Challenge: Africa’s growth needs to include underserved communities.
There is no denying that Africa’s economies are on the rise. However, hundreds of millions of Africans are still locked in the cycle of poverty. With almost every circumstance stacked against them and financial services out of reach, subsistence lifestyles are often all even the most determined Africans can achieve. This is especially true for women and Africa’s ever-growing youth population.
Africare’s Solution: Africa’s growth can be inclusive.
Financial inclusion: Access to financial services, and training on how to effectively use them, can at long last grant underserved Africans the opportunity to share in their continent’s rise.
Graduated Mentorship: After conducting a market assessment to determine local economic opportunities, Africare hires local trainers to teach co-operative groups the skills they need to capitalize on these market prospects. Africare also facilitates “business literacy.” What does that mean? Running a business is more than having a technical skill! Africare works to transfer knowledge on savings and investment plans, locally appropriate technology, business plan writing, microfinance applications, applying for credit, and more. All of these skills are reinforced in our mentorship model, occurring with peer guidance in step-by-step phases. As co-ops progress through training phases, new co-ops enter the training cycle behind them, and the trained groups become mentors to the new trainees, teaching from their personal experience. This provides project participants with additional local support, and as trainees graduate, the process becomes increasingly sustainable. Through Africare/Senegal’s PRODIAKT project, local community-based organizations produced 328 business plans that received a total of $290,000 in loans, and the project participants achieved a 98% loan repayment rate.
Self Selection: Africare knows that not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, so we work with co-operatives that are already in business. This means that project participants are the community members who have already shown their desire to be involved and benefit from additional training. Targeting self-selected entrepreneurs maximizes Africare’s project impact and further empowers these emerging community leaders.
Check out our blog, or the related content to your left, to see examples of Africare’s approach to Economic Development in action.