We are at the end of the second year of the “Innovative social enterprises and migrants participation for social inclusion in Burkina Faso” project, co-financed by AICS and Maria Enrica Foundation. In recent months we have evidently had to review some planned activities to avoid the risks for our team and for the beneficiaries of the project, but we have absolutely not stopped. We continued to support 40 businesses in two Burkina Faso provinces (Boulgou and Boulkiemdé) with training and meetings on business balance sheets and access to microcredit, complete with presentations of their business plans to major microfinance institutions, each in their own province of belonging. In addition, 20 of them have also received an economic contribution to develop their agri-food production / processing company.
We have something for everyone: from horticultural production cooperatives, to pastry shops, to chicken farms, to shea butter processing companies. In short, we lack nothing! In fact, each company presented its project to us almost a year ago and, after being selected by a commission formed by the project partners and by the local authorities responsible for the issues of women, youth and agriculture, it began to receive, in tranches, a non-repayable loan to realize your idea. The proposals came directly from the entrepreneurs: we have not imposed anything, if not certain formal and administrative attention to make sure that everything goes well, for the rest we are simply accompanying companies with our advices.
And not only is Mani Tese not imposing anything at the level of the type of expenditure or purchase, but the companies also participate economically in the realization of their projects, with a co-financing of 20% (10% in cash and 10% in kind), so to feel truly responsible and master of the work that is done! On this, however, it is worth underlining that 4 of our companies are also supported by associations of the Burkinabé diaspora in Italy, which not only help to support cash expenses, but also intervened on the ground with a mission of their representative between December and last January, to give advice and technical support.
Of course, not everything is always easy. For example, making people understand the importance of a well-made estimate has been complicated and in fact now some companies find themselves having to modify their projects in progress in order to cope with unforeseen expenses, but usually there are no big problems because they manage to complete the purchases of the most important and economically demanding machinery and the constructions.
Where are we now? Well, some businesses have already completed their purchases and construction, but most are still ongoing. On the other hand, our team is always present at every purchase to ensure that the material purchased is of good quality and the price is right and that the work is carried out in a workmanlike manner. And this, if on the one hand it slows things down a bit, on the other it guarantees us a better achievement of objectives! In short, those who go slowly go healthy and go far!
If you want to get to know some of the entrepreneurs involved in the project better, you can follow our blog “The challenge of growing together”.
Below, however, you will find some photos showing the purchases made by the beneficiary companies of the project through the loans.