Poverty Alleviation : World Bank Empowers Women With Vocational Skills

Some 650 women in the Yaounde II municipality have benefited from a training organised by the World Bank within the framework of its poverty alleviation project, dubbed Social Safety Nets. The women selected from 1,500 households in the locality that are benefiting from the project’s cash transfer scheme were taught how to produce liquid and solid detergents, and vinegar. Some of the women, who converged on the training centre on January 21, told Cameroon Tribune that the training will empower them to explore alternative ways to better their lives, given that they have been simply getting by through petit trading.

Sadjo Habiba, one of the trainees, said that before the training she sold ground nuts, ‘manda kiki’ and other products in small quantities right in front her house. “Last year we were taught how to tint cloths but I could not use the skills because starting up a business in that domain requires money I cannot afford. Making soap and vinegar is cheaper and easier. This is a trade I can take up and provide for my family,” she said.

Zapa Reine, another trainee, shared a similar opinion. She said it is easier for them to begin with the production and sale of detergents and vinegar before getting into textile designs and tinting. “We are given FCFA 20,000 every two months and we have been encouraged to groups ourselves into small associations so that we can save some of the money and eventually start our businesses. You know the money will not be coming in for ever. They will give us money for two years and empower us to generate income by ourselves. That is why we are taking the training seriously,” she quipped.

Biloa Carole, one of the field agents of the World Bank pointed out that they worked with the local councils in the seven regions benefiting from the project and the National Institute of Statistics to select households that are poverty stricken. “The extreme poor and vulnerable are the ones we target. They receive FCFA 20,000 every month and FCFA80, 000 on the sixth and last month of the two-year project,” she said. She also disclosed that the trainers in Yaounde II municipality were trained under the same project in Yaounde I. Some beneficiaries will also be trained in pedicure and manicure.

The Social Safety Nets program which is in its second phase is financed by the World Bank to the tune of 60 million US dollars of which half of the amount is a loan.

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