September 2017 Program Roundup
September 27, 2017
From the closing ceremony celebration for 18 of our Survival Skills students in the Dominican Republic to positive results coming from the entrepreneurs in Haiti, we have had a month full of growing and learning as we serve remarkable men, women and children around the world.
Local authorities in Bauya, Sierra Leone have taken notice of the incredible work our Project Manager and Field Officer Sullay Turay and Field Officers Joe and Jenneh Lassayo are doing. This has motivated our team in the field to pursue national registration of our Bauya, Sierra Leone program. National registration will provide a stronger sense of legitimacy to their work in the eyes of the community members and local authorities. We are encouraged to see the Sierra Leone community involved in the Agriculture Training program taking risks in accepting new techniques, owning the program and being proud of their hard work. This supports our mission to make an “impact that lasts” and ultimately equips men and women to continue their work independently.
In Ghana, two new Savings Groups, Nyame Mmre and Mia Wani, were formed. As we continue to experience growth in our Savings Group program, our team is working hard to remove themselves from that work and empower members of first and second generation groups to be the trainers of these new second and third generation groups. This reinforces our philosophy of finding key local leaders to take ownership and pass on the knowledge and skills they have learned in their groups to members of their communities.
The Biakoye C Savings Group in Ghana participated in their first cycle share out. The group ended with a savings balance of GHS 11,093.10 and a social balance of GHS 605.00. Twenty-four of the 28 members received a share out at a return of 24%. They will be continuing on to their second cycle and have participated in the formation of another savings group (Mia Wani). They are effectively working toward independence and will need only slight mentoring from our team as they move forward into their second cycle.
With the launch of our new Haiti Entrepreneur Development program last month, we were able to provide capital investment for 23 program participants to start their own businesses. This month, we were excited to see the entrepreneurs’ tremendous results as they took their first steps as business owners.
Twenty of our program participants were able to make their August payment on time. Only three businesses, a seed nursery and two chicken farms, did not report sales since their business will take time to reach a sales stage. Therefore, we had allowed them gestation period to make repayment when their business enters the market.
Total sales for the 20 enterprises in the month of August were 389,367 Haitian Gourde (HTG) (approximately $6,489.) This is a 47% return on the initial investment of 825,000 HTG ($13,750). The total profit for this month was 140,619 HTG ($2,344), 36% of sales. These initial figures are far above our expectations.
In addition to these promising financial returns, we saw community impact in the form of job creation. Thirty jobs were created, 20 for the new business owners who were previously unemployed, and 10 supporting staff positions. Through this program, we are able to actively track the progress of each entrepreneur and see Just Hope’s mission of equipping men and women with the tools they need to provide for their families truly come to life.
All of the participants are students at the University of Jeremie. Prior to the program, many were behind on their tuition fees and considering dropping out, but now they have hope. Now, they are successful entrepreneurs, paying off their college debts, supporting their families and regaining dignity as they work towards building their future. This program has been a “real blessing” as the University of Jeremie President, Dr. Dony St. Germain puts it. It is a blessing to the students, the University of Jeremie and the community.
This month, 18 of our Survival Skills Students in the Dominican Republic gathered to celebrate the first year of the program at their closing ceremony. It was a pivotal moment in the lives of these young women, who have learned the value of education and have developed skills to help them secure employment outside the walls of their orphanage.
Each of the young women was honored as their teachers shared the growth and achievements they recognized in each student since beginning the program. Seven of the girls were handed a certificate as a symbol of their achievement. As they begin their journey into adulthood, we trust they will lean on the lessons they learned as they continue their education, search for employment in the local market, and work to achieve their goals.