“Life in my family and in society was very difficult because I was not able to contribute to my family expenses or to baptisms,” said Ramata Ouédraogo about her life as a poor Malian farmer before becoming a Trickle Up participant. Her meager financial situation marginalized her in society and burdened her family.
Through her Trickle Up business training, Ramata learned basic business techniques that improved her business as a vegetable vendor at the local market. She began saving 500 francs per week in her Trickle Up savings group and 300 francs per day of petty cash. With her savings, Ramata began domestic farming and purchased a sheep, strengthening her business with new products and increasing her income.
Ramata is now an active member of her savings group and her community. In West African culture, ceremonies like baptisms are central to community life. Guests offer the celebratory monetary gifts financially supporting the host family and their ceremony. In return, a host family attends their guests’ ceremonies. This repeated reciprocation is central to community life. Ramata, could not even afford to feed her family three meals a day, let alone attend these ceremonies before becoming a Trickle Up participant. Now, with her increased income, Ramata lives in “perfect harmony” with her savings group and larger village community, attending and hosting ceremonies.
Before Trickle Up, members of Ramata’s family often needed to borrow money, migrate for seasonal agricultural work, or beg. Now, Ramata can afford to feed her family three times a day and plan for the hungry season. She also buys clothing for her family, contributes to family expenses, and pays for her children’s health and schooling. Ramata, whose family couldn’t afford to send her to school as a child, hopes that her children’s education will open new doors for them. Because of her new contributions to her family, Ramata communicates more openly and easily with her husband. She tells us, “Trickle Up changed my married life.”
Ramata has been able to change her community and family life drastically through the Trickle Up program. Her financial situation no longer marginalizes her in society or burdens her family. She now feels more confident and independent.