SUPPORTING EACH OTHER
Kali Porgo has six children and lives in a household with her husband, his second wife, and three step-children. Today, she is the only member of her 12-person family with a steady source of income.
Before Trickle Up partnered with Kali, her family relied solely on cultivating a small plot of land to meet all of the needs of the household. The family’s level of poverty was extreme and they often had to skip meals. When Trickle Up selected Kali to participate in our program, she seized the opportunity to provide a better future for her children.
Kali joined a Trickle Up savings and credit group with the other women from her village, where she could safely access financial services and share advice and support in times of need. Together, they received training on how to run the savings group. They also learned how to launch and manage of a livelihood activity like opening a market stall to sell fish or spices, or making pottery and other crafts. With her new business skills and a little acumen, Kali saw an opportunity to meet the local demand for dried fish. She developed a business plan to use the seed capital she received from Trickle Up to open a stall at a local market. In her first month she earned a profit of $19, and $16 in the second month. With a reliable source of income, she began saving at her group’s weekly meetings.
But, a few weeks after receiving a grant from Trickle Up, Kali began to feel the pressure of being the sole supporter of both a business and her large household.
When immediate family needs arose, like putting food on the table or sending a sick child to the doctor, the household tapped into Kali’s profits and savings to cover costs. The pressure to care for her family meant she was no longer able to prioritize longer term investments and unable to save the recommended amount at weekly savings group meetings. With nothing to contribute to her savings, Kali missed three meetings in a row. The leaders of her group became concerned for Kali. They decided to approach her to discuss the situation and offer their help and encouragement.
The group provided advice to help her better manage her family’s finances and her business, and to ensure she knew that the group was there to support her when she needed help. They welcomed her back to the savings group without the requirement to contribute to her savings account weekly. Mrs. Traore, Kali’s coach, and the president of the savings group also decided to meet with Kali’s husband to offer advice and involve the entire household in Kali’s activities.
After being reinstated to the group, Kali regained her confidence and ability to support her family.
To raise spirits and ensure Kali’s integration, the group decided to begin each meeting with a song. She was able to take out a loan of $34 from the group and re-start her livelihood activities. She purchased sheep and hens and continued to sell dried fish as well, earning a monthly profit of $17. In October, she revised her business plan to adapt to the market by selling fresh tomatoes. She still earned a steady profit every month and her livestock grew to three sheep, 21 chickens, and a goat.
With income generated by these activities, Kali began to save weekly again. She has already secured the $71 she needs to pay for this year’s tuition and school supplies for two of her children. And her growing livestock business will pay for the education of her other children, including providing a nest egg for the children who are approaching school-age.
By investing in the education of the children in her family, and serving as a bold example, Kali knows that she is providing them with a better future.
Kali Porgo* of Karma, Burkina Faso
Adaptive, resilient, breadwinner