Story by: Abdul-Hakim Zakaria
HERPol-Africa on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, presented start-up packages to beneficiaries of the COVID-19 Intervention and Awareness Outreach (CIAO) Project. During the course of Phase one of the CIAO project, individuals were selected from the project communities and trained on how to sew reusable face masks and liquid soaps production. These people were again used to mass-produce the face masks and liquid soaps for distribution to the project communities by Community Health Volunteers of HERPol Africa.
Dr Osman Adamu Dufailu, Co-founder and Director of HERPol-Africa, described the CIAO project as an adventure HERPol Africa and Mastercard Foundation were brave enough to undertake. He said, it wasn’t devoid of challenges, but they were able to execute the project to the latter. Dr Dufailu said the beneficiaries are just ambassadors who will represent their respective communities. Even though selected people received the support, Dr Dufailu said whatever they’ve received is for the community and must be used wisely to help their communities and for personal growth.
“For the women, whatever resources they have been given is not for them. It is for the community. It is up to them to be able to maintain that treasure that belongs to the community. If they maintain it well, it will benefit them and the community. If they’re not able to sustain it, they have failed their communities which they belong to” the Director remarked.
He added that HERPol-Africa will continuously monitor the beneficiaries and see how their businesses will soar. Speaking at the event held at the Conference Hall of the National Youth Authority in Tamale, the Finance Manager Mr Alhassan Fatawu Alidu reiterated the need for good record-keeping in business development.
This, he said helps them track down the progress of their business and whether or not they are making a profit. Answering a question from the audience, Mr Alidu said it is not just the formal way of records keeping, but even adopting traditional methods of records keeping. This he said at least, will enable them to measure profit and loss.
He recalled how his mother used to calculate her profit and loss margins with just traditional counting with stones. Mr Alidu also said businesses should look out for trends in their communities and how they can take up these steps to reduce how their community folks leave for town to buy things when they are around.
Mr Alidu stressed savings. He said even corporate workers are finding it difficult to save, but it takes discipline and loyalty to do that. One of the trainers, Ms Flora Azubayam said even though there were challenges during the training, HERPol-Africa helped them overcome them and provide resources. One thing that thrilled her she said, was how the trainees were keen on asking questions during the training. Flora thanked Mastercard Foundation and HERPol-Africa for engaging her in that process.
Over ten women were given hand sewing machines coupled with materials and tools to help them startup. They were each also given seed capital to start or boost the business. Over five persons also took home seed capitals and materials to help them in producing liquid soaps. Adam Ayisha, a beneficiary from Kulaa, said they didn’t know this was how the project will go. She said during the peak of COVID-19, she made lots from sewing the face masks. Other times too, she freely gave it to students in the community.
Yahaya Bushira from Gbalahi also received seed capital and start-up kits. She said they’ve really benefitted from the CIAO project and wish it had continued. A young man who broke the gender stereotypes was Haruna Hardi from Nyamandu. He was part of those selected for the training on liquid soap making. He said he took it seriously and hoped to teach five people immediately after the support he has taken from HERPol-Africa. He expressed his gratitude to the funding agencies.