As usual, this week’s UK-Nigeria online meeting proved a real gem.
Feedback from John suggests the community is becoming used to the new realities of slow business output in the wake of the post-election conflict.
He reports that the Kafanchan Peace Market traders are gradually getting their businesses going again, with some of venturing into new businesses areas.
Twelve of the 27 traders are Muslims and these women have negotiated with Fantsuam Foundation to defer their loans until after Ramadan.
In recent blogs I have documented the loss of experienced staff from Fantsuam, mostly as a direct consequence of the recent troubles. However, a related ongoing problem which afflicts FF was explained by John. Once again he has lost another valuable member of his staff who has been offered five times the salary that FF can afford. This is a recurring problem for John. He trains people who have minimal skills but, by the time they have served their unofficial apprenticeship at Fantsuam, they have gained valuable experience and are poached by bigger organisations
This is because FF offers a fasttrack training and unique hands-on approach to integrated development. John reflected: “The way we are starting to look at this is that taking youths from Ground Zero to become employable by bigger organisations may be one of our callings - but it costs us so much."
This set the team thinking. FF already offers wonderful informal learning opportunities and their range of training and hands-on experience makes them something of an incubator. Surely there must be international students and their Universities who are looking for opportunities for hands-on experience in a developing country that we could collaborate with?
The UK universities would provide the theoretical background, while FF can give students the hands-on real-life experience of integrated development in action.
Another developing story is that of Fola in Ago-Are who - with the support of Dadamac - will soon be able to purchase a laptop to help his community get online. This will be a Dadamac Outpost at Ago-Are. John has offered his support as a mentor and Fantsuam microfinance will be administrating the repayments of an interest-free loan. This is an example of the team making use of its high-trust networks to empower an individual who has the vision and drive to help develop his own community. It will be interesting to see if a small investment in one individual ( namely Fola who can be seen in the photo holding his new computer - all of which was sorted out in under a week!) can make a real difference where previous attempts have proved unsustainable.