Title photo, making baskets for sale as part of income generation skills work in our women’s literacy circles.
Our Income-Generating Skills Initiative in Times of Covid-19
This week, we are excited to announce a new income-generating initiative for our women’s literacy participants. Acting on feedback from our literacy participants, our own surveys and local market research, we are working and fundraising to extend our income generating programme at a time when Covid-19 has robbed so many women of their income sources. We plan to incorporate soap and purse-making skills into our practical literacy curriculum this summer.
Above, literacy participants learning numeracy through designing beadwork articles to be sold locally. This photo and those in the collage above were taken before the Covid-19 pandemic. Below, some of the fine woven bags produced by our participants as part of the income-generating skills component of their REFLECT literacy program.
For more on our income-generating skills, please see:
Our Soap and Purse-Making Project
Enabling our literacy participants to acquire income generating skills – a central element of our REFLECT women’s literacy programme – has gained even greater urgency during the Covid-19 pandemic. Over 60% of our participants are the sole breadwinners in their families, and the vast majority have lost essential income as the pandemic hit their communities and local economies hard. Many of our literacy attendees asked us to help them acquire new skills to weather the Covid-19 storm. We listened to them and conducted our own research.
Soap production directly benefits both our participants and their communities. Access to cheap, safely produced and good quality soap is a key factor in disease prevention in deprived communities. Purses have continued to enjoy consistent levels of popular demand among the communities we serve. This project will build on our previous successful training programmes in handicrafts, food processing and biscuit-making, undertaken in collaboration with professional trainers approved by the Sudanese Ministry of Education.
From August, 2021 to April 2022, 300 women will receive materials and training, enabling them to better support themselves and their families at a time of heightened economic insecurity. The training and soap / purses production will take place in Covid-safe settings, with Covid prevention measures in place. We estimate this project will reach 300 direct and 1500 indirect beneficiaries. If sufficient funds are generated, after consulting our beneficiaries and subject to their approval, a percentage of profits generated will be reinvested into buying materials for further production.
Please see On the Front Line for our experience in Covid-19 awareness and prevention work.
Bulk buying of raw materials needed for the project enables us to offer practical training with economies of scale that would not otherwise be available to individual literacy participants. We estimate 75% of products will be successfully sold, generating a profit of 80% for the maker. Our beneficiaries will gain skills they can then pass on to other members of their community.
We will be surveying our beneficiaries to evaluate how many products are sold, the income generated both for each participant and literacy circle as a whole, and research how extra income was used within families. We will monitor how our participants are sharing and extending their skills with the local community.
More on this inspiring initiative coming shortly.
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Below, more pre-Covid scenes from our literacy circles, with our participants peer teaching handicraft skills.