The Livestock Micro - Business Project
The practice supports displaced and marginalized girls and women to establish a separate source of livelihood independent of their spouses, which can improve access to education, employability skills, stable income, and self-reliance. Funds are achieved through creating livestock micro businesses for Women in targeted communities with a commitment to invest in education. We started this journey in 2015, with 22 Women and 57 girls, and today, we have created 480 livestock micro-businesses and seen 555 teenage girls graduate secondary school. We also offer counsel on career choices, and more recently, through the project negotiated peace dialogues in communities affected by war in Cameroon.
The objective of the intervention is to join efforts to set new records and achievements for women and girls in education through owning micro livestock businesses that can help them raise funds and collectively overcome patriarchy and inequality associated with socio-economic instability. The distinguishing feature is to reduce the gender gap in education systems by making it accessible, affordable, and sustainable for every family. The intervention has been in three folds (3x6 approach); payment of emergency Tuition and fees; training, mentorship, and income through offering short term cash-for-work ($10/day each day) livestock business opportunities and rehabilitating community/productive assets such as constructing new buildings, drilling wells, expanding and maintaining roads leading to markets, health facilities and schools.
The barriers that patriarchy had created have been broken in terms of the gender division of labor, leadership, and education. Groups of women can capitalize on their financial stability to get wider acceptance from the community. The livestock micro-business provides them a dignified income opportunity that is enabling them support in the education of their female children. Special groups of women are also trained and certified as agricultural technicians to act as community leaders and mentors to ensure proper maintenance for successful implementation and sustainability.
First, marginalized and displaced groups of Women are identified and trained to run sustainable Livestock micro businesses. Second, proposals are developed by the women where more than 50% of the profits are designed to cover the cost of educating their children and youth. Selected elderly Women are also trained in vocational training institutions in targeted locations to act as certified community agricultural leaders who monitor other livestock micro businesses for proper maintenance and sustainability. 90% of the Women and youths are provided startup capital through paid work to start up and establish their businesses. While Women who own individual micro livestock businesses are linked with microfinance networks and city markets to promote selling and access loans up to $2000 to expand their business. Also, the groups of women and youth are provided training on group management, finance, and accounting, leadership as well as how to implement the business plan in a phase-wise manner to meet the demand and supply needs. The certified community leaders make feasibility and consumption need assessments to provide valuable information to the women who now become part of a cooperative in terms of demand and supply needs. The idea of the project is unique in these communities and for the first time implemented by groups of women who now form a cooperative in these regions in Cameroon and generate income from the opportunity. Major suppliers and traders are mostly based in the Far North and Adamawa regions of the Country and have appreciated the interventions and demonstrated their willingness to support to enhance access and affordability of the products at regional, sub-regional, and Country levels and this has made the model sustainable.
There are currently 555 girls who graduated from schools through our programs. $480.000 spent in providing seed grants, building /construction, and paying for education. The livestock micro-businesses provide a source of food that feeds 20,000 people yearly for $ 1.00 per person per day and the pigs cost $50 - 600$ each made available all year long. The Women constantly receive market demands for products and earn approximately $7/day ($200/month). The acceptance rate of women in the communities has increased. This has broken barriers of cultural and social norms giving them opportunities to take leadership roles. Some 85 Women have had challenges selling their products. The rest have recovered 90% of their seed grant. Also, since the business is implemented in these communities for the first time, other business owners have seen the sales as competition since the business is uniquely very lucrative, causing them and other neighboring villages to join the venture enabling a wider impact.
Dependency on livestock as a source of livelihood has improved food security. The opportunity to earn money from the businesses is a key factor that convinced the women as it was still new in these communities. As the intervention focused on women and youth, the biggest challenge was the perception of community members and associated pollution risks generated by livestock waste. However, the engagement of the women in all our management programs has helped to build the perception that the proposed activity supports communities effectively and Community acceptance has been the biggest enabling factor to pilot the practice.
Considering the livestock market; both at supply and demand ends, the livestock micro business was conceptualized as best for supporting Women. The effort is to influence the big suppliers and traders to decentralize the market and make livestock affordable and accessible for all. For this reason, livestock business cooperatives have been created jointly by the women in the regions. The cooperatives represent livestock micro-business owners in the communities linking them to micro Finance Networks, Chamber of Commerce, Banks, Suppliers, and Traders. The cooperatives are legally registered. After the successful implementation of this project, the next step would be to engage the more private sector to scale up for small and medium enterprises. There is an increased demand to register for access to livestock supply. The project team is working on improving the access to financial institutions and the private sector, the bottleneck and constraints for MSMEs in Cameroon.
The livestock intervention has looked into building the nexus between humanitarian and development needs and meeting the immediate needs of women and girls through supporting them with stable income and self-reliance amidst the Covid - 19 pandemics. The project has a huge potential to overcome the risk of food insecurity, illiteracy, and unemployment during the period of the pandemic. The initiative is built on an inclusive approach by engaging women and youth and it is not limited only to those who own assets thus causing little or no effect resulting from the covid-19 pandemic impact loss. Creating livestock micro-businesses as a means of intervention to respond to the pandemic as well has enabled us to build a humanitarian and development connection using this ground-breaking practice.
SDGS & Targets
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Deliverables & Timeline
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Nyong-et-so’o with Mbalmayo as its capital, Mfoundi consisting entirely of the Yaounde Capital and greater area and the Mefou-et-Afamba with its capital at Mfou all in the Center Region and the entire North West and South West Regions.