Africa
22 Jul 2015

Women at Oursi have every reason to smile as Site Support Group launches small business to alleviate poverty

Members of the women's coorperative in Oursi village, Burkina Faso ©Francois Kamano
By Francois Kamano

As part of BirdLife’s Improving Livelihoods Project in Oursi village, Burkina Faso, together with Living on the Edge, a sustainable land use project in the Sahel region, a local community has launched a grinding mill. The aim is to generate income and to alleviate hardships faced by both women and children in processing food for consumption at the household level. In partnership with Naturama (BirdLife in Burkina Faso), the local Site Support Group (SSG) has purchased and installed a Rhino Diesel 10 HP grinding mill. A building has also been erected in order to shelter the mill.

Grinding mill in operation at Oursi Village  ©Francois Kamano

The grinding mill is operated by a cooperative comprised of six women and it operates for eight hours a day, with capacity to grind 50 bags of grain per day. Three types of grain (millet, sorghum and maize) are ground on a daily basis. Approximately 500 bags of grain, each  weighing five Kgs, were ground between the months of April and June 2015, earning an estimated 150 000 CFA (US$253) of income at a rate of 12 500 CFA (US$25) per week. The project is dependent on the availability of good harvests in the area and a government grain loan scheme which enables the grinding mill project to earn a better income. The grinding mill allows women to take their economic destiny into their own hands and create a better quality of life. Around 150 women and children have access to the mill. Members of the cooperative are using the money generated to pay school fees and to purchase school uniforms for their children. Funds are also being used for maintaining the grinding mill and covering its running costs, which include buying grease, diesel and replacements for broken sieves.

 

Women now have every reason to smile! ©Francois Kamano

Furthermore, food processing has been made a lot easier. Madame Halimatou Oumarou, Chair of the Women’s’ Cooperative at Oursi, explained: ”Traditionally, it has always been a woman’s task to thresh and grind grain using basic tools. The introduction of a grinding mill in the village of Oursi has improved the quality of life of the households as women and children now have more time for other tasks such as income generating activities, community development meetings and education.”

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Adama Nana, Project Manager, Naturama, said: ”The community was entrusted to identify an income generating project that meets their existing needs.  This has been a contributing factor towards the achievement of this intervention at Oursi. Community participation in the form of labour contribution was excellent. The SSG organised the community to mould earth bricks and ferry river sand and water.”

Capacity building is also a strong component in enabling the beneficiaries to support the core intervention. The second year of the project will see strong emphasis in developing business and basic maintenance skills to help address operational challenges.

 

This project is implemented under the auspices of the BirdLife Local Empowerment Programme. It is funded by Ricoh through the BirdLife Asia office, the Dutch Postcode Lottery through Vogelbelscherming Netherlands (BirdLife Partner) and is coordinated by the BirdLife Africa Secretariat in Accra.
For further details, please contact: Francois.Kamano@birdlife.org or Thandiwe.Chikomo@birdlife.org.