Business and Technical training
Following a Training Needs Assessment, Microsfere implemented in 2010 and January 2011 an intensive training programme targeting its 500 beneficiaries. The aim of this training, implemented with the support of CRAN (a microfinance NGO striving to reduce poverty and its effects among disadvantaged groups and communities in rural Ghana), was to increase the capacity-building of our participants in two areas: business and technical skills.
The business training was addressed to all beneficiaries in both project sites, though only 302 finally participated. It consisted of the following 10 modules: 1) Entrepreneurship & business plan development; 2) Effective communication; 3) Effective time & resources management; 4) Savings & increasing business profit; 5) Proper record keeping; 6) Good customer care & marketing skills; 7) Business diversification & investment opportunities; 8) Cost-benefit analysis; 9) Difference between revenue & profit; and 10) Prudent/effective credit management.
The technical training was addressed to 258 participants who had indicated during the TNA an interest in applying improved techniques or starting new micro-enterprises. The technical topics taught were: 1) Small ruminants rearing; 2) Pig rearing; 3) Improved cocoa farming techniques, 4) “Chorkor” smoker for fish; 5) Agroforestry; 6) Bee-keeping; 7) Grasscutter rearing; and 8) Soap making. Six of the eight technical topics taught (cocoa farming techniques, “chorkor” smoker, agroforestry, bee-keeping, grasscutter rearing and soap making) are “biodiversity-compatible activities” as they either relieve pressure on natural resources or they introduce alternative livelihoods that have no impact on protected resources.
Since then, and due to the high interest, we have repeated training in soap making, grass-cutter rearing and bee-keeping.
Social MicrofinanceSince the first disbursement on the field in late 2008, we have managed to reach approximately 500 beneficiaries (about 300 in Kakum and 200 in Amanzuri) and to give out a total of 1275 loans so far. The initial fund that has been collected by Microsfere and is being used as a revolving fund amounts to about 56,000 euros. Microsfere remains the owner of this fund, which is managed on day-to-day basis by our microfinance partners on the field, namely the Kakum Rural Bank in Kakum and the Jomoro Rural Bank in Amanzuri. Those two institutions are responsible for the disbursements and reimbursements, on the basis of specific criteria that have been agreed to between Microsfere and them. Microsfere oversees the whole process and has the final saying in the way the fund is managed.