Bonjour from Senegal!
Although we are not too active on the blog, there are a few of us Fellows here in west Africa, one of Kiva’s fastest growing partnership regions! I’m currently based in Senegal with CAURIE Microfinance.
For my first Kiva Fellows blog, I’d like to introduce you to a few of CAURIE’s clients: local entrepreneurs Awa Yombe Diagné and Mboudy Démé. I’ve had the pleasure of following their new loans on the Kiva site and meeting with them personally. While the economic and financial implications of microfinance and its impact on poverty throughout the world are incredibly interesting, equally interesting are the micro borrowers and their stories. Please read on to find out more about these Senegalese businesswomen!
AWA YOMBE DIAGNÉ: FUTURE REGIONAL TRADER
Awa lives in a village in the Thiès region of Senegal. She has been a customer of CAURIE Microfinance for several years and uses their micro-loans to stock and replenish her boutique. Awa is an ambitious business owner with a keen sense of marketing and customer service. Her boutique sells beauty products and household items and is the only one of its kind in the village. She provides a very important service by traveling to the capitol city, Dakar, and bringing back good that can only be found there. During holidays and various seasons of the year she stocks the store with goods that she knows her customers will need for parties and traveling. If a client requests something specific, she listens and brings in the requested items.
Recently, Awa began renovations on her store! Instead of pausing business during construction, Awa took her merchandise out of the store and went door to door around her village to sell the inventory.
Awa wants to eventually become a regional trader in West Africa. She hopes to travel to cities such as Dubai to import products for distribution in Senegal. To do so, she plans to become trained in management and marketing and to continue using micro-credit to reinforce and grow her business.
MBOUDY DÉMÉ: ANIMAL SALES STRATEGIST
Mboudy Démé has been in the business of buying and reselling goats and chickens with her husband for six years. They live in a very rural village near Ngollar, Senegal where water and electricity can be scarce. Mboudy has been a customer of CAURIE Microfinance for five years and has used their micro-loans for her business. She has implemented various strategies to mitigate the effects that climate and disease have on her business. During the driest season, there is not enough grass for her animals to eat and they become too emaciated to sell. So she uses her loans to purchase food and feeders to fatten them up. Through micro-loans, She has also ensured consistent and high quality vaccinations for the animals. Her animals survived a recent epidemic because of the vaccinations.
In the future, Mboudy and her husband hope to borrow a large loan to build a fenced-in area near her house to protect the animals from predators and thieves. During our interview, Mboudy kept reinforcing that there is a huge difference in the quality of her life since becoming a microfinance borrower. While she cannot make it rain or ensure regular electricity in her village, she can make improvements to her life on a smaller scale. With the expanded profits from the animal sales, she has recently purchased a water pump for her well, a television, and more nutritious food for her children.