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West Africa

$0 needed of $106,000

Implementing Organization

World Renew

Program Summary

The West Africa program works to improve production of, access to, and use of food in over 70 villages. Training encompasses conservation agriculture, tree preservation and reforestation, gardening and nutrition, village savings and loans, small business management, raising animals, as well as health and hygiene. Through these combined approaches and by focusing on increasing the knowledge and capacities of partner staff and local facilitators, over 2,400 participants are improving their food security. The local partner, SEL, is a small organization whose goal is to “show everyone love” regardless of their religion or ethnicity, by helping people improve their food security. Due to the challenging security context in this region, the program partners request that we do not publicly share information regarding their specific location for the safety of their staff.

Success Stories

Fake It Till You Make It

Even though Anissa knew nothing about running a business, she volunteered to be a Household Advisor on Small Business at the urging of a trainer because she knew she’d receive instruction on how to do it. 

“I couldn’t imagine how having a small business would improve the life of my family,” she says. “When I’d spent what little I earned from my harvest, I’d borrow money from someone any time a need arose. I had a hard time managing the household and providing for my children, paying school fees, buying staple foods, and so forth.” 

The trainer explained to the volunteers the ins and outs of starting and building a small business. Anissa felt more and more enthusiasm as she learned about studying the market, choosing good-quality supplies, calculating profits, reducing expenses, and how to forecast the unforeseen. She also joined a Village Savings and Lending Association, and saved up for when and if she figured out what business suited her. All this while continuing to farm and care for her family.

Anissa quickly saw a market opportunity, and decided to sell baobab leaves. Baobab, also called “tree of life,” is the tall tree with the smooth trunk that looks like it is growing root-side-up. All of its parts are edible, highly nutritious and prized for medicinal properties. The leaves are tangy and can be cooked like spinach. She started out buying three to five large sacks of them in her village to sell in the city on market day. Little by little, she earned enough to increase her business, and is currently buying and selling 40 to 50 bags a week. 

She makes good money on her sales and uses her earnings for food, clothing and necessities for the family. She has bought three oxen and a cart to use on her land and to rent out. She makes a great Household Advisor on Small Business because she has an inspiring story to tell. “If I can do this, you can, too,” she says. Not only is she managing the household much better, her husband appreciates the positive changes she’s brought about, and helps her with the business. 

West Africa Program
Led by World Renew and Local Partner Showing Everyone Love

Household Advisors Share Their Expertise

“Learn, do and share” is the refrain of the program’s cadre of Household Advisors. These women and men receive training in one of the sectors covered by the program, such as Agriculture, Revenue, Family Responsibilities, and Maternal and Infant Health. They receive a small stipend to encourage them to share their areas of expertise with their villages’ Savings Groups.

Sometimes the training is exactly what a particular group member needed to hear, and during area “Sharing Meetings” these individuals will get up to testify to the enormous role the Advisors have played in their lives.

For example, a Household Advisor knowledgeable in kitchen gardening moved Banda to plant vegetables during the off season, after he sells his millet crop. Now, instead of yearly hunger months, he has food for his family, some for their neighbors, and some to sell to cover household expenses.

Adama said her Advisor helped her with all the ins and outs of raising chickens, and she’s gone from having no knowledge in the practice to being the largest chicken seller in her village.

And Ountchedi and his wife got all their papers in order. They didn’t understand why they kept getting stopped and fined at police checkpoints when they traveled to the city for marketing or medical treatment. The checkpoints are aimed at minimizing the movement of violent extremists, and proper documentation is required. On some trips they were fined so many times they barely had enough money to get back home. Says Ountchedi, “I want to stress the importance of the advice I got from the Family Household Advisor. He informed us that it is an obligation for every adult to have an ID card, birth certificate, nationality document, and family record book, and told us how to apply for them. Now we travel in peace; the authorities can notify relatives in case of accidents; and our children don’t risk getting kicked out of school.”

West Africa Program
Led by World Renew and Local Partner Showing Everyone Love

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