Madame Dammoino is showing samples of her soap products which she sells to support her children.

Entrepreneur training gave Dammoino income and hope

Madame Dammoino could not support her family. But now her life has changed thanks to our economic recovery project in the Central African Republic.

In 2013 a military-political crisis shook the Central African Republic, and Madame Dammoino's life became difficult as her husband lost his job. The table goods she sold were not enough to cover all the needs of her household and those of her family members who were staying in her home.

"Previously, I depended on my husband who worked in a company, and I sold only various table goods that were sufficient to meet the daily needs of my family,” she explains.

Madame Dammoino was selected by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) to be part of an economic recovery project in the country’s capital, Bangui.

Training and resources made a difference

She was able to benefit from various training courses in entrepreneurship, financial education, soap-making technique and the use of soap-making machines that have allowed her to expand her soap manufacturing business.

Thanks to resources provided by DRC, she was also able to diversify her business by manufacturing and marketing yoghurt.

"It is only after these trainings that I was able to benefit from a loan, which allowed me to buy a second-hand freezer and raw materials to prepare the yogurt that I sell. Thanks to this sale, I have gained 30 Euro which has allowed me to cover the main expenses of my household,” she says.

Can now afford school for her children

Madame Dammoino has also benefitted from a loan from a microfinance institute that permitted her to diversify her activities while orienting her towards the production of handmade soap. That has doubled her turnover.

“Thanks to this, my five children are currently attending a private school and, despite the unemployment of my husband, I take over and become the pillar of my family in terms of responsibility,” she says.

Today, Madame Dammoino can manage her business autonomously thanks to the training.

"I am now able to keep my own accounting, by organizing myself to attract customers, to record my expenses in the book of exit and sales in the notebook entry for the traceability of my operations," she says.

In the future, Madame Dammoino hopes to diversify her business activities, take up breeding and continue her higher education.

Facts about the project

The economic recovery project takes place in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. The project name is “New Vision for Development” (Fini Bangondo Ti Mai), and it is funded by the EU Bêkou Trustfund and implemented in consortium with ACTED and Mercy Corps.

Contrary to most aid projects, this project makes it an objective to target beneficiaries not based on their vulnerability criteria but rather on their potential to bear an impact on the local economy. Beneficiaries were selected based on the market and sector analysis, the program targets people based on their experience, capacity of job creation and motivation.

They received general trainings in economic management and entrepreneurship, in addition to tailored ones to their sector of activity: market gardening, beekeeping, soap-making, traditional construction, poultry farming and textiles. The economic actors were then free to choose whether to receive an income-generating activity kit or a loan from one of the microcredit institutes the project partners with.