This month marks the month in which we had to work on improving the quality of our service and vetting new people to offer investment to. Still having the Director in the country, we sorted out a better way to help people with our services thus our training packs and tools plus our investment plans. We deliberated into details how best we could make things easier for interested investees to access our support while not pressuring them to work with us.
Going forward, we feel we are using the right tools and methods to pass the message across to lots of people around our work jurisdiction. This includes the difference between microfinance, loans and microinvestment or investment in general. No other non-profit offers what we offer to our investees in Ghana that we are aware of. We are purely interested in the growth of the people, the small business holders to get big or to be able to make tangible profit to cater for their life situations.
Most awareness topics we create in our business training session are as follows: cash flow, monthly returns, annual returns, bookkeeping, customer retention, savings and many others. We also help them understand that even as a businessman or a businesswoman you need to pay yourself and that’s one of the ways to growing your business and better and achieve greatness.
We are working to have a great standard for the organisation that can run for a long time and be sustainable in terms of expanding and making us grow in all business aspects. We are geared to continue developing more business training tool packs and investing in as many potential businesses as we can.
In this month of March we were able train about 50 people for three training sessions both practical and theory and we have invested in a further 9 people. We were able to meet our old investees to have further training with them to keep them updated. This month, we have had people come to our office to learn and know more about our services. The message about how investment works is going down quite well and we still hope to do more for lay people to get the education about investment. We look forward to train more business people to help them with the requisite knowledge needed to run a successful business.
February sped past due to preparations to introduce the new expansion of the Foundation’s new development: the Trade To Aid Toolbox. At the end of the month, we met with new Trainers who will be be working with us to plan and deliver training sessions, give business support and to monitor our investments.
Our starting aim with the T2A Toolbox is to visit three new communities to do training and investment rounds. To test the Toolbox, we are training up three new Trainers who are going to handle the selected communities we are entering. They will be responsible for all the interactions with our investees making sure they keep their books accurately, offering any business support they need and ensuring they pay dividends correctly. They will also offer training sessions with them in future offering additional business education to their businesses.
Our Trainers have excellent understanding of the investment system and our investment modules. Their work has being very impressive based on the limited time they have been working with the T2A Toolbox.
We’ve also made a lot of changes to the contents of our training and also the materials we use to vet potential investees. We have also translated our training videos from English to Twi, a major local Ghanaian language, to make our training sessions better meeting both the literate and illiterate standard. This is, so far, proving much smoother and very successful.
More training sessions will be offered to people who have been to our first sessions and we’ve already made four new investments in the first week of March, with more to come.
United Nations officials in West Africa have been calling on governments to invest in school meals. Emphasising all the benefits of school meals, UN World Food Programme (WFP) Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Abdou Dieng, called school meals a “win-win opportunity” for governments.
The issue was highlighted on 1st March – African Day of School Feeding.
The benefits of school meals are wide ranging and have a big impact. At the Gardiner Foundation we like solutions that can have a positive knock-on effect and school meals definitely qualify.
Children who eat a healthy school meal learn better. They are more likely to stay in school and getting a meal at school can be a deciding factor in parents allowing children to attend school and stay on. So their education and their health benefits.
It’s not just the children receiving the meal that feel the benefit. The UN notes that the food for the meals is coming more and more from local areas. The increase in school meals leads to an increase in local agriculture jobs, providing an immediate boost to the local economy and improvement in people’s lives.
There is a great example in Burkina Faso where local women collect milk and have started a yoghurt processing plant. Then they deliver their yoghurt to local schools for their lunches. It’s a fantastic example of entrepreneurship that benefits not only the workers but the local community as well.
However, WFPs school meals programme is facing a shortfall of $60 million dollars this year, which means some of the 2.7 million children they are aiming to provide food for could go hungry and be at increased risk of dropping out of school.