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My Life has Already Begun to Change

MY LIFE HAS ALREADY BEGUN TO
CHANGE

Nacanabo Bibata is 52 years old and has seven children to support. Before starting Trickle Up’s program, it was hard for Nacanabo to provide enough food for her large household.

Nacanabo was only able to cultivate food during the rainy seasons due to a lack of irrigation for her crops. Even when there was enough rain, her crops usually didn’t perform well because of the poor soil quality on her land. Like many other women in the village, Nacanabo used to work in the goldmines to make extra money despite the dangerous conditions. There are often landslides at the mines and accidents from using tools and equipment are common.

“On the site, you can spend a whole day sifting the earth with nothing and sometimes several days. The day that God gives you a chance, you win a bit or two and you take the road to the neighboring village market,” Nacanabo says of most people’s luck at the mines.

When Nacanabo found a piece of gold worth 500f CFA (less than $1) one day, she immediately went to the market to buy honey to cook. With the unpredictability of any income from the goldmines and challenges cultivating food consistently throughout the year, Nacanabo had difficulties earning enough to feed her family.

 

All four of her sons attended school, but only one of her daughters even began an education. After just two years, this daughter had to leave school because of the family’s limited finances – she was married off at age 17 instead.

This story is typical around the world: lack of finances keeps girls from attending school. Nacanabo had hoped that her daughters would be educated, but the cycle of poverty kept her family from realizing this dream.

Nacanabo was chosen for Trickle Up’s program because of her family’s extreme poverty. Trickle Up uses a community-based selection process where staff from our partners gather village representatives of all ages and income levels, ensuring both women and men are present. They ask the representatives to draw a map of the village, mark each house, and agree on how these houses compare in terms of wealth. Nacanabo’s neighbors said her family was among the poorest in the community.

She says about this process: “Personally I think that the selection process was very good because it reflects transparency within our community and even with partners. I think this is a good procedure that can actually identify the very poor like us.”

After joining the Trickle Up program, Nacanabo joined a group of 15 women who learned how to save and were trained on how to run microbusinesses. Then she received a grant of 50,000f CFA (around $85). She has decided to use these funds to start a business selling grilled ground peas at the gold sites. “People here love good peanuts and toasted ground peas,” says Nacanabo, who plans to roast and sell 1,000f CFA worth of ground peas a day, which will earn her a 400-500f CFA profit. She has also joined the savings group as part of the program and has begun to save. She plans on using her savings to purchase a sheep (which typically cost between 20,000 and 25,000f CFA) to begin a second enterprise, provide meals for her family, and pay for her children’s education and medical costs. Nacanabo sees the savings group as enormously beneficial to herself and the other members of the group because she knows these savings will help lift them out of poverty.

“I feel my life has already begun to change since I am in the program to get out of poverty. I want my children to study well in school to become teachers in the future and to look after us.”