|Regina, rice seller|
Regina is 29 years old and lives in Afiaso village, in the eastern part of Kakum National Park, with the youngest of her three children. Three years ago she planted some cocoa and oil palm trees, but needed another activity while waiting for her plantations to mature.
This is why last year she decided to join the Microsfere project and start a new activity that would produce immediate profits.
She started selling cooked rice and sauce in the village market. Actually, she used her 150 Ghana cedis - GHS (75 euro) of the 1st loan cycle and the 200 GHS (100 euro) of the 2nd cycle to travel to Cape Coast city for the purchase of rice and sauce ingredients, which she then cooks once she is back in her village.
In terms of profit, in a good season (when the village's cocoa activity is booming) she can make 10 GHS (5 euro) a day; however in the low cocoa season she makes only about 1 GHS (0,5 euro) a day.
Though she has participated at only two loan cycles so far, she had seen some concrete benefits from he project. Her food catering activity allows her now to cover basic needs and to live well. There are though some needs that she cannot cover yet, such as school fees for her two older children, increased savings and a mobile phone to communicate with her husband and two older children which live in Kumasi city.
Regina is also her group's chairman. When asked how she got this position she told us: "The criteria for being a group chairman are ability to read and write and trustworthiness, and the other members voted for me."
Her duties as group leader consist in organising bi-weekly meetings for her group, attending occasional meetings with all group leaders from all participating communities to discuss common issues and problems, collecting cash and passbooks of those members who cannot be present when the loan collectors come, and also providing advice to those members who are having difficulty meeting their payment obligations.