“Objectives: To make it possible for the women to remain on their land by giving them the chance to earn substantial income in order to meet their basic living needs.
Activities: Harvesting and sale of local incense [note: this incense is made from the roots of the grass that grows in the Senegal River and is popular in markets throughout Senegal], in addition to small-scale retail sale of local products. [The incense-selling business] will consist of harvesting the incense roots where they grow and then processing them into incense which will be sold in the local market and in the other markets of Senegal.”
Original French business description:
- Fixer les femmes dans leur terroir
- Leurs permettrent d’avoir des revenus substantiels pour la prise en charge de leurs besoins prioritaires ;
Exploitation de l’encens au niveau local
Il s’agit de chercher la matière première sur place et ensuite le traiter avant de le vendre dans le marché local comme dans les autres localité du Pays.»
Senegal is one of the world’s poorest countries, yet its solid democratic tradition and highly developed associational life distinguish it from other countries in its income group. Especially remarkable are Senegal’s networks of rotating savings and credit associations, known as tontines. Commonly organized by groups of twenty to thirty housewives who live in the same village, the tontines provide poor women throughout the country with small loans to finance modest income-generating activities. Repayment rates within these associations are excellent, because they are based on local reputation and personal trust between the members. However, their financial resources are limited to the contributions of their members, frequently subsistence farmers with very little disposable income. This has prevented the traditional tontines from meeting the demand for rural microenterprise loans and restricted their impact on the economic development of their communities. The SEM Fund works to bridge this gap by linking traditional village credit associations with outside sources of finance.
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