Perhaps you already know Sarina a little: she is the president of Beog Neere, a women’s cooperative based in Koudougou, in the Centre-Ouest region of Burkina Faso and it is she who, mercilessly, chops the tomatoes in our 5×1000 campaign. What you don’t know, however, is how she got there to chop the tomatoes…
Sarina defines herself as a combative woman ready to fight for the well-being of all women in the community. With this indomitable spirit she founded Beog Neere… Because a woman is a family, yes, but she can’t stay at home all day watching the children, hoping for her husband’s help!
So one day Sarina gathered the women of her community who, sitting at a table, wondered what they could invent in order to earn some money and contribute to the family ménage.
Slowly, according to the expertise and ideas of each, they started with the transformation of different products (especially spices such as cinnamon or ginger). Then, one day, the idea: the tomato is the basis of many local dishes and there are seasons where at the market, they would throw them at you rather than making them rot, while others where you have to make an investment to buy them… Then, how to preserve the tomato over time and make it available all year round at a stable and accessible price?
Turning it into puree!
And here, from a simple group of people, Beog Neere is transformed into a cooperative for the transformation of tomato into puree (personally tested with satisfaction by Mani Tese’s project manager), concentrated for the To sauce (corn, sorghum or millet polenta) or Cocoti (the Ghanaian version of To made with cassava) and jam to spread on bread (which is never a bad idea).
Thanks to the project “Innovative social enterprises and migrants participation for social inclusion in Burkina Faso” and the leader Mani Tese, Beog Neere was able to obtain a loan that helped Sarina and the rest of the women to develop the business: it bought the crates to transport the tomatoes, a motorbike to bring the tomatoes from the field to the site where they are processed, processing machinery (like a mill) and a showcase to better market its products.
Sarina dreams that her children will one day become important people in society, that they do well in school and that they grow Beog Neere into an export company for Europe, thus helping the whole community.
Here are some photos of the Beog Neere cooperative: