While Covid was roaring through the Global North, pushing advanced medical systems to the brink, the infection had a different impact in the Global South. For instance, in Rwanda the government acted swiftly to lockdown the population, and it provided reliable public health education. As a result, an impressive 60% of Rwandans have had at least one vaccination, while the African average is 15%.
However, the byproduct of lockdown has been economic hardship, with people unable to get to work, and businesses failing. Network for Africa has responded with a livelihood training scheme, equipping people with financial knowledge and business skills.
Training in Entrepreneurship & Financial Management
Mediatrice is an orphan survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, and the mother of three children. Before the pandemic, she had a small firm buying crops from farmers and selling them on when the price rose. Yet, her business dried up during lockdown. Since then, she has found it hard to get the capital needed to start again. Her husband is a casual day worker who does not have a reliable source of employment, and they have no collateral with which to get a loan. Most crucially though, banks do not see her as an obvious customer.
Mediatrice recently attended our two-day course on entrepreneurship and financial management. She learned about how to avoid high interest loans, managing her savings and cashflow, and about how financial institutions work. She now has the confidence to apply for a loan of $250 or GBP 200 to start her business. When she approaches a bank, she will understand what questions she is asked and will be able to represent herself as a good potential customer.
Belancile also ran into trouble during the pandemic. She had a sewing machine business, but she lacked the capital to keep it going through lockdown. Although it was a profitable firm, she needed cash to feed her three children, rather than investing in more sewing tool kits. Belancile also attended our two-day course and learned about entrepreneurship and finance. Now she is applying for a loan of $310 or GBP 250.
Making It Possible
Network for Africa is grateful to the Blackfriars Overseas Aid Trust (BOAT) for making this training possible. BOAT had its origins in 1984 when a group attending Family Mass at Blackfriars in Oxford, England, got together. They formed a charity aimed at making a difference, relieving poverty and promoting education. BOAT’s generous support to our livelihoods project in Rwanda achieves both of those aims, helping Belancile, Mediatrice and many more like them. These women are lifting themselves out of poverty, and with a little help they can develop the skills and confidence to run a successful business and give their children a better future. We thank BOAT for their kindness.
Your support for our project counselling young survivors of the Rwandan genocide will be doubled if you kindly donate between November 29 and December 6, clicking on the button below. The annual Big Give match-giving event accepts all major credit and debit cards. Thank you.I’D LIKE TO SUPPORT N4A’S BIG GIVE CAMPAIGN