Looking Towards the Future


“My name is Clémentine Boulou. I’m 24 years old and come from Yilyalé village. Almost 8 years ago, I married my late husband, Tindila. Today, I have two children; the oldest began school this year and the youngest is still too young for school.”

Clémentine began Trickle Up’s program in partnership with AIDAS in her community in Burkina Faso in 2013. She received startup capital and livelihood training to tap into her power and resiliency. As a widow with two children to care for, she started a business that allowed her to turn a good idea into a reliable income. Clémentine tells us how she broke a cycle of extreme poverty and kickstarted a cycle of prosperity:


“Before the Trickle Up program, I made my living by farming during the rainy season and making dolo [a beverage made by fermenting millet] during the dry months. My work was steady enough but I wasn’t very organized, which I attribute to a lack of business knowledge.

Through the training I’ve received in the program, I’ve become more effective in managing my dolo business.

I buy 14-15 bags of millet to make one batch. A neighbor and I work together six days a week making the drink. In one month, I can prepare three batches. After paying for my expenses (wood, water, etc.), I have usually earned between 4,000-5,000 francs [$6.50-$8] per batch. Everything really depends on the market and each day is different. I also have to factor in my loans as they can affect my earnings.


It’s thanks to the money I make brewing dolo that I am able to set aside 1,000 francs [$1.64] to add to my savings at the monthly savings group meetings. I’ve also been able to set aside 30,000 francs [$50] as an emergency fund in case I or my children ever fall ill.


In addition to making dolo, I farm a small plot of onions. This year I harvested five sacks of onions, which sold for 35,000 francs [$58]. With that money, I was able to buy my children and myself new clothes for Christmas.


This wasn’t the first time that an anti-poverty program came to our community. At the beginning of this program, it was not easy as many people in the community were wary because of their last experience. People said that the donor would lock us up if we diverted the grant to things other than our businesses. They claimed there was no reason for us to believe that someone would come to actually help us lift ourselves out of poverty. They said conducting surveys on the assets of each household was actually a way to assess property to see if a person is solvent in case they default on the money they’ve been given. Everyone can think what they like, but the most important thing is that we can now manage our livelihood activities better and move out of precarious and insecure lives.

Today we are very happy with the program.

Only the members of the savings group have had access to our saved money. We’ve just shared our savings after a year of working together as a group, and I am very happy to have saved 60,025 francs [$99], more than anyone else in the group.


Looking towards the future, I want to maintain my dynamism as long as God grants me good health, so that I may accomplish many things. I would like to work enough to earn a comfortable salary, which will allow me to finish construction on my home, which I started last year. With the money I’ve just received from my savings, I’ve decided to buy for four bags of cement to coat the interior walls.


Finally, I would like to thank those who made this program possible, especially Trickle Up and their partner AIDAS.”