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Savings groups in South Sudan encourage rise of women entrepreneurs even amid COVID-19

“My life was so difficult before the project came. I thought my family will not survive from hunger,” shares 35-year-old Yar Laat Goljok.

Yar was then jobless and used to cultivate a small piece of land near her house, but the harvest was not enough for her family’s needs. “I am doing fine with my tea making business, which I started in March 2019 from the money I borrowed from the Saving for Transformation (S4T) group,” she continues.

“Now, my four children can go to school and I have enough food at home for my family,” she happily shares. Yar Laat Goljok is also a guardian of three other children and the breadwinner of her household.

Yar is one of the 25 people who benefited from the S4T through the Food Security and Resilience in Transitioning Environments (FORESITE) Project implemented by World Vision and partners AVSI Foundation and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) funded by the European Union (EU).

Related story: Vegetable gardening improves lives of 780 women in South Sudan

Yar's thriving tea shop business gives her daily income to support her family.

 

The project has created 72 Saving for Transformation groups in its operational areas in Twic, Jur River, Gogrial East and Cuebiet Counties aimed at promoting the culture of saving and strengthen the social cohesion among group members for networking, confidence building and peaceful coexistence.

It also facilitates trainings on business management and provides materials to all groups to build trust and confidence to embark on becoming entrepreneurs.

“After attending several meetings and contributing with my share for the savings from selling of three of my own chickens, I decided to invest in the business of tea making,” Yar says. 

The income generating activities foster women empowerment, strengthen local resilience and peacebuilding as well.

Now she operates a tea shop in Langdit. She said her contribution to the S4T group is SSP 2,400 (USD18.40) per month.  In May 2020 during the rainy season, I borrowed SSP10.000 (USD76.7) to start my tea shop.

“I earn 8,000 SSP (USD 61.40) per day because every time vehicles got stuck in the mud, people come to my shop to drink tea or coffee,” she happily shares.

“We are thankful of FORESITE and I hope it will continue to support us as we grow our businesses and helping other people who also wants to become entrepreneurs,” she adds.

Related story: Youth groups promote peacebuilding towards a resilient and hunger-free future

From the business, this hardworking entrepreneur can send her children to school and provide for their needs.

 

AVSI’s Project Manager Gino Barsella, says, “The FORESITE project equipped S4T groups encouraged investments from savings for livelihoods diversification and increased income. The income generating activities foster women empowerment, strengthen local resilience and peacebuilding as well.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic, project activities included face masks, soaps, disinfectants and handwashing stations were set-up in key locations for safety and wellbeing of our staff, partners and community people.

The project team, working closely with local government health authorities, support the awareness campaign sharing prevention messages in the communities to help prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.

Story and photos by Aniello D'Ambrosio, Communications Officer, AVSI South Sudan