‘Saving to Move Ahead’, a partnership between RAEDD and the Stromme Foundation.
In Niger poverty mainly affects rural women.
For RAEDD, women living in rural areas possess experience, know-how and readiness to work. With its own resources, RAEDD has already taken several initiatives to support women’s economic initiatives : revive the spinning and weaving industry in Lougou, encourage the Wassadahatchi women who are reclaiming land, for example.
The Stromme Foundation has already extended its ‘Saving to Move Ahead’ programme to Niger, after Mali and Burkina Faso.The aim is first to reinforce women’s organisational and institutional capacities through mobilizing local savings and reinvesting it through self-managed loans, and also to promote their involvement in managing their groups and villages.
The Stromme Foundation, aware of RAEDD’s efficient handling of Gateway Classes, offered a partnership. That’s why our NGO launched the ‘Saving to Move Ahead’ program.
Thanks to support from the Stromme Foundation, the ‘Saving to Move Ahead’ program was launched in the communities of Dankassari, Dogondoutchi, Kiéché, Matankari et Soucoutane in the Dodondoutchi Departement..
The general objectives of the first year are :
- help women in poor rural areas to get organised in solidarity groups.
- improve their management ability to enable them to mobilize their own savings.
- monitor the groups so that the women can grant each other small loans bearing interest to finance income-generating activities.
- provide the members of the group with suitable training to improve their health and their living conditions.
- secure the involvement and intervention of active local partners who share the ideals of the programme.
The targets set for 2010 are :
- creating at least 120 groups numbering 25 women each.
- Involving at least 3000 women in the programme.
- getting the women involved to mobilize savings amounting to14,400,000 F CFA (100F CFA per woman per week x 52 weeks x 3,000 women.
- At least 80% of the savings are to be loaned to the women involved.
- A least 50% of the women involved are to regularly use mosquito nets.
- Each of the 3,000 women is to be able to speak in public and to explain the way in which paludism spreads.
Through that programme, the women will :
- learn about community associations.
- learn to save, to grant and get loans and to create income-generating activities.
- get knowledge in varous fields, particularly concerning health and the illness that kills more than HIV/AIDS : paludism.
- improve their ability to speak in public and develop an ability to play a part in village decision making cirlcles.
As RAEDD has a farm producing spiruline in Dogondoutchi, the project will also include a section on malnutrition and how to combat it.
In June 2010, the following results have been observed :
- 151 groups have been set up.
- 3,715 women are involved in the programme.
- 18,000,000 Franc CFA have been saved.
- 88% of the funds are lent to women group members.
By the end of 2011, the program has been implemented in the 10 localities of the Dogon Doutchi department..
In November 2011 the results are as follows:
- Seven thousand one hundred and fifty four (7154) working women from the 279 groups which started the savings activities are now supported by the EPC program agents.
- Five thousand eight hundred and seventy-seven (5877) group members are presently benefiting from a loan.
- The overall amount raised by the various groups is estimated at 56,942,640 FCFA and the savings reach 42,684,675 FCFA.
- The amount granted for loans is 49,099,480FCFA, which represents 86% of the sums raised by the women.
In June 2013, the ‘Saving to Move Ahead’ program concerns two Departements, namely that of Dogondoutchi which includes the communities of Dankassari, Dogonkiria, Kiéché, Matankari and Soucoutane and that of Tibiri with the communities of Tibiri, Doumega, Guéméché and Koré-Mairoua. Today, ‘Saving to Move Ahead’ operates in 145 villages out of the 471 villages making up the two Departements. The program has led to the creation of 494 groups.
So far 293 groups have completed the Skill Consolidation Module, while 201 groups are still being monitored. The total number of women involved amounts to 12 307, with 6 892 beneficiaries of loans. The groups have summoned a total amount of 92 819 018 CFA, with savings of 70 566 285 CFA.
Mrs Illa Méri Gado, an illiterate member of the group Taimakon Kaidakai (or Let’s Help Each Other) has been married for four years and has two daughters. Her husband is a poultry salesman; they live on the outskirts of the village. Before she married, at her father’s home, she was so shy that her voice was hardly ever heard. She had very few friends. After her marriage, the situation was unchanged. One day she noticed a group of women at a ‘Saving to Move Ahead’ meeting and was so moved at the sight that she dared ask to join the activity. After joining she attended regularly and arrived ahead of everyone at the weekly meetings. Thanks to the training and the support of members she has gradually overcome the shackles that cut her off socially. Now her life has taken a fresh turn and at home she is more lively than before.
That’s why Méri wishes that all the women in the area could benefit from the initiative; according to her it contributes to women’s social integration.