Friday, January 24, 2014

Our first week!

In our first week working at Kabeela, we dedicated ourselves to support the association’s holding of a general assembly for all its members in the hopes of creating an official database, as well as to attract new members. Our responsibilities were to assist with registering each woman’s details, along with taking head shots and copies of their ID cards. David, Kabeela’s activities coordinator, had prepared a long and informative presentation for the women, due to start at 9am on Tuesday morning, but in true Burkinabe style, the women turned up at all times of the day. Some even came in the next day to register their details. The good news is we now have a total of 51 registered members; both old and new!

After a delayed start, David’s presentation began with a financial overview of the previous year, including how Kabeela used the funds that it had received. We were interested to learn that the literacy classes conducted at Kabeela, which is where most of the funding was contributed, had a high female attendance rate, as well as a high success and completion rate. The women were very motivated and enthused by this, as most of them didn't have the opportunity to receive a full education during their youth, if any.

Kabeela's members, including president Suzanne Yameogo in red, listening intently to David's presentation
Next, was an overview of Kabeela’s 3 clubs, with physical examples of what the women could produce. They were shown some of the handmade bracelets that existing members had made in Income Generating Activity (IGA) club, which stirred excitement amongst them. They would also be given support towards setting up independent businesses, with all necessary skills needed included. In theatre club, we were told that the women would be exploring health issues, focusing on child malnutrition and the endless nutritional benefits of the moringa plant. And lastly, in environmental club, the women would be taught the important concepts of recycling, and in-keeping with the theme they are taught how to crochet plastic bags into beautiful fashion accessories, from handbags and iPad cases to earrings and bracelets. The women were given a chance to express which clubs they wanted to take part in, including the literacy classes. There was a good show of hands for each club, which was very promising for us to see as we’ll be heavily involved in all of the clubs!

After a break for lunch, our team leader Valentina and national volunteer Louise had the job of distributing the money earned by Kabeela’s members, resulting from numerous sales of their hand-made jewellery products, including a successful sale of 200 bracelets at a Christmas fair in the UK. Some of the women ended up with totals of 20,000 CFA, which in Burkina is an impressive amount by any standards. It was very encouraging for all the women to see that all the proceeds come straight back to them.

Martine, a member of Kabeela, receives her earnings from team leader Valentina

A very successful week for Kabeela! Now, we all look forward to holding the first sessions of each club and interacting with the women, and we will be sure to let you know how they all go!

Thank you for reading J

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