As you may understand by now, as a dedicated reader of our blog, the nature of each of our projects this summer werecentered aaround the issue of youth migration from the villages of Kuwde and Farende. Whether it is to Nigeria, Benin, Ghana or other parts of Togo, the young adults travel seeking “l’adventure” and a way to make money, often to pay their school fees, though are sometimes instead exploited for work, manual labor, and even sex. Our projects this summer worked towards mitigating these negative outcomes of youth flight by bringing adventure and a way of making money to the villages, and giving students an alternative to migrating that is, perhaps, less risky. From Caitlin’s writing class, Brian’s computer class, and my microfinance project, I feel that we were able to engage the youth in Farende in a way that was effective and hopefully, sustainable. It was =an absolute joy to work with and learn from the motivated, driven, and enthusiastic young people in the village over the course of our projects,
I saw my own work come to fruition when this last week, we launched Microfinance des Jeunes de Farende. We selected seven young adults who will receive loans in a first cycle of the initiative to start businesses ranging from selling fertiliser to marketing soy cheese. Cyril will oversee the follow up and repayments, and the program will continue throughout the year, selecting more loan clients every few months.
Already i feel this project has been a success. When we reached the point of giving out the first cycle of loans for MJF, we learned of one bright, energetic young man who had gotten a girl pregnant and had planned to travel to another country for the summer to try to make money to pay for her, as well as his school fees, by working in the fields. However, when he heard of the opportunity with microfinance in the village, he stayed home and wrote a strong application to recieve a loan. So now, this summer, rather than risking being exploited for labor and paid very little, this hardworking young man will be to raising and selling chickens using a loan that MJF gave to him.
I am hopeful that this microfinance initiative will only continue to grow and make an impact on the lives of youth of Farende. It has been truly a pleasure to work and experience life in the village this summer..
Signing off for now..,;.YOTO