EMPLOYMENT AND ENTERPRISE
Afrinspire supports creativity and innovation, providing practical advice and offering kick-starter funding to enable individuals and organisations to create decent jobs. Our relationship-based approach encourages entrepreneurs to help themselves where they can, and break out of a cycle of dependence which can be common in some communities. Thus we work to ‘teach a man to fish’, rather than just providing him with a fish to eat. We encourage individual businesses to ‘start small, but grow big’ and many of the small businesses we have supported now employ and train many others, thus creating multiple jobs.
We have seen that that the ability to earn enough money to support oneself and ones’ family can be a fundamental source of respect and dignity, as well as supporting the local economy.
‘You are partners in the foundation of Miken School of Art – now we are sharing what we have built for the last many years and plans for new jobs and futures as we mentor others’
Wanda Kenneth, Young Entrepreneur and Director of The Miken School of Art (A growing business with associated vocational training centre)
AREAS OF WORK
Microfinancing and Kick-Starters
Microfinancing involves giving even small amounts of credit to help end the cycle of poverty. This is a key way in which Afrinspire supports job-creation, alongside providing ‘kickstarter’ initial capital to help businesses get started.
Many of Afrinspire’s partners including our Functional Adult Literacy program and many of our self-help groups encourage group members to develop a small ‘community bank’ contributed to by the group, and from which group members can withdraw small loans at times of particular need or to start specific enterprises. These revolving loans create joint accountability, and can be very successful in providing the initial capital to help individuals start their own business.
Job Training and Creation
Afrinspire supports a number of organisations which specifically work to provide individuals with the skills they need to start a small business of their own – combining both practical skills with the business and entrepreneurship skills. These organisations often particularly target very vulnerable young people, who may lack education or already be living in very challenging situations.
Our vocational training centres and training programmes have supported hundreds of young people in developing careers as hairdressers, tailors, IT technicians, carpenters, designers, and other similar fields.
Afrinspire Young Entrepreneurs Program
Unemployment and inappropriately-targeted education has been highlighted as a key issue for young people in Africa in our Young Leaders Conference.
Since 2013, Afrinspire has run a series of funds enabling young social entrepreneurs to develop new businesses which they subsequently use to benefit the local community in a number of ways. Some of these young leaders have gone on to develop and run large businesses or successful training centres, helping many others to find work.
The opportunity to work in a decent job and earn reasonable income is an obvious and important way for individuals and families to lift themselves out of poverty. Unfortunately, often very few white collar jobs are available in African societies, with most families living on their produce from a smallholding, and occasionally buying and selling of other items. Alongside this, many jobs do not provide decent conditions or wages, or exploit workers, for example by middle-managers taking all of the profits. Unfortunately, products made by children and individuals being held against their will, or working in poor conditions often end up on Western shelves.
In many of the countries in which we work, education is unfortunately geared towards a service-orientated economy which just does not exist, and therefore individuals often need to take the initiative to create their own jobs, whether by learning a skill such as carpentry or sewing, starting a new agricultural venture such as keeping pigs or a new crop, or engaging in more modern service provision such as opening an internet café.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
SUPPORT a new business enterprise. We estimate it costs around £150 per person to develop a new job, providing an individual with potentially sustainable income for them and their family for the rest of their lives.
STAND UP against exploitative work practices, and ensure products you buy directly benefit those who worked to produce them by asking about and investigating the origin of the products you buy, and buying items with the Fairtrade mark.
DONATE to our employment and entrepreneurship programmes and help individuals to develop skills to launch new enterprises