The impact of a job

July 28, 2014

Especially in the rural areas of Sierra Leone, jobs are few and far between. Most people scratch out an existence with various odd jobs, such as making and selling charcoal and processing palm kernels into palm oil, but the large majority of their time and energy goes toward meeting their own consumption needs. Our recent assessment estimates that about 70% of human energy goes toward food procurement, which makes it extremely difficult to escape poverty.

We are committed to creating jobs as a means to make an ‘impact that lasts.’ Through steady work, people have the chance to earn a decent wage and exit the quagmire of survival living. In the last 21 months, more than 80 women and men have earned wages from Just Hope on our job site in Bauya. Some people have worked short stints with us, and others have been with us since the very beginning.

The jobs have involved construction, agriculture and security, and we have set wages at about $2 per day. While this figure is shockingly low by U.S. standards, wages that are set too high can cause a serious upset of the social order and actually endanger the people we mean to help. Our wages are about double the national average, and as opposed to alternative opportunities for income, our jobs carry no financial risk and include a meal with each shift and health care for job-related illness and injury.

We are seeing a number of families thrive from a steady income – both financially and psychologically. Having a job is a powerful means of achieving dignity and self-worth, and a people who do not believe in their own self-worth can hardly be expected to break the chains of poverty.