobody should shake or touch the bucket. Obediently everybody in the hall avoided that corner. Beneficiaries were bent on having the best results.

Attention was turned to the flour and the puff-puff frying began. Participants were keen on the frying technique of the product. During this process a beneficiary said: “the flour always sticks on my palm and lacks good shape when I remove it from the pot”. Her concern was addressed by the resource person and told them to always have water beside them when frying so as to wet their hands in it to avoid the sticking issue. The amount of heat needed to fry was also discussed during the frying. “The first day I tried frying puff-puff, it got burnt and the inside was not ready. My siblings laughed at me and I was ashamed” said a participant. Madam Linda explained the cause of it to her and all participants. That puff-puff does not need too much heat, reason why the amount of fire needs to be constantly regulated during frying.

While frying the resource person advised participants to be vigilant to know the number of puff puff that enters the put so as to enable them know the quantity of puff-puff that a Kg of flour can give. This will help a lot especially those who intend to do It for business.

Following the right measurement during the mixing process saves you the stress of having fluffy puff-puff and lack of quality said the facilitator. Other participants became anxious to give the frying process a chance and to know if they could easily estimate and have the right sizes and shape. The first round of frying was tasted by all. “This puff-puff is too rich. This is not the type of one people sell” said a beneficiary.  Madam Linda was happy and told them that at times one might have all the ingredients but because the person did not follow the right procedure and correct measurements, the final product could not be obtained. It could also be too much economics, like adding up yeast to make the product raise, or putting too much water, hampering the good quality of the final product.

Ice cream was the final thing to be done. After the beneficiaries had copied the procedure in their books, a discussion session followed. One requirement for this is electricity and many beneficiaries pondered on how they could get the final product with the constant cut of electricity. That notwithstanding they were happy to learn it. After following the process, it was taken to the fridge for it to ice.

   Impact assessment

Out of the Selected 30 beneficiaries, 15 Households are headed by women, 8 of the households headed by men (husbands) and 7 by relatives (aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters). With an average monthly income of 23,500 FRS, household heads were either into petite businesses, menial jobs or doing nothing, and on average they take care of 5 children and other dependents each. Water Sanitation and Hygiene was a general problem noticed during registration as more than 90% of the selected beneficiaries confirmed of carrying water from the well and the condition of the water is either manageable and or dirty. With an average number of 13 persons using each toilet, and almost all of them using poorly constructed toilets: toilets that might have no door and or no zinc. About 5% of the beneficiaries practiced open defecation.  

It is therefore expected that this transfer of income makes a great difference in their living conditions.

All beneficiaries have already started business with the grant received, and are more occupied than before. Some husbands acknowledged the assistance received and are supporting their wives. Three of them called the project team to appreciate them and reiterate their support.

Beneficiaries were so happy after the training. “I had tried to make puff-puff on my own (with research from Google). It was a mess. It did not rise; the shape did not appear like what I saw on the internet. But today am so happy because I was opportune to witness and participated in the process and I had the chance to fry” said a participant. “I had begged a lady to show me how to make puff-puff she only told me the ingredients but did not explain to me what might or might not go wrong” said another participant.

“I used to live with my aunt who is in this yoghurt business. But each time she is mixing it she locks the door to her room. We only helped her in the packaging process”. Said another beneficiary. “I am glad I now know how to make yoghurt. I went to a lady once asking how to teach me how to make it. She asked me to pay a fee of 50,000frs.

“I have done many types of businesses. But I have never known what is called a business plan talk less of developing one for my business. As for book keeping it’s a new word to me. All I know is that I do buy and sell. Not minding to know how much am making. Once a see money I know the business is moving.”

30 women previously living in extreme poverty are active and doing business, and have learned many new trades to incorporate as income-generating activities. The needs are overwhelming, and Reach Out will continue programming activities in Bonabome, and rely on donnors to invest more in this community in high need. your donation has change so many lives in this community. thanks so much.

identification of beneficiaries
identification of beneficiaries
end product of first activity (puff-puff)
end product of first activity (puff-puff)
training on business management
training on business management
one on one coaching on business plan realization
one on one coaching on business plan realization
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entrepreneurship training session with women
entrepreneurship training session with women

Solange is a 26 years old Internally Displaced person from Wum in the North West Region of Cameroon. Solange is the second child in a family of 5and a single mother of 2 children.

“Ever since the crisis started in 2018, my family has constantly been on the move (Mother, siblings and her own children) just like every other family in Wum. We run into the bushes to seek for refuge when there is serious shooting between the NSAG and the Military. We had become used to this trend, but in February 2020 I lost one of my brothers in a gun battle. This depressed my mother. All of us became traumatized and we decided leave the village for Buea” Solange.

In Buea, they lived with a family member in a 1 room wood house. Being the eldest girl in the house, she followed people to their farms to do odd jobs to cater for the family and help her cousin who struggles to pay the rents. she Was referred to Reach Out by the parish priest of Immaculate conception Parish street 2 whom she confided in.

She was qualified to enter the program and received training and a business grant of 30,000 frs in August 2020 which she used to start up business (she sells boiled peanuts in the street). In addition to the grant  her cousin added 15,000frs which enabled her to buy a bag of ground nut worth 45,000frs (10 buckets of ground nuts). It somehow became a family business as her sibling joint her to also go around and sell. In a week they finished the bag of ground nut with an income of 65,000 frs to 70,000frs making an average gain of 20,000frs. Her two siblings worked with her for August, September, and October. In November she travelled to Bafia in Muyuka sub division to cater for her brother who had an accident. This caused her to stay out of business in the month of November but had to return to Buea and send one of her siblings there to continue taking care of their bother.

From the business, her two siblings resumed school at the end of October 2020. She too was able to send her first child (7 years old) to a Government school. In December Solange was the only one in the business. This caused the capital used by the business to reduce to 22,000frs because the workforce had reduced. She is the one catering for their needs in school from the business but they still helped her during weekends. This has enabled them assist their cousin especially in feeding in the house. Her mother returned back to the village with the idea to be assisting them by sending farm products. Solange plans on cooking and selling meat to attach to her snacks when she receives her second grant.

 Thank you so much for the unending support. Together we can make women and girls reach their full potentials and reduce poverty in the society. Without you, this would not have been possible.

solange discussing her challenges with Reach out
solange discussing her challenges with Reach out
an after training picture
an after training picture
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Magdaline
Magdaline

Dear donors, thank you for your relentless support. We cannot express enough gratitude for what you are doing for hundreds of women and girls in Fako and Ndian.

Magdaline is one of the 119 active participants we are assisting with your support.

This is a bit of her story.

Magdaline is an internally displaced woman from Ediki, one of the hardest-hit villages of the South West region. She used to provide for her family by keeping a small roadside restaurant selling rice and beans and other local foods. She is a mother of 5 with a set of twins inclusive and her husband has a disability caused by a bike accident six years ago. His right leg was damaged, and he uses crutches to walk. When the war became unbearable, Magdaline’s family came to Buea in 2019 and started living with her sick mother-in-law.

Immediately she came in with her own family she assumed the role of the Head of House as the adult who was healthy and strong to fend for the house.

“My husband is a very strong and hardworking man. He really feels bad when I assist him in doing something. Though in this condition, he still struggles and follows me to any nearby farm just to see the farm encourage me and be satisfied. Sometimes he will try to help me weed the farm but the pain won’t permit him to do it for long” says Magdaline.

Magdaline has 7 persons depending on her for food, shelter and medication. She started a business in a student residential when she came to Buea. In April, COVID 19 forced the government to shut down the school. Since her target population were students, she had to resort to farming for survival. Unfortunately, she did not have any land, and she had to spend money on renting and setting up the farm. “This was really expensive and too strenuous for me as a woman because I could not receive any extra help neither from my husband nor from my children because the oldest is just 13 years old” Said Magdaline. Fortunately, a relative offered his land for her to farm on for free, though it was not very fertile and full of stones. She farms a small yield of leafy vegetables. 

She was making about 25000frs a month (45$). This money was used for daily expenses of the house, especially on drugs for her sick husband and mother-in-law. Magdaline loves farming in all domains. From her little savings, she managed to buy two piglets and started rearing them, but only with grass and household waste because she could not afford feed.

In August 2020, our team met Magdaline during a door-to-door identification. She met the vulnerability criteria and we assisted her with a business grant of 30.000frs (54$) and encouraged her to set-up a business with faster turnover. With this amount, she started cooking local fritters and beans (street food) in her quarter.  Once in a while, Tanyi (her husband) helps to sell for her when she cooks in the morning and leaves for the farm. The new business helped her reduce stress and also assisted her in feeding the children. “I don’t rely 100% on this business for survival because it will strain the business and it will collapse”, said Magdaline. I still go to the farm, work for people in the afternoon hours and I have my small groundnut farm that I cultivated for my children to eat.

For the monthly follow up in September, Magdaline had a working capital of 33,775 FRS and a profit of 7,400 FRS. Though her profits are low, this could be because she was still struggling to gain the market and consolidate. In October, her capital and profits had doubled. She had 75,000 FRS (about 136 $) with a monthly profit of 15,000 FRS (27$) from the street food, while keeping her farming profits.

She is not among the best performing participants of the program, but we see immense merit in how she is handling a large family. She has great potential. She also has great responsibilities and agency. We do not have any doubt that her profits will keep growing in the coming months, and she will qualify for more support. We will keep you posted.

Thanks so much for economically empowering Magdaline and hundreds of women like her through your constant donations.

Today is Giving Tuesday, and any donation will be increased by a percentage (We estimate between 30% and 60% of your donation will be added by GlobalGiving, based on how many total donations are given) so it is a great opportunity to do more, please consider supporting us so we help more women like Magdaline.

Participant with a tailoring shop
Participant with a tailoring shop
participant in the market during follow-up session
participant in the market during follow-up session
participant selling honey
participant selling honey
Magdaline's pigs
Magdaline's pigs
Thank You!
Thank You!

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Cecilia roasts corn
Cecilia roasts corn

REPORT ON KEEP A GIRL ALIVE

Ekondo-Titi, in Ndian Division, is an underdeveloped and hard-to-reach Sub-Division with impassable and extremely poor roads. The area is shaken by food insecurity after almost 3 years of continuous conflict. 2017’s Ekondo-Titi Council Development Plan data shows an average household income of 25 USD a month, under the poverty line. During Reach Out´s measles vaccination campaign (December 2019) in Ekondo-Titi, out of 2,969 children 0-5 years screened, 209 cases of malnutrition were identified. Malnutrition is often connected to food insecurity. Serve as an example the background note of one of the cases identified by Reach Out´s Community Health Workers in Ekondo-Titi in October 2019. “These four [malnourished] children are from the same household. They are being taken care of by their grandmother who is unable to farm. These children can go for several days without food." Although Ndian represents only 9% of the population of the South-West, 14% of the villages burnt during the conflict belong to Ndian Division (data from the Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa).

Reach Out has been working in Ekondo-Titi for more than a decade, but so far, we had only carried out the Keep a Girl Alive project in Fako. Last year, we expanded from only Buea (and mostly one village, Tole) to Limbe, Tiko, Muyuka, and other areas of Buea (all under Fako Division). This 2020, the office in Ekondo-Titi requested that we bring the program there too.

This is the report from the field coordinator in Ekondo, Sylvie Ebitoh:

“The Keep A Girl Alive program so far has been moving on well in Ekondo Titi. We started with 10 beneficiaries in June, who received their first grants (50$) and training on entrepreneurship and savings. They receive routine visits from our team of social workers in Ekondo.

So far, beneficiaries have between 50$ and 150$ as capital to run their businesses and they are saving and sustaining their families with their profits.

Ruth is one of them. She started the program with no previous business capital in June, but she had good ideas. When she received the grant she started buying snails and selling in Ekondo-Titi beach, where traders from fishing ports come to sell and buy. Her most important clients are in Bekumu, a fishing community which is 28.5 KM from Ekondo-Titi. Every week she sells most of her snails there. At the beach, she saw that most fishermen were also needing palm oil, since it is not produced in their mangrove communities, and she decided to buy some and sell too in the same spot. She increased her profits by 33% this month. She can now take care of her son, and she is determined to make her business succeed.”

The team in Ekondo-Titi have achieved a 100% compliance rate, all girls who received their first grant are active, keep their books up to date, and are will go on to receive a second bigger grant. These are the reasons for their success:

“I see the girls almost every day, selling in the market, and we meet officially each Sunday. Even if I am not there they meet. They have organized a weekly savings meeting where we all discuss their progress and share ideas, and I check their books too. They have a very strong community and nobody is excluded or left behind.”

This year, we have supported 60 beneficiaries with 2nd level grants, 100 beneficiaries in Fako with 1st level grants, and 10 beneficiaries in Ekondo-Titi with 1st level grants. We will close the year providing the 2nd level grants to all of those who are successfully carrying out their businesses.

We thank you for your support and we count on you to make 2021 even bigger. 

We know you have done so much already, but we have to ask for more. We would like you to step up to a monthly donation, no matter how small.

Monthly donations:

1) Help us plan better when we know we have stable support behind the program. When we plan better, we spend more efficiently too.

2) Help you give more but feeling less. Almost everyone can donate 10$ a month, but very few people can donate 800$. One of our longest running monthly donations reached this figure after several years of donating 10$ a month.

3) Any monthly donation has a 100% bonus if you manage to give 4 times. If you sign up for a monthly donation of 20$, we get an extra donation from 20$ from globalgiving on the 4th month. 

Please, consider signing up!

Have a great day and always remember you are changing lives in Cameroon.

Clara is a seamstress
Clara is a seamstress
Gift has a cassava processor
Gift has a cassava processor
Eseh sells plantain in Ekondo-Titi market
Eseh sells plantain in Ekondo-Titi market
Ruth with her snails
Ruth with her snails

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Organization Information

Reach Out NGO

Location: Buea, South West Region - Cameroon
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @reachoutdev1
Project Leader:
Njomo Omam Esther
Executive Director
Buea, South West Region Cameroon
$128,794 raised of $147,985 goal
 
1,313 donations
$19,191 to go
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