Wha' happen?

Ilboru, 7-Oct-2011

Business Training – Day 1
Sam explaining basic business principals

Sam, assisted by Jordan and myself, conducted the final business training session for our Ilboru candidate and he did a great job. The training session went very well: Sam has a keen ability in teaching and he always managed to get the candidates engaged in the discussion. We also did many exercises on the black board, based on the assumption that we are all running a convenience store business. This allowed the women to better grasp the points we were trying to make. By the end of the 2ndday, I asked the Mamas to fill-in a stock and asset sheet for their initial business investment, as we did during our example. It was also (re)putting in writing the exact same business plan Sam and I have been developing with each Mama for the past months.  But to my great surprise, it was extremely difficult for most of the candidates to complete the form: Sam, Jordan and I spend the next hour helping each candidate (re)list all the equipment and stock they need for their business as well as indicating what they wanted to purchase with the grant awarded.

Business Training – Day 2
Hands on

Still it wasn’t easy. For example, both Fatuma and Cadhrini (Catherine) still presented a request for more than 1,000,000Tsh! Fatuma realised quickly enough that she has to stick to the grant amount and business plan we previously developed together. However, getting Cadhrini back on track proved to be a mission impossible.  For some unexplained reason, leaving both Sam and I completely flabbergasted, she got swept into a dream-become-reality of opening a fully fledged saloon, plus hiring an assistant if you please. Gone was the plan she wrote in her own hand about starting to work as a braid and rasta hairdresser on the sidewalk of Sanawari Juu. AnywayZ, we had no choice but to request another face-to-face meeting with Cadhrini, hopefully tomorrow.

Lunch time (Jordan)

In our Ilboru grant round, a total of 992,000Tsh (or 583 U$D or 381 GBP) in grants will be issued to 8 candidates. Our group is comprised of: 2 hairdressers, 2 vegetable vendors, 2 fried vendors, 1 chicken breeder and 1 man, Alex, the upholstery tailor.


Please find below a description on the initial grant disbursement:

Quick jump to each candidate:

  • Agnes Faustini– – – – – – – – – (Mark & Kathy and Julia)
  • Alex Luka – – – – – – – – – – – –  (Alisson and Barry)
  • Anna George – – – – – – – – – – (Albin)
  • Berth Alex – – – – – – – – – – – – (Nada, Eric and Yasmina)
  • Catherine Mesa – – – – – – – –  (Tony, Linda and Victor )
  • Fatuma Shabani – – – – – – – – (Ziad & Mireille)
  • Miriam Joelle – – – – – – – – – – (Jason, Becky and little Violet)
  • Theresia Alfonsi – – – – – – – – (Francoise)


Agnes Faustini

Thank you Mark, Catherine and Julia

Agnes was awarded 52,000Tsh to diversify her vegetable offering as well as to fix her food stall & slightly increase its size. With her award, she decided to buy green cooking bananas, the yellow bananas and coconut. Unfortunately Agnes had to urgently go to Moshi to be by the side of her sick mother and only once back we could award her the grant.


Alex Luka

Thank you Alisson & Barry

My idea for Alex is to give him a 3 months probation in his upholstery job. We will rent him a sewing machine for 3 month, buy him a stool and cushion and stock him with needles and thread to start his business.  If he succeed and proves responsible by Xmas time, Sarah and I will give him 1 sewing machine. To start, I wanted Alex to attend an upholstery sewing training session for which we will cover the costs.  Even if Jordan and I found a sewing class for Alex, I still asked him to go search for a trainer himself; it’s a simple matter of getting him to start owning responsibility of his employment. Unfortunately, I was left disappointed; when I returned to see him a week later he told me he was not able to find anyone who provides sewing classes/training. Hmmm… it took me, a white guy with broken Swahili, 10min to find a trainer.  Not a good start, is it?

We still enrolled Alex with our tailor’s training and rented him a sewing machine. Adding the cost of the initial stock required Alex would be awarded 67,000Tsh. The gift sewing machine will top 200,000TSh and will not be included as part of the grant.

Sam and I will be following up with his training as well as regularly visiting him at his furniture shop to properly decide our future course of action.


 Anna George

Thanks Albin

Fresh veggies @ Anna’s kiosk

What will be the best approach to re-start Anna’s vegetable sale business? She would like 140,000Tsh to diversify her product offering with her primary choice being potatoes & onions followed by green banana and charcoal.  Although I believe Anna’s idea is sound and have no doubt on her ability to expand her business again, both Sam and I felt constrained in accepting her plan: Agnes ‘s vegetable stall is 50 meters away and she is only requesting 52,000Tsh from us.  Granting Anna her wishes would be unfair to Agnes.  I thus recommend buying half the quantity solicited by Anna and only for the products Agnes currently does not already sell. The final revised grant amount stands at 65,000Tsh.

I visited Anna’s veggie stall last week to buy some of her newly purchased onion and potato and she was extremely happy, relentlessly thanking us for the help. As for the potatoes, ask Bruno, Sam’s brother, he devoured them all prior to us getting back home to eat!!


Mama Alex

Thank you Nada, Eric & Yasmina

Mama Alex business expansion plan was to double her daily fish sale.  As I mentioned before, I had high hopes in her accomplishing this feat; she sells good fried fish and her food stall is always busy.  Unfortunately something must have been lost in translation between Mama Alex, Sam and I.  We awarded 117,000Tsh to Mama Alex to fix her food stall and for her to buy the extra fish, oil, cassava, wood,… The deal was: she will buy her usual amount of fish and we will match her purchases thus doubling her total. Yet when Sam when to the market Sam only bought the usual amount of fish Mama Alex buys: ~150 small and 15 big fish, yet Mama Alex didn’t buy anything (I couldn’t go; if they see a white man, the price doubles!). And she subsequently refused to buy more fish! She played us and just cashed in ½ of our grant money.  To further complicate things, a few days later Sam also awarded here the remaining loan amount to buy material necessary to fix her banda. Unbelievable!

I was caught off-guard, couldn’t believe Sam could let something so obvious happen. It’s not like Mama Alex wouldn’t have stole our money anywayZ, even if she bought for 1 day her amount of fish. Sam just made it easier for her to get away with it. Last week, I tried talking some sense into Mama Alex but then she fell and injured her arm and had to follow treatment for 1 week.

I have my work cut out explaining the simple math logic of how profit will grow if sales grow as it seems we failed the first time.

Cadhrini Mesa

Thank you Tony, Linda & Victor

The situation with Catherine got complicated when she got swept away (probably due to her friends influence) into imagining herself owning a fully fledged beauty salon.  Even if together with Catherine we had developed a step by step business plan to initiate her hairdressing venture, starting with a sidewalk stall, she completely diverged and started following her fantasy.  She asked 1,400,000Tsh from Futuresense even if she knew that our range is max 150,000Tsh. Neither Sam nor I could really comprehend this extreme change of behaviour… nor her stubbornness in insisting

We discussed in details the issue with Catherine and she finally, hopefully, “agreed” to go back to the original plan. Her first task is to look for a street side covered sidewalk where she could conduct both her hairdressing job and used cloth sale. Only at that time we would award her the grant: 3 month sidewalk rent plus the beauty supplies and equipment needed for her job, for a total of: 126,000TSh.  Sam and I will continue meeting Catherine on a bi-weekly basis to provide her with support and advice and we are looking forward in seeing her career progress.

 Fatuma Shabani

Thank you Ziad & Mireille

Fatuma always showed excellent business flair and she managed to find a saloon where she could sell her products while she continue her hairdressing job in front of a convenience store on the sidewalk of Ilboru’s main road (still a dirt road).  Fatuma’s grant was divided in 2 parts: An initial 90,000Tsh has been awarded to her to buy saloon and beauty products necessary to conduct her job. It will allow Fatuma to increase her client number and thus her weekly income.  The deal will be for her to save 240,000Tsh in the busy 3 month leading to Xmas, at which point Futuresense will award her the remaining 110,000Tsh, at which point she will be able to buy the 350,000TSh saloon hair dryer she so badly wants.

I met with Fatuma 2 weeks after the initial grant award and she was very happy with her situation. Even if she admits she’s not on track to meet her saving’s target, she expressed great confidence that in the November and December time frame she will catch up. We will be following closely her progress. 


Mama Joelle

Thank you Jason, Becky & Violet

Mr. Evarest inspecting Mama Joelle newly constructed “Banda la kuku”

We offered Mama Joel complete liberty in buying her chickens. With our 163,000TSh grant, she bought a mixture of thirteen chickens, ranging between 5mth and 7mth old as well as 1 rooster. The chickens were vaccinated and we provided her with a 1 month supply of food, anti-bacterial and vitamins.

I visited Mama Joel a week after she got her chicken and she is ecstatic. She’s getting 2 eggs per day but it’s only a matter of time before the other chickens grow to be able to lay eggs.  Mama Joel also headed my calls: The house surrounding has been cleaned, the vegetable garden is now better utilized and planted ahead of the rainy season and she got rid of the cow which wasn’t producing milk. All in all, Mama Joel is doing great.


Theresia Alfonsi

Thank you Francoise

Theresia Alfonsi is still very much in the hunt to find a place to open a small restaurant.  We both agreed on the following plan: once Theresia has rented a place, we will contribute 200,000Tsh (the maximum grant amount possible) toward the purchase of fridge estimated at 350,000Tsh.  2 weeks have gone by and Theresia still hasn’t found a suitable place yet but both Sam and I have full confidence in her abilities.

The Professor

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