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Empowerment and opportunity are the key to sustainable development. Asking the local chief for nominations, and following on from the success of the soap project, we found a group of 10 ladies in Naunde who wanted to be part of the next women’s enterprise project: bread.
We spent long time meeting with the ladies and deciding how, where and who was going to do what and the ladies changed their minds and members swapped regularly over the 4 months of consultation, but the one lady who was constant was Alima Chali, the head; always at the meetings on time and always galvanising the other ladies. Her house was chosen as the site of the oven and construction started with an awning of local grass to protect the mud oven construction. Employing local people, we made 700 bricks of local mud and using an old piece of landcruiser, leaf springs and other local material and the oven was built.
It was a long process where a few of the women left as they wanted immediate results, but development is not like that: the process is as important as the end result, as the process will ensure the right end result and long term involvement of the beneficiaries.
Trained by one of the Guludo kitchen staff a few weeks ago, the ladies started bread making in earnest last week. Given the slow start, the upwards trend is very positive. When I visited on Saturday they had organised themselves into a production line and were producing 60 lovely bread rolls a day, and now, even during Ramadan they are all sold (Saturday I bought for the orphan children but they are sold every day anyway).
These 60 bread rolls make the 10 ladies about 160 meticais a day, which can change the lives of the ladies and their families.
We hope to grow this project, over time, by teaching the ladies how to make cakes so they can take orders for weddings and other ceremonies such as Eid and increase their standard of living gradually and sustainably. Even now they are only dependent on us for transport and a bit of bookkeeping, this need will diminish and ultimately they will be independent in their business and their lives.