Taste of Truimph-Story of Success in Ruhiira village,Uganda
As already discussed in my previous blogs,I am working with millennium villages project on their one of the most ambitious plans ” Eminyeeto”(meaning youth in local runyankore language) girls and young women empowerment programme.
As a part of this programme one of the essential component was to enable these women to carry out a female led business enterprise which makes them self dependent and accountable with a sense of pride in handling their own business.We developed a more comprehensive approach to this empowerment program that addresses the financial and emotional needs specifically of the young women from the community under the age of 25 who have been forced to drop out of school due to pregnancy.We conducted focus group sessions and found a strong need for a bakery was expressed to transform these women into entrepreneurs to earn their livelihood.
Based on the infield analysis we plan to open a simplified bakery operation in the ruhiira village cluster with an expectation that each women(selected group of eight women) will be able to earn atleast $2 a day(average daily income in the cluster is somewhere less than$1).In addition the business will be able to retain excess profits to reinvest in growth of the program with the aim to become entirely self supporting in the due course of time.The current plan was to open two simplified bakeries in two locations in ruhiira village which will produce and sell mandazi(fried dough type product).Initially these bakeries would produce only mandazi’s but there is a possibility of expanding later to other baked products.
As a part of this income generating activities geared towards the girls who were forced to drop out of school,these girls have participated in the accounts and business development trainings along with one special session on group dynamics conducted by me with my local coordinator in the ruhiira village.
Furthermore extensive training in Mandazi making with a local baker has been done and the project has been successfully launched in the cluster with lots of efforts being put into it.Currently I am the one who is looking after the accounts and operations along with supervising the complete process.However I have been making all these women learn about the basic concepts of revenue generating and book keeping, which they all are reciprocating a positive manner.Their urge to learn the skills and that too in a short span of time is really encouraging.
The women have started selling the product and are very well able to understand the market dynamics like Distribution,Sales,Account Management,Procurement and Customer feedback.The revenues earned by the operations of this bakery can be utilized to buy sanitary pads and undergarments for the girls who cannot afford to buy them on their own in order to lower the girls school absence during menstrual periods and abolish the phenomenon of “Absenteeism”from ruhiira cluster which is actually quite rampant.
Another positive aspect of running their own enterprise is all the selected women can come together for workshops on a variety of topics and since they are all going to meet each other on day to day basis the feeling of liberation and self sufficiency is definitely going to make them feel stronger with leadership skills.
GLAXOSMITHKLINE PHARMACEUTICALS LTD,