Bessassi February 2011


Post: Bessassi
Project Dates: February 2011

Brief Description of Project:

Funds are being requested to cover the start-up costs of an initiative proposed by a women’s group seeking to combat malnutrition while simultaneously spurring local economic development through selling ready-to-use bouillie enriché. The group was recently formed and is comprised of twenty women. This group of twenty was self-selected from two larger groups of women who tend the communal solar gardens in Bessassi (67 women total). These women have expressed an interest in supporting and promoting communal health. Although the women have long worked together tending the garden, this is the first project the group intends to undertake. The women have voted on, and selected members in the group to assume the roles and responsibilities of President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. It will be the responsibility of these leaders to see to it that the two primary goals of this project are understood and addressed effectively: 1) Provide ready-to-use nutritious food made from locally grown ingredients, and 2) foster women’s empowerment while spurring economic development.

According to the most recent census just under 15% of the population of Bessassi is under the age of five years old ( approx. 956 residents). A large portion of these children are either undernourished or malnourished. A staple of the children’s diet, and undoubtedly a factor in their poor state of health is the nutritionally ‘empty’ corn-based bouillie. The women’s group intends to enrich this ubiquitous baby food with locally grown, nutritionally rich soy, peanut, and moringa. The women will buy soy and peanuts from growers in the community, and will buy and use the moringa that they currently grow in their garden (each woman tends between four to eight crops).

While moringa is currently grown in the garden, the values of the plant are virtually unknown in the larger community. To educate the populace on the nutritional properties of moringa, and to reinforce the value of feeding children food rich in vitamins and protein the group will perform sensibilizations. Sachets of bouillie enriché and moringa will be made available for purchase, as well as instruction on how to make the bouillie enriché at home. Information on where to buy the already prepared bouillie enriché will be provided.

In addition to requesting capital for the raw materials themselves, the group is requesting funds to be used to open a group bank account. The women intend to split profits from the sales of the bouillie enriché in half, dividing one half among the group members while depositing the other half into a group account. The money in the account will be used for the purchase of future materials, as well as be available to fund any future projects the group should like to undertake. Not only will the establishment of the account provide the group with future funds, but it will empower the women in the group through imparting money-managing skills and economic self-determination. While anyone in the group will be able to deposit funds into the account, only the president, vice president, and treasurer will have the ability to withdraw funds. Nonetheless, regular bank statements will be made available to the group itself.

The beneficiaries of this initiative are most obviously the twenty women who will all be involved in the bouillie enriché making venture. Yet undoubtedly the project will involve and affect a much larger number of people. Because of the indefinite duration of this project it is difficult to assert the exact number of people who will be effected. Nonetheless it is reasonable to estimate that by the end of three months the women will have sensibilized at least 200 mothers, and in turn will have reached the primary caregivers of approximately 350 children under the age of five years old. Adding to this number each month there are at least 50 mothers who come with their children to the Health Center for post-natal vaccinations. The women’s group will coordinate with the Health Center to reach these mothers and children. The group will stress that while during the first six months of life infants should be breastfed exclusively, yet following those six months it is essential to give children nutritiously-rich food. Accounting for overlap between these couples and the ones reached at previous sensibilizations it is estimated that 100 further pairs (200 people total) will be reached. Furthermore, although the initiative targets undernourished and malnourished children under five, there are others in the community who may lack essential nutrients in their diets, and will likely be interested in learning about and purchasing the bouillie enriché. The number of people in this demographic can be estimated at 300 people (through sensibilizations, personal contact with the women, presence of the bouillie enriché at the market, etc.). In total, by the end of three months the initiative will have reached an estimated 1 070 people, or more than 16% of the population of Bessassi, with this number continuing to grow thereafter.

The value of this project lies not only in its far-reaching impact on health and economic development, but also in its sustainability. Once initial funds are disbursed and invested, the initiative will be able to financially sustain itself for years to come. Furthermore, and just as importantly through this initiative the status of the women involved in this project will be elevated in the eyes of the community. As the women themselves actively take ownership of some of the most pressing issues facing Bessassi they will come to be regarded as respected problem-solvers and likely be involved in discussion with village leadership regarding the well-being and direction of Bessassi’s future.

Number of people involved:

Gender/Age # of
Service Providers (work partners, project co-organizers,
technicians, animators, etc.)
Women over 24 20
Men over 24
Girls 15-24
Boys 15-24
Girls under 15
Boys under 15


Item Quantity Unit Cost Total Cost
Bank Account 1 15.500 15.500
Corn 100kg 1 10.000 10.000
Peanut 50kg 1 5.000 5.000
Soy 50kg 1 8.000 8.000
Package of Sachets 1 1.000 1.000
Moringa 100kg 1 5.500 5.500
Total 45.000

Total Requested: 50.000CFA

Activity Report

The Goals/Objectives of Project:
The overarching goal of this project was to install a hand-washing infrastructure in a primary school in Bessassi. The underlying objectives were to mobilize the existing health committee to take ownership of the hygiene problems among students, impart unto the committee the knowledge and skills needed to train future students in healthy hand washing practices, to illustrate how boys and girls can collaborate as work partners on community development initiatives, and to develop a comprehensive and easily transferable hand washing program model.

Were Those Goals/Objectives Met:
Following the installation of the hand washing station the students of the health committee were trained over a two-day period on why, when, and how to wash hands. They then held a school-wide sensibilization explaining what they had learned to their peers. Leadership roles during the sensibilization were chosen by the committee itself and equally distributed among girls and boys. The committee has successfully trained incoming students and has given one school-wide sensibilization thus far (as of December 15th, 2011). Interest among the directors of other schools in the commune has been piqued and the volunteer is currently collaborating with the Chief Inspector of the commune to implement this project model to the 83 primary schools and the six kindergartens in the commune of Kalalé.

Strengths of this Project:
The strengths of this project lie in its simplicity and sustainability. Rather than introduce a foreign idea to remedy the hygiene problem in schools, the project focuses on facilitating a behavior (hand-washing) that is often unable to be practiced due to lack of infrastructure. In addition, the peer-education model guarantees that long after the volunteer has left the site the program, and the transfer of knowledge and skills of the new students can and will continue. Furthermore the school itself contributed more than 16% (10,000 FCFA) to the overall cost of the project.

Challenges/Weaknesses of this Project:
The greatest challenge faced encountered during the implementation of this project was having a constant supply of soap for students to use. Although extensive literature places more importance on the motion and friction of hand-washing rather than soap itself (or an alternative such as sand or charcoal) future schools who will adopt this program will pledge to
have a constant stock of soap and set aside resources in their budgets to ensure the supply.

Final Budget:

Item Number Unit Cost Total Cost
Metal Hand Washing Station 1 50.000 50.000

Total Cost: 50.000

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