PCV 5 March 2010

Brief Project Description:
Around two months ago a woman approached me in my concession regarding her desire to start a bread making business in village. She said that there were four other women who already know how to make bread but they didn’t know how to go about finding funding for the start up costs. They collectively asked me if I could find funding or loan them the money to get started. I started to work with them and we have had several meetings so far. The group consists of five middle aged women and two young adults, both women as well.

Being an environmental volunteer I did not receive any training on how to start a small business but I referred to our flash drive and worked with the group to complete many of the activities found within the SED file. So far we have completed a feasibility study, which taught us that there is a large unfilled market for bread, specifically sugar bread, in village. Residents are interested in buying bread for 125 CFCA, 50 CFCA, and 25 CFCA, while currently the only options for bread is to travel to Village A or Village B or get lucky and catch the guy who randomly and infrequently visit Village C with a basket of bread on his motorcycle. In our study, many residents expressed frustration about the unavailability of bread and were very interested in a local option. The women have set goals for the first three months of operation and they have chosen a president, treasurer, and secretary with written responsibilities. Right now we are starting to collect locally available supplies to start the construction of the covering and oven.

We have also completed a budget for reoccurring supplies and one-time expenses. With the budget of reoccurring supplies such as flour, we went to a bread maker and found out how many loafs of bread can be produced with a 50K bag of flour and what other supplies and in what quantity are needed. The amounts of yeast, salt, sugar, and oil being requested are what are needed to fully transform 50 kilos of flour into sugar bread. In our calculations we should be able to produce 400 baguettes at 100 CFCA, 200 baguettes at 50 CFCA, and 20 baguettes at 25 CFCA. Our goal for profits is 15,000 CFCA per sack of flour at 50 kilos.

The women’s group is already starting to organize themselves independently of myself. I just help by proposing goals for meetings, posing questions, and opening up my house to host the meetings as I have electricity and they prefer to meet in the evening. They have also started fundraising their own money, by giving what they can at each meeting under my promise that I will double whatever they put in the lockbox. This will be done with my personal money and not with any GAD funding.

I am especially interested in GAD funding for this project because money is capped at 50,000 CFCA. The women know this and it is forcing them to change their mentality from wanting to buy everything right away to choosing what is most important and thinking about starting small and reinvesting profits for future growth. They voluntarily decided not to accept any personal payment for at least 3 months so any profits can be reinvested into the business to purchase other supplies.

I have also talked to a SED volunteer, about coming to my village to teach them how to start and maintain a budget for money, a budget for supplies, and how to ensure honestly and transparency. He will be visiting in the near future to do a formation with the women’s group.

After living in the village for six months I have come to believe that the only real way to protect the environment and reduce erosion (one of the biggest environmental problems in this area) is to support small businesses. Right now most people break rocks for generating revenue, which are collected in the hills, and are augmenting the speed of erosion. So, I believe that this women’s bread group will provide higher levels of income from a source that does not damage the environment. The women have also said they are interested in planting trees to replace the wood they use to make the bread until they have enough money to purchase gas tanks.

Dates of Project: Construction and purchase of supplies will start once we have the money. I estimate three weeks to complete all construction activities. Then we will purchase the supplies to start making the bread. For the whole project I conservatively estimate two-months from start of construction to the start of selling bread.
Number of People Involved: There are five middle aged women and two young adult females. The five older women range from 40-50 years old, or that is what they tell me, and the two young women are 20 and 22. Three of the older women already know how to make bread and thus will be teaching everyone else. If this start-up is successful all of the women will be able to stop breaking rocks, a rather physically demanding job performed mainly by women and children, and they will increase their personal revenue. They are all very motivated as demonstrated by the facts that they are raising their own money and taking initiative.
Budget:

Item Number Unit Price Cost
Flour (50 kilos) 1 bag 25.000 CFA 25.000 CFA
Yeast 2 sacks 1.000 CFA 2.000 CFA
Salt 1 1.000 CFA 1.000 CFA
Oil 1 1/4 liters 1.000 CFA 1.000 CFA
Sugar 1/2 sack 12.000 CFA 12.000 CFA
Roof for covering oven 5 metal sheets 1.500 CFA 7.500 CFA
Knife 2 300 CFA 600 CFA
Large Wooden Spoon 1 900 CFA 900 CFA
Total Cost 50.000 CFA

Amount Requested: 50.000 CFA

Comments

GAD Coordinator: This sounds like an interesting project with lots of community buy in – I like that the women proposed the project themselves and are teaching each other to make the bread. I also like the initiative that Tony showed in inviting a SED PCV to help with the business side of things, and am glad they have thought out what they are selling and why. Him putting his personal money into their savings is interesting – I guess it’s good to get them saving but lots of volunteers have started very successful VSLAs without spending money. In any case, that is outside the scope of what he is asking for. Recommend funding.
GAD Finance: This project is community initiated and driven. Tony’s support for the women’s bread group and integration into the community is clear. When the Jeff comes to do formations on budgeting, will this include basic accounting skills as well? Recommend funding.

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