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First steps for entrepreneurs and young people who are self-employed

Course instructor Fatoumata admires the soaps made by the course participants.

First steps for entrepreneurs and young people who are self-employed

The Senegalese-German Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration (CSAEM) provides various training courses for the local population in Senegal, covering IT training through to soap production. These courses help people who want to start their own business. They also develop the knowledge of those who are already self-employed, which can be useful when an existing business needs to be expanded.

Women are looking for job alternatives

Most women in Senegal have limited access to land ownership or no access at all, because certain traditions exclude women from owning land. That’s why many women are looking for business opportunities aside from agriculture to provide them with a livelihood. They want to lead a self-determined and financially independent life. The CSAEM in Senegal regularly organises training courses that are designed to help women and girls in particular. This then enables them to obtain qualifications that offer good job prospects. The training courses offered to the local population in the communes of Par, Ngaye, Guéoul, Linguère and Kébémer in the north-western Louga region at the end of 2021 are a good example of this.

Women from the cookery course in Kébémer with delicious food.

Cookery course: it’s not just recipes on the curriculum

Women in Kébémer, around 185 kilometres from Dakar, mainly work at market stalls, in small shops, or earn some money from poultry farming or agriculture. This was also true for the 25 women who took part in a cookery course. They belong to the local association called “Jappo Médina”. “Jappo” translates as “united”. The association has almost a hundred female members. “Most women don’t have steady employment. Some work as market traders or deal in second-hand goods, but others don’t have any paid job at all”, says Astou, the association’s chairperson. Astou appreciates opportunities like the training courses provided by CSAEM. But she wants the local authorities and their development partners to help more women and young people.

Participant Bane in front of the training kitchen.

The cookery course didn’t just give the women the chance to try out different recipes and cooking techniques. It also gave them the basic knowledge necessary to plan, set up and run their own business. Marguerite was the instructor for the ten-day course. “Many of them are now able to run their own business after having completed the training course”, says Marguerite, though she is still realistic. “But they’ll still need more advanced training courses to become efficient and productive as entrepreneurs in the long run.”

One of the women hoping to substantially improve her income after the training course is 22-year-old Bane. Up until now she has been earning some cash from hairdressing, but she’s already planning to expand the services she provides. “I found the course very interesting. Now I can prepare different delicacies for my customers”, says Bane. She believes that practical training initiatives like the cookery course are really useful, especially for young people who otherwise have few or no opportunities for higher education.

Course instructor Fatoumata with training participants.

Soap produced using local market ingredients

Another course in Kébémer also taught the women something new. The participants made soap using ingredients from the local market, such as carrots, honey and shea butter. Completely free of bleach and chemical additives. “The aim of this course is to improve women's entrepreneurial skills and enable them to earn their own income,” explained course instructor Fatoumata. This is why it also teaches the basics of promoting and financing a business.

The CSAEM chose the association “Ndeyi Daara” to be offered this training course. Its name translates as “godmothers”. The members of the association act as godmothers in looking after Koranic pupils in Kébémer. They take care of the children and young people, provide them with meals, and ensure that they are kept clean. This way they can apply the knowledge they gained from the soap making course.

“Instead of having to buy soap or bleach or other hygiene products, we can now use local ingredients to make them ourselves to make sure their clothes and sleeping quarters are regularly kept clean. This has been particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic”, explains godmother Valimata. This 50-year-old is very enthusiastic about the course. She previously worked as a self-employed small business owner in the food manufacturing sector. The training course has inspired her to produce and sell even more of her own products. Valimata points out that not having to buy finished goods saves her money. She therefore expects to increase her income.

These training courses in Kébémer are just some examples of the many CSAEM training courses that take place in other communities in Senegal. While the courses in food processing are in great demand, especially among middle-aged women, young women and men are mostly interested in IT courses. But no matter what the subject, their new knowledge from the training courses means that the participants are more motivated to start planning becoming self-employed.

Date: 01/2022

This course aims to improve women's entrepreneurial skills and enable them to earn their own income.
Course instructor Fatoumata

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