Togo in West Africa is one of the poorest countries in the world. Here the true pillar of the family, the women, are particularly affected by the difficulties of life: work in the fields, chores of collecting water, education of children. They have business ideas and dreams, but not enough knowledge of how to start and run a small-scale business. They also lack access to traditional bank loans as they do not have sufficient assets to be solvent.
The Rotary Club of Stockholm International, together with some other Rotary Clubs in Stockholm, executed a fundraising project in 2017-2018 to raise money to support a local program run by collaborating NGO’s S.E.VIE and Action10. Rotary’s contribution has been SEK=66.000 and Action10’s SEK=43.000 which is roughly 2/3 of the final goal to build a fund of 10 Million FCFA (West African Franc). This sum will make the program available for 200 women entrepreneurs simultaneously and secure the sustainability of the program.
After dividing the women into smaller groups, the program offers them training and education in basic business planning, negotiating, pricing and accounting. Their businesses can be anything from producing and selling food, drinks and clothing to cutting people’s hair. Small loans (“Action Credits”) are available with a weekly repayment schedule that is spread over six months. These “Action Credits” will help the women to set up and see their businesses through the startup period. The loans are individual, but the repayment responsibility lies with the small group the women belong to. If, for any reason, a woman cannot repay her weekly amount – the other women in her group will do it on her behalf. This creates a strong commitment & accountability and secures the repayment of the credits.
When the program is fully running, with 200 women in the program, the interest (10%) charged for the loans will cover the salaries for the S.E.VIE staff facilitating the program. The yearly plan for the program includes a financial coach and the hiring of an independent program auditor.
The status now (February 2019) is that S.E.VIE and Action10 are finalizing the plans to launch this program. We intend to provide updates on the project and program on this blog as it proceeds.
In an earlier post we mentioned that together with several other Rotary clubs in the Stockholm area and elsewhere we are participating in a Rotary International supported Global Grant Project in Sohag, Egypt. Here comes an update on the status of the project so far:-
The target village in the district of Sohag is El Saala.
Most of the over 6000 meters of pipeline has been laid and 50% of the target 182 houses in the village are now connected and have access to clean water.
The construction work is being carried out by the Water Authority of the Sohag District. They together with Unicef, Egypt are also taking care of the hygiene training of the villagers as well as the future maintenance of the installation.
The entire project is being supervised by Engineer Mr. Amin Sabri a member of The Rotary Club of Heliopolis Shorouk.
The project is receiving good press and social media coverage and is expected to be completed within the next few months.
Together with several other Rotary clubs in the Stockholm area and elsewhere we are pleased to announce our involvement in a Rotary Foundation supported Global Grant Project in Sohag, Egypt.
Sohag is a district in southern Egypt where child mortality rates are high and where many villages in the district do not have direct access to drinking water . Women and children especially have to walk long distances to collect what is often contaminated water in buckets.
The goal of the project is to install pipelines to bring drinking water into the villages and to connect the houses to these pipelines. In this specific project, a pipeline is being built with a length of 6 635 metres. From this pipeline 182 houses will be connected thus supplying 1820 persons with clean drinking water.
Together with the other Rotary clubs in Stockholm that make up the International Project Group* (IPG) we aim to raise 2500 USD towards this project with our Rotary District then coming in to match this amount with an additional 2500 USD.
The main fund raising event for the project will take place in April, 2018. Please read here for details of the event and how you can participate.
* The IPG is made up of Stockholm-Sergel Rk, Stockholm-Ladugårdslandet Rk, Stockholm International Rc, Stockholm-Djurgården Rk and Rotaract Djurgården.
Since 2013 our club has been pleased to be contributing to a wonderful education project in Kathmandu, Nepal. We have teamed up with Pi-Charlotte Strindberg’s and Svante Strindberg’s Nepal Education Project to sponsor three girls through the next three years of their schooling. Their names are Subekchya, Sonisha and Pragati.
Through our sponsoring of their school tuition they now have the chance to drastically improve their future way beyond what their backgrounds and cultural traditions would normally allow.
Recently two of the original three girls sponsored by Nepal Education have finally graduated from both their schools as well as their own cycles of poverty. One is on her way to becoming a doctor and the other now works in a bank. Through our sponsorship we actively intend to affect three more happy endings in a few years time.
We will be providing updates on the progress being made by Subekchya, Sonisha and Pragati over these three years of sponsorship as we receive it. Until then you are welcome to find out more about Nepal Education and all of the girls currently being supported by them and our clubHERE.