The Belgian association for the promotion of education and training abroad (APEFE) supports the development of women’s entrepreneurship in the agri-food processing sector in Senegal through the Jigeen Ñi Tamit (“Women too”) programme.
This programme aims to promote the growth of women’s agri-food processing companies through supporting institutions involved in female entrepreneurship in this sector and, at the same time, strengthening the capacity of business support structures and that of companies themselves.
The long-term objective is to support 100 businesses of the agri-processing sector in the transformation of fruit and vegetable, milk and fish in the Thiès and Louga regions. The team in charge of the programme established a selection grid for the beneficiaries, with essential and desirable eliminatory criteria (being a businesswoman, working in the agri-food processing sector, in the 3 sectors and the 2 regions selected).
On the basis of an initial analysis and meeting potential beneficiaries, the team selected 46 companies to become the first group. A more detailed analysis was conducted to determine their technical and managerial knowledge and needs. Most of the businesswomen are concentrated in Thiès, where they have already followed four training courses on internal organisation and simplified financial management as well as on hygiene best practices.
The long-term objective is to support 100 businesses of the agri-processing sector in the transformation of fruit and vegetable, milk and fish.
Organic restaurant and shop
REFABEC – a women’s network for organic agriculture and fair trade – is one of the beneficiaries of the programme and covers several projects: an organic restaurant, a shop and a processing unit. During their follow-up visit in Thiès, technical assistants have noticed the efforts deployed and the considerable improvement in the management and hygiene of the restaurant and the processing unit. Purchases and sales are now recorded in a notebook, invoices are filed, the surfaces are regularly and meticulously cleaned, and hygiene equipment (gloves, masks, gowns…) is used.
The shop manager Ndeye Sira Diop is enthusiastic with the first results achieved on the network thanks to the programme: “The Jigeen Ñi Tamit programme comes just at the right time, women lacked skills and have now strengthened their abilities in terms of accounting, management and hygiene. We are very happy with its existence.” Women appreciate the support they receive; training sessions are complemented by coaching sessions to assess the application of acquired knowledge; assigning the training of your successor to a coach or mentor in the long run.
The Jigeen Ñi Tamit programme comes just at the right time, women lacked skills and have now strengthened their abilities in terms of accounting, management and hygiene. We are very happy with its existence.
In addition to providing technical and managerial training and support, the programme intends to develop innovation and encourage the use of organically grown raw material and renewable energy within processing units. The chosen businesswomen will then be able to offer quality products at competitive prices, and to consider expanding their market to the large-scale distribution.
As a reminder, the APEFE is a non-profit association promoting education and training abroad. It operates in ten countries, including Senegal, through different programmes adapted to their specific needs. After many successful programmes in the education and training sector, the APEFE launched a multi-year plan for women’s entrepreneurship 2017-2021, named “Jigeen Ñi Tamit”. It is funded by the Belgian Development Cooperation and developed in partnership with the Senegalese Ministry of Women, Family and Gender.