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.