Buzz Gambia, a local office of Buzz Women Organization, a non-governmental organization based in the Netherlands, has trained women on financial discipline through profits saving instead of misusing gains to finance unsustainable social ceremonies.
The organization said approximately two thousand women have benefited from its financial literacy, entrepreneurial and personal development skills training since 2018. It targets women, petty traders in the villages who do not have the opportunity to acquire formal education.
Buzz Gambia’s objective is to equip low-income women with financial, entrepreneurial and leadership skills that would help combat poverty.
On Wednesday, the organization brought together the beneficiaries in Brikama who gave testimonies on the impact of the training.
“After the training, I opened a bank account and started saving my profits there. If I go to Kaolack and bring my garden products, I would sell it and save my profits. I have realized a big development in my business now,” Ndey Johm, 51, told The Chronicle.
Johm is a native of Fass Njaga Choi, North Bank Region. She would go to Kaolack, a commercial town in northern Senegal, buy vegetables and sell them in her community market. This has been her routine for more than six years. But before she acquired the training, she admitted that she was spending everything she got on her family needs and social activities without saving a penny.
Ndey was taught that instead of using all her profits on family problems and social functions, she should save it in the bank and be investing to diversify her income.
“I have now started investing in the expansion of my business because I now sell cooking oil also. In those days, I would run out of money completely and had to seek financial support to restart it.”
“This is because I was not saving anything. But now, this has changed and I thank God. I even gave a startup capital to my in-law who is now doing a different business to sustain herself,” she said.
Nyimasatou Kanteh, a mother of five, operates a tailoring shop in Bwiam, in the West Coast Region. Like Ndey, she was spending all her profit.
“They taught us to avoid taking loans and to not mismanage finances as it is not sustainable. They told us that even if it is a quarter of our profit, it should be saved,” she told The Chronicle.
“All along, I lacked this type of training to understand how I should manage my income. I have seen the difference already because I was not saving any part of my profit. I was using everything to support my family. It was like restarting everything fresh every day,” she said.
She told The Chronicle that after the training, she took a new route by using her profits and investing to expand her business.
“I have invested my money on buying poultry and small ruminants. Investment to diversify my venture is now my way of business. This is helping me because tailoring is a seasonal job. While I wait for a productive period, I can use the moment to sell my poultry and ruminants and save in my account.”
The co-founder of Buzz Gambia, Dave Jongeneelen said of the women “you are the leaders of our development.” Dave said Buzz Gambia was an idea that was developed in The Gambia about 10 years ago.
“And the big question was, how we can reach women who are left out of the education process in the villages. It’s our ambition to train every woman in The Gambia in order to drive the development process into the hands of the women.”
He said the women they have trained are able to manage their finances properly by saving money, shaping their future and changing their own lives.
“If you can train every Gambian woman to make sure that they can take care of their own money and save money and invest, I think that will be better.”
Alieu Mendy, manager of Ding Ding Yiriwa Federation, an affiliate group of ChildFund –The Gambia, advised the women to make best use of the training. He said using profits to organize social functions such as christening and initiation ceremonies should be discouraged if they want to make a headway