Friday, 8 August 2014

The Micro-Credit Mums who are big on results

Ni zabre!
This week the volunteers had the opportunity to support HSB with the monitoring and evaluation of the organisation’s micro-credit scheme.
With support from UK school Frederick Gough, who visited Burkina in February, HSB’s micro-credit scheme was launched in March 2014 and has so far provided small loans to eleven mothers who bring their children to Espace Bambino. The loans have supported the women in developing income-generating activities and is led by Drop-In Centre manager, Nathalie Ilboudo, who verifies how the money is spent and evaluates the impact that the loans are making on the lives of each family involved.

Razak, Tankoano, Blake, Nathalie, and Razak's mum, Aisetta

Our first visit was to the home of Pascaline, mum to Paulin, who used savings to purchase a weaving machine before applying to HSB’s micro-credit scheme in order to buy her first lot of cotton. She is now producing fabric from her courtyard by buying the cotton from the local market, dying it, and weaving it together to create fabrics of different colours, patterns and thicknesses. Eight year old Paulin was excited to show us his school books which show that he is consistently top of his class (of ninety eight students!)
HSB, Paulin, and family
It was thanks to Pascaline that Farida’s mum, Rihanata, found out about the scheme. Rihanata ran a small food stall before joining up to the scheme, but the money she borrowed has enabled her to diversify her product range and thus offer more to her customers – she is now ordering stock from as far afield as Bobo-Dioulasso. She now sells coal, péssa (a starchy food), bassi (a bit like couscous), yam, peanut oil, koura-koura (peanut donuts) and sugared peanuts. She showed the HSB team how she makes peanut oil by grinding the nuts into a paste in a physically demanding process. Farida’s mum faced unfortunate circumstances two months ago when a fire wiped out her stock. Despite having to set up her stall from scratch, Farida’s mum did not dwell on this setback and, in testament to her fortitude, has now got her business back up and running.
Rahim's mum, Marietta, with little sister Rachida, and brother Razak
On Friday we made our second round of visits to the mums of Rahim, Oumar and Razak. All three have seen an increase in income as a result of the scheme, but the team were concerned to hear how Marietta has faced discrimination in the community because she has a disabled child. We spoke about strategies that Marietta can use in order to bring in customers and crucially, as Nathalie re-iterated, raise awareness about disability at the same time.
The visits were a reflective experience for all the volunteers, the sheer distance we covered by 4x4 prompting us to think about the difficult journey the mothers make by bike to bring their children to Espace Bambino each week, and the value that the centre provides.

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