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Christele Balawouya Lome
Introduction - Written by our field partners
Christele (24) is a young entrepreneur who at such a young age is running her own Dressmaking business. She is single and has no children which means she can devote all of her time to perfecting her craft and building up a name for herself.
Christele is currently supporting 1 member of her extended family and this is a big part of the reason that she wants her business to become more profitable. In order to make this happen Christele will buy a new sewing machine and other equipment that will help her to increase productivity.
Once she is earning more income she will be able to start saving for securing her future and for her future family.
Field Partner: CODA
CODA stands for Coopérative pour le Développement des Affaires (Business Development Cooperative). The cooperative is based in the Bè-Ahligo district of Lome, and has been running since May 2008. Its main purpose is to help small businesses and communities to promote their own economic, social and cultural development in a sustainable way.
Its objectives are:
- To combat poverty by providing social education to its members
- To promote income-generating activities for women
- To support private initiatives by promoting the collection of savings and the distribution of loans to members.
CODA is a member of the Professional Association of Microfinance Institutions in Togo.
- Name: Christele Balawouya
- Trade: Dressmaker
- Total loan required: £380
- Repaid so far: £0
Location - Lome, Togo
Togo or la République Togolaise is a West African country bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It sits on the Gulf of Guinea and is one the smallest African countries.
It is a sun-Saharan nation which is highly dependent on agriculture. The climate is generally tropical with two short rainy seasons between April and July and between September and November although the average rainfall is not very high. Crops grown include coffee, cocoa, cotton, yams, cassava (tapioca), corn, beans, rice, millet and sorghum.
Education is only compulsory for six years and the system suffers from a severe lack of trained teachers. Many families cannot afford to pay for school fees or uniforms which leads to significant dropout.
The country is a prime example of where micro-finance can make a significant difference. Micro-finance is concentrated in the countries of the developing world. According to IADES less than 5% of the population has a bank account and over 50% live below the poverty line which is less than $1.25 /day. This is due to the banks' reluctance to lend to the poor and to the high cost of running a bank account. The majority of the population is considered by the mainstream banking sector to be un-creditworthy.
Entrepreneurs use their micro-loans to improve their plot yields, to trade goods in towns and villages and to increase their animal herd. The profits from their enterprises allow them to pay for school uniforms, for secondary schooling or to pay for medicines for sick members of their family.
- Capital: Lomé
- Official languages: French
- Regional Languages: Gbe, Kotokoli, Kabiye, Mina, Dagomba.
- Population: 7.5 million (2015)
- GDP: $11.558 million (2016 estimate)
- Monetary Unit: CFA Franc (Communaute Financiere Africaine)
- Percentage of people living on less than $1.25 a day: over 50%, of those 12.9% live in extreme poverty (Ministere de l'Economie, 2007)
- Adult literacy rate: 75.4% (men), 46.9% (women)
- Estimated adult (aged 15-49) HIV prevalence: 2.9% of adults aged between 15 - 49 years
- Life expectancy: 56 years (men) 59 years (women) (2016)
- Female Genital Mutilation rate: 4%
- Religions: Traditional African (51%), Christian (30%), Muslim (15%)