WOMEN FOR SMALL BUSINESS

by Education Fights AIDS Cameroon
WOMEN FOR SMALL BUSINESS
WOMEN FOR SMALL BUSINESS
WOMEN FOR SMALL BUSINESS
WOMEN FOR SMALL BUSINESS
WOMEN FOR SMALL BUSINESS
WOMEN FOR SMALL BUSINESS
Happy beneficiary showing us her fabrics
Happy beneficiary showing us her fabrics

SUMMARY: EFA Cameroon through a pilot project “Women for Small Business” (WOSB) is engaged to empower vulnerable women and young girls in a bit to reduce gender inequalities among men and women. The main objective is to assist at least 1000 vulnerable women and girls out of financial dependency through small business schemes in communities of Diamare Division, Far North region of Cameroon. And specifically, to: i- reduce the women and young girls’ dependency vis-a-vis their spouses ; ii- increase beneficiaries’ revenue through income generating activities ;iii- reinforce women rights to lucrative activities of their choices; and iv- stimulate feminine creative potentials in the wealth creation processes.

Activities Realized :Supervision of 05 groups comprising of 10 vulnerable women per group in 05 localities: Efforts for the period were concentrated to work with the women of Palar II, and there has been significant progress. Monthly meetings have evolved to a rotative system to encourage solidarity and the credit is quite innovative and functional.

Human Interest Story:  Women carried out various small-scale businesses, some were seasonal like fruits and vegetable businesses. Mairamou opted to step up her game from mangoes, patched peanuts… sales to fabrics and had this to say: “The loan system has been helpful especially to me because it is with the loan that we work. Personally, I use to do business before but the creation of this group has been a turning point for me. I was able to begin with fabrics, I began with say 04 pieces and now I am able to acquire and sell up to 30 and more pieces per month. Turnover has been awesome: I take care of household and academic needs from my 04 kid with more ease now and most especially medical care for my husband who has been seriously sick for 10 months now. All of these would not be possible without the assistance of EFA Cameroon and her partners – GlobalGiving so I am really grateful and hope more could be done because there are more women who have been inspired by our group and wish to have financial freedom as well.

Continuity: Given the impact of the pilot phase of the program and the fact that EFA Cameroon is limited financially and would want to do more, we are calling on GlobalGiving to accompany us reach out to more women who have expressed interest and are in situations of vulnerability given that the Far North is still in the recovery and reconstruction stage and that more women need to be financially independent.

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Suzanne testified to encourage other women
Suzanne testified to encourage other women

International Women’s Week Campaign Preparation Report

Brief Summary

Education Fights Aids (EFA) Cameroon is one of the community-based non-profits in Cameroon whose vision is to reach out to the vulnerable communities in the Far North Region and Cameroon. EFA Cameroon works toward empowering women especially through the creation of income generation activities to promote women and girls and reduce the gender gap that is quite evident in the northern part of Cameroon. It is following this that it would be participating in the International Women’s Week Campaign in partnership with GlobalGiving to foster women and girls leadership and advocate gender equality even in the face of the global health challenge the world is faced with.

Objectives

With regards to the International Women’s Week Campaign, EFA Cameroon has as to globally promote gender equality among 10.000 vulnerable women and girls through experience sharing and discussions in leadership and business management in the Far North Region of Cameroon.

Preparatory Activities

The following activities have been realized so far with Women’s Week Campaign in view.

-          Experience sharing involving 50 vulnerable women from 5 communities : Women of the Palar neighborhood were transported in cars provided by EFA to Gakle and those from Mbalgare joined those in Missingleo where they talked about their petti-businesses and learned from each other.

-          Radio Talk at Djamaare FM: One vulnerable woman from Gakle who is engaged in an income generation activity thanks to WOSB.

Success Story

At the radio, Suzane the beneficiary from Gakle testified of how her she has gained financial independence from her carrot and millet business thanks to the loan provided by the WOSB project and called on other women to get out of their from their homes and feign for their homes instead of playing weak all the time. She is quite grateful and equally called on EFA Cameroon to do more by getting more vulnerable women involved.

Lesson Learnt

The experience sharing gave women the means to express themselves better which something that is rare. They could propose even business ideas to each other especially those dealing in seasonal foods such as fruits and vegetables.

We gathered from discussions that the International Women’s day used to offer them space to learn and develop their potential  but they have been limited by religious barriers. So the effort of EFA Cameroon to bring them together was appreciated.

 

Impact of the Activity

By making women to leave their place in the backyard, they were able to participate in and be part of changing the narrative as far as women and girls’ leadership and gender equality is concerned.

 

Planned Activities for the Campaign

-          Community  Sensitizations of the importance of women and girls’ empowerment.

-          Social media posting to propagate women’s leadership and gender equality.

Sharing to learn and grow
Sharing to learn and grow
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Summary

Women in the Far North region have always been marginalized and this has been accentuated by both armed and natural conflicts. Girls drop out of school and are sometimes forced into early marriages or devoted to mainly household chores. Most of them wish to gain financial autonomy but are usually limited by material and intellectual resources. EFA Cameroon therefore came up with a pilot project “Women for Small Business” ( WOSB)  to in collaboration with the Maroua City Council empower vulnerable women and young girls. The scheme is aimed at assisting identified and willing vulnerable women to gain financial autonomy through small scale businesses. And improve community saving system.

The main objective is to assist at least 1000 vulnerable  women and girls out of financial dependency through small business schemes in communities of Diamare Division, Far North region of Cameroon. And specifically, to: i- reduce the women and young girls’ dependency vis-a-vis their spouses ; ii- increase beneficiaries’ revenue through income generating activities ;iii- reinforce women rights to lucrative activities of their choices; and iv- stimulate feminine creative potentials in the wealth creation processes.

Activities Realized

So far, the following activities have been planned and realized in order to meet the set objectives

Information of Authorities ( communication and sensitizations)

Administrative and local authorities of Diamare Division were visited and sensitized and project documents submitted as part of the pre-liminary implementation process.

Targeting and Selection of Beneficiaries

05 communities of the Diamare Division were targeted and local authorities presented the well-established pre- selection criteria for identification and registration of vulnerable women and girl. Based on the pre-selection criteria a door-to-door registration was carried after which a total of 50 vulnerable women were selected to constitute the first  set of beneficiaries for this pilot project

Launching of Program

Under the auspices of the Mayor of  Maroua City, the project was officially launched on December 4, 2020 at the Maroua City Townhall. The ceremony was graced by the presence of  the Lawans ( local authorities) of the 05 communities and the 50 selected beneficiaries.

-          05 metal secured metal cash boxes each containing the sum of 200 USD were symbolically handed 05 groups of women as per community ( each group comprised of 10 women each).

Capacity Building Workshop 

To ensure the proper management of funds by each group, beneficiaries were trained on the following modules: marketing, the value of work, income management ( loans and refunding) and community management and social cohesion.

Testimonies

“ I was amazed at the solidarity shown me when I took ill. Thank you, my fellow women, for showing so much attention. Thanks to the loan, I was able to save money from the profit I made from my petti-business of white beans, jujube, peas… I bought drugs for my treatment from the savings I made. I am indeed grateful to EFA Cameroon and the Mayor of Maroua City” Mido, a beneficiary of the Mbalgare neighborhood.

 

Sustainability Plan

Community perception and feedback about the pilot project was positive. EFA Cameroon would therefore take a step further with GlobalGiving to reach out to the set target of 1000 vulnerable women and girls'  in the Far North region to empower them and advocate  gender equality through the scheme that is already in motion. 

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Organization Information

Education Fights AIDS Cameroon

Location: Maroua - Cameroon
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Alim Ousmanou
Maroua, Cameroon
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