July 2017 Program Roundup
July 25, 2017
True community development is coming out of the Savings Groups. One group, the Piepanda Savings Group, has learned to use the process to work through disagreements and other problems that arise from time to time, in addition to the normal week-to-week activities. Members are learning to work through their struggles, building the trust that is necessary for a Savings Group to thrive.
The Seed Loan Program in Bauya is going strong and promising to produce an excellent harvest. Participants are anticipating the upcoming harvest amid fears about how they will process and store the return. Plans have been put in place to addresses processing and storage and we’re looking forward to a season of success and learning.
In Lunsar, we are actively identifying farmers and Savings Group members that show serious desire to make a difference in their lives, individually and communally. One group of pastors has shown significant growth in the understanding and application of sustainable conservation agriculture. This group has the hunger and passion for impacting their communities, and we are eager to support them.
The One Word Savings Group, led by Winnie Koroma, is actively working within the Seed Loan Program. This group has maintained a steady and high participation rate from group members as they nurture the groundnut plots. The group has already discussed how they might expand their enterprise in the future.
The Biakoye B Savings Group celebrated the end of their first cycle with a 29% return on their year-long investment. As we’ve seen with other groups, returns such as this encourage members and reinforce ideas that they can work toward financial independence, and create a lasting impact for themselves, their families and their community.
This month, participants in Just Hope’s Entrepreneurship Development Program shared what they’ve learned and how they are doing on their business plans. One entrepreneur, Michael, talked about his key lesson: starting small. Michael discussed how he can start the business with early adopters from his Savings Group who request loans to buy agrochemicals, and farmers who work in the city but have farms in surrounding towns.
Survival Skills students have been working on understanding the transportation system in their community. Students took the metro bus around town, which seemed a little scary at times because the bus would go underground. Some of the students are from indigenous areas where transportation is limited and no buses go to or from their homes, so many had to use small boats to travel. But, the girls faced their fears and practiced this valuable skill.
Students also had a guest speaker, Mercedes, a former student, who was able to share her successes with the class. She talked about finishing high school, going to college and working to pay for her expenses. Having a relatable person share about her life is encouraging and reminds students that they are working toward independence.
Melva brought a guest, Maylen Ramos, to the classroom to share with the girls the importance of organization and consistency when it comes to studying. She talked about how good study habits were important for her to achieve her goals and how they also helped her receive a scholarship, which is important when living with difficult economic situations.
This month, Survival Skills students visited a rehab center to promote the prevention of drug use and learn about the risks and consequences of recreational drugs. Students stopped at a local supermarket to purchase items to donate to the rehab center. At the center, they learned about the center itself and how the people there are working to turn their lives around. Students asked questions, shared and even sang.