Cassava Flour to Fight Unemployment
Regenerate Tole community through food processing
Elevator Pitch: Share a concise summary. Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.
Unemployment and poverty in Tole is driving youths to risky sexual behavior.
We aim to employ young people, build their skills and bring revenue into the area through the establishment of a social business and community center. We will be processing and selling cassava flour, among other things.
WHAT IF Inspiration: What's one way your project dares to ask, “WHAT IF?”
What if the community turns out to be a partner, not a beneficiary?
Problem: What problem does your solution address?
We have been working with the community in Tole since our beginnings, 18 years ago. We have focused on assisting individual and groups business to progress. We are satisfied with the individual impacts, but not with our impact in the community as a whole, where unemployment and poverty are rampant and their natural resources are being taken away at way too cheap prices.
We conclude there is need for serious income to enter the community.
Solution: What is the proposed solution?
A Reach Out(REO)-managed business will be established in the heart of Tole, employing local people. Experts will be hired to build the skills of the employees. The profit will be used to expand the business and REO different social programs in Tole.
The business will also act as head quarters in the community, providing trainings (handicrafts, producing of tomato sauce, cassava and plantain flour..) and resources (food dryer) to its population, while keeping closer contact with the population.
To maximize impact among different members of the community, raw materials will be bought at fair prices (cassava, maize, plantain..), encouraging the population to pursue farming as a profession, since youths are hardly attracted to it.
Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how your solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.
Mbu was farming for himself and occasionally selling at very low prices, he is now selling cassava to REO, has increased his household income and now his young daughter, is starting to show interest on the work at the farm.
Lum is a high-school drop out with three kids from different men who abandoned her, she was struggling to pay for school fees, but now is employed in REO's business center grinding and processing cassava products. She transforms Mbu raw product.
Gabriel is having his first job, he is distributing cassava flour around Buea with REO. He brings a bag to Emilia.
Emilia sells Puff-Puff (local pastry) in the streets of Buea, she could substitute wheat flour for cassava flour, increasing her daily profits.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?
Employment in Tole provides a range of positive qualitative outcomes: Previous beneficiaries reports range from being able to say no to unwanted sexual relations or transforming oneself from beggar to provider inside a family network to a general sense of being useful and having a purpose and an occupation.
When it comes to the product we know we can increase profits of the micro businesses we will be delivering to by at least 10% by substituting wheat with local alternatives.
It will also have an impact in our other ongoing projects in the community, where we support vulnerable youths and women to start businesses, by making their potential clients (our employees) richer.
Skills and resources will be provided to those employed and to any interested person. Workshops will be regularly held on different income generating activities and the use of the equipments.
Full Impact Potential: What are the main spread strategies moving forward?
Within 5-10 years:
· Unemployment in Tole has reduced and its differences with the city of Buea are quite hard to see with any social indicator.
The business center led to many outcomes: loans, workshops, community-led business ventures and even cultural activities.
· Cassava, corn and plantain flour are produced all over Cameroon and are used in the variety of pastry products that Cameroonians love and avidly consume.
Imported wheat flour remains a useful commodity but not an essential one.
· Reach Out has gathered data and is now applying an improved approach in at least 1 community
Sustainability Plan: What is this solution's plan to ensure financial sustainability?
Reach Out is committed to sustainability of all its projects. The strength of this one is that is a business, reducing the need to constantly look for donors.
The profits generated will be used to pay the employees, face running costs and invest into expanding the business. When expanding is not advisable the profit will be used into projects in Tole, such as loans and grants to small entrepreneurs and Workshops on Income Generating Activities.
Marketplace: Who else is addressing this problem and how does the proposed solution differ from these approaches?
Greyston Social enterprise, in the UK, is using a similar approach. They are baking cookies to employ people, as main objective. That is the same reason why we want to produce cassava flour and other manufactured products.
We differ from them in infrastructure, the position in the production chain, and the fact that they work in a western country.
But the main difference is experience, they are a established company on the field of social enterprise and we ought to learn a lot from them, even with our different backgrounds. We will try to reach to them to seek for advise.
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.
Reach Out Cameroon (REO) is a non-governmental organization (NGO) head quartered in Buea with 18 years experience in development oriented projects and programmes. REO was founded in 1996 and authorized by the government of Cameroon in December 2000 with registration N0.082/G37/D14/1/vol.6/OAPP/69.
REO stems from the vision of the Founder and Executive Director- Omam Esther Njomo and has been shaped over time with invualuable insights and efforts from Medical Doctors, Gender Analysts, Social Workers, Nurses, Community Relay Agents, Agronomists and experts in many other fields from all over the world.
Over the past years, REO has provided assistance in community development, health and sanitation, gender empowerment and wealth creation
Team: What roles does your team consist of (i.e. full-time vs. part-time staff, volunteers, board members, etc) and how do you plan to expand the team as the project grows?
REO, with 18 years of existence, has a board of Directors with 12 members and 16 staff mixing volunteers and paid workers. The Wealth Creation Department has 2 permanent staff and 2 volunteers. The Head of Department holds an MSc. and has gathered experience for three years in development economics. Her assistant has experience running a mildly successful business. The joint efforts of recruited experts will improve the out put of the business