A Coach’s Story: Mrs. Traore at Work

By Helen Greene
Development & Communications Associate

Mrs. Traore coaches women in our child protection study in Yatenga, Burkina Faso. Like other coaches in our programs, she travels almost constantly, visiting the dozens of participants and savings groups assigned to her for one-on-one coaching and group trainings. She spends hours on the road to these remote communities, and then hours more listening to participants’ successes and challenges.

She provides excellent, evidence-based advice on a variety of problems, including how to start and run small businesses, how to maximize crop yield, how to manage savings group dynamics, and how to balance priorities at home. She facilitates both the economic and social empowerment of participants, a tough job for even the most experienced coach.

In her current role in Trickle Up’s child protection study with our local partner, ADEFAD, Mrs. Traore is coaching participants receiving a brand new combination of our traditional economic and social empowerment program with an awareness program promoting children’s rights. In addition to training on livelihoods and savings groups, participants learn about on school attendance, violence against children, child exploitation, and forced and early marriage. Mrs. Traore introduced participants to these topics during savings group meetings, and then provided information to their entire families, including husbands, co-wives, and children.

This positioned her perfectly to advocate for participants and children within households and communities. In addition to asking her advice on business issues, participants came to Mrs. Traore with problems related to the child protection themes she had taught them, from child marriage to the equal education of girls. Here are some examples of Mrs. Traore’s coaching at work:

Koudpoko Ouedraogo & Girls’ Education

Trainings that emphasize girls’ equal right to education, and the role that educating daughters can play in breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty are vital tools in Mrs. Traore’s toolbox. But even when participants recognize this value, financial difficulties can create insurmountable barriers to girls’ education. Such was the case with Koudpoko Ouedraogo, a participant coached by Mrs. Traore in Karma, Burkina Faso.

Koudpoko sought the advice of Mrs. Traore and her savings group after her husband decided to pull their daughter Bata from eighth grade when finances became tight. Mrs. Traore facilitated conversations with village authorities and trainings for the family that ultimately reinstated Koudpoko’s daughter in school. With profits from her business selling millet cakes, Koudpoko was able to not only cover the cost of school and supplies, but also a bike to help Bata get to and from school.

Read more of Koudpoko’s story: Mobilizing for Girls’ Education

Kali Porgo & Balancing Priorities

When Mrs. Traore noticed that Kali Porgo had missed three consecutive group meetings, she knew something wasn’t right. Since one of the commitments of group members is attending weekly meetings, Kali wouldn’t miss without a reason. Further investigation indicated Kali was struggling to support both a business and her large household.

She was the only member of her 12-person family with a source of income. With pressing medical issues and food insecurity in her household, Kali’s family was tapping into her profits and savings. Knowing she couldn’t save, Kali avoided the meetings for several weeks.

To get Kali back on track, Mrs. Traore and the management committee of the savings group worked together to provide Kali with the additional training and support she needed to succeed. After being reinstated to the group, Kali regained her confidence and ability to support her family.

Read more of Kali’s story: Supporting Each Other

Téné Sawadogo & Early Marriage

Téné Sawadogo was working hard manufacturing and selling caramel candies in order to make enough income to keep all five of her children in school. In spite of Téné’s efforts, the continued difficulties faced by her household led her 16-year-old daughter Wendkuni to seek out marriage to a young man making his living working in the mines.

Unhappy with this decision, Téné enlisted her savings group and her coach, Mrs. Traore, to help change her daughter’s mind. With Mrs. Traore’s support, Téné was able to reach a compromise with Wendkuni and her suitor: they would marry, but he committed to paying for Wendkuni’s continued education.

Read more of Téné’s story: Ensuring Her Daughter’s Future