Forty-year old Aminata Porgo, like her neighbors living in Débogué, Burkina Faso, comes from a family heavily dependent on farming. However, her village is located in the Sahel, and the arid climate yields many unfruitful harvests and a consequently unstable income. With six children of her own and four other dependents in her extended family, Aminata struggled to provide for everyone’s needs.
“We couldn’t find enough food,” Aminata said. “We ate once a day and life was miserable.”
Today, she no longer looks towards the fields for her main source of income but instead to a microenterprise she started with Trickle Up’s support. Aminata used the seed capital grant she received this January to start a small catering business cooking and selling rice in the marketplace. Aminata says that even more valuable to her than the seed capital was the training she received, which taught her new strategies for maintaining her business. She learned to divide her profits, setting aside a portion to increase her working capital and using the rest to pay for her family’s needs.
Aminata now says she can sleep well at night, knowing that her children have enough to eat. She has new hopes for her children’s future as well as her own; she envisions herself in 10 years as the owner of a large restaurant in the market.
Part of the livelihood strategies that will help her realize that goal is her membership in a savings group that meets every Monday. The group’s members are Trickle Up participants, and they contribute a set amount of savings to a group fund every week. As the fund grows, group members can also take out loans, which they repay with interest. Individually, the women would not have been able to open a bank account because they would not have enough collateral. But as a group, the women have fostered not only the ability to access formal credit—they registered their account with the local bank—but also a new solidarity as they gather and share ideas and experiences at their group meetings.