Meet Afi Agbati, she’s a very busy mother of three young children and is extremely ambitious, yet she worries about the future of her children a 9 year old boy, 6 Year old girl and baby girl. 

Afi is a striking looking woman in a pink t-shirt and denim skirt sitting quietly on a long bench listening to the family planning talk. Her baby girl is sleeping contentedly, nestled in her floral khanga that her mother wears around her back.  

The visiting midwife Aziable Essenam, is teaching the women about birth control and the different methods that are available to them. She speaks to a large group of about 15 women, some with children and some without. They are all Deki entrepreneurs.

Afi likes these meetings and talks as they give her a chance to spend time with other women which helps her to feel supported. It gives them the opportunity to talk about the difficulties and challenges that they all face day to day as women, mothers and as business owners.

Afi lives nearby and was one of the local seamstresses, until she started to have trouble with her eyes. She was doing so much close up stitching that her eyes were beginning to hurt her giving her headaches and dizzy spells. Her husband said he didn’t want her to continue as it would make her eyes worse, so he helped her to start up her own shop selling food products, like rice and oil, by giving her some capital. There were not many people selling food, so it was a very good business idea and very quickly she started to make a small profit.

In November last year, Afi’s loan request from IADES and Deki was approved and she received 60,000XOF to help her set up her business as a food product wholesaler.

Afi is a very busy mother of three young children and is extremely ambitious. She worries about the future of her children, worries that they will find it hard to find jobs when they are older and worries that they won’t have anywhere to live. She is so grateful for the opportunity that IADES and Deki have given to her to help her make a better more sustainable future for her two lovely girls and little boy. She can now send both of her children to school and will be able to send her youngest when she is older. By doing this she has already made changes to their lives.

Eventually, Afi would like to be the biggest wholesaler in the area and for all of the local women to come to her and buy from her. She knows that she will have to work very hard to make it successful and to increase her profits but she wants to be able to help her husband to support their family and they dream of saving enough money so they can buy a plot of land and build a home for their children and give them security. Between her and her husband they currently work 92 hours a week and she looks forward to the time when her children are older and have jobs, so her husband can retire and not work so hard.

She would love to build a big house for her family but not sure if they will have enough money, but she is happy to share her land and build another house to rent out.

The most important advice she can give to another entrepreneur, from her personal experience, is to know how to manage the loan money they start with. She advises new entrepreneurs to go to the training courses and to learn how to manage business capital which will help them grow the business and increase profits. She says that although women need new clothes, jewellery or hair extensions, to wait until the business is growing, then take a little bit out for themselves, but to invest the profit into the business again and again so her business grows, and she can be successful.