How a revolving fund empowers women


October 16th, 2015

Fatima Adam Ali is a young mother of three children from Majdoub,  a village 7km to the west of El-Fashir, the capital of North Darfur State. Fatima and her husband farm a  9.5 feddan plot of land (2.5 feddans of which is fertile), on which they grow a combination of staple cereal crops and cash crops.

This is their primary livelihood with sesame and tobacco being their most consistently profitable crops. In addition, Fatma owns five goats, which she keeps for milk for the household but also for sale in case of a poor crop harvest. In 2014 she had to sell two of her goats as her tobacco crop failed. Through her local women’s community based organisation (CBO), Fatima has participated in several activities as part of the Wadi El Ku Project.

women from darfur

Significantly, she attended a training course in organic compost production and use. Following the training she made 10 sacks of compost which she will use to increase the soil fertility of her farmland. She was also involved in the wadi bank stabilization programme and along with others in her community helped to plant and protect a 3km line of tree seedlings on the severely degraded banks of the wadi. She is responsible for watering seven trees, which she does every Thursday. One tree died, but the rest are thriving.

When she heard that her local women’s community based organisation was providing small revolving funds to exploit local market chain gaps, Fatima immediately applied. Three years ago she started her own small perfume business. She saw this opportunity to access credit as a chance to grow her business. She used the funds to purchase large quantities of basic perfume ingredients such as oils from El Fashir town. She now produces a number of new perfumes, including khumra (the heavily scented signature perfume of married Sudanese women), stocks henna and a variety of incenses and woods used for smoke-baths, and regularly purchases dilka (a dark paste, made from a mixture of sorghum, fragrant oils and spices, which is used as an exfoliant) from her aunt for resale.

As the only person producing and selling perfumes in Magdoub and any of the neighbouring villages, she has had no shortage of customers with many women preferring to buy perfumes locally than having to travel to El Fashir market to purchase ready-made perfumes or to buy the raw materials to produce their own perfumes at home. She makes her perfume at home whenever she has some idle time. She sells her perfumes from her house, with her eldest son helping by delivering orders to neighbours and others in the village.  Soon she hopes to set up a stall in the weekly village market. She estimates that in a slow month she makes about 150 SDG profit and in a good month she makes more than 200 SDG.

* An EU funded project, implemented by Practical Action in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), to promote integrated water resource management in North Darfur and to strengthen local livelihoods.

One response to “How a revolving fund empowers women”

  1. Tayeb Elasma Muhammad Says:

    I’m absolutely wonder, excited and interested about what Ms. Fatima did and she is still keep doing so , I encourage her to keep doing that and encourage her other sisters to be creative, ambitious, active, successful and productive women
    and actually I wanna to thank Practical Action and EU for their theoretical (training, workshops and awareness about women rights) and financial support to these kind of projects and productive people.

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