West Africa: Microenterprise Trainers Reach Refugees

Providing effective business development services to microentrepreneurs
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This note describes the joint efforts of the 'American Refugee Committee' (ARC) and 'Making Cents' in providing effective business development services to micro-entrepreneurs in Guinea and Sierra-Leone.The note describes:

  • The work of ARC in refugee camps in Guinea and Sierra-Leone, helping them to begin and expand income-generating activities;
  • ARC's invitation to 'Making Cents' to conduct the Business Management Facilitator Course for its program staff and for local NGO staff.

The note describes the following features of the program:

  • It aimed to build the capacity of participants to deliver effective training to refugee micro-entrepreneurs;
  • It offered ARC the opportunity to complement its sustainable microfinance approach with sustainable BDS programming;
  • It trained 19 people, who in turn, trained refugees using the 'Making Cents' curriculum;
  • It gave the trainees a sophisticated understanding of business management;
  • As a result of the training:
    • Clients increased their business assets;
    • Loan repayment reached 100%.

The note lists the following lessons learnt by ARC:

  • Select local organizations based on their entrepreneurial spirit, since selling training services is a new concept in a post-conflict situation;
  • There is a need to invest time in marketing, planning and supporting the local NGOs to help them provide the training tools profitably.

The note concludes by discussing future plans for collaboration between ARC and 'Making Cents'.