Building Rural Businesses through Microlending
By Cicely Brown (VSO)
In March and April of 2009, 45 clients from the village of Dangoma in Kaninkon each benefited from a N10,000 ($100) loan from Friends of Nigeria. Having successfully repaid the loans in full, both groups have now moved on to the second loan cycle of N20,000.
As you will read from the interviews with eight of the women, the loans have really helped them move their businesses on to bigger and better things! Dangoma village is about 30 minutes by car from Kafanchan in the chiefdom of Kaninkon. Unlike the typical pastoral Fulanis, the Hausa-Fulanis of Dangoma have settled into this community although they still maintain some of their pastoral traditions such as treating all visitors to a delicious bowl of nono (yoghurt) with sugar and millet.
Mobilized by recently qualified Fantsuam field officer Sarah Michael, over 60 Dangoma women have received loans from Fantsuam in 2009 with strong support from their community leader or hakimi, Baba Galadima.
Fantsuam field officer Sarah Michael with community leader Baba Galadima.
The eight women interviewed vary in ages from 16 to 84 and have businesses that range from selling firewood to tailoring. Here are their stories.
Fatu Galadima, wife of the hakimi, has a business buying and selling furniture and household items, such as beds, mattresses, chairs and cooking dishes. Travelling to the main market of Jagindi about one hour away, she buys second hand furniture for sale in her village. Combined with the profit from the business, the loan from Fantsuam helped her to buy a cow adding to the wealth of the family and providing a rich source of milk.
Prior to receiving the loan from Fantsuam, Salamatu Abdullahi bought kerosene in bulk from Kafanchan market which she sold from her house to the local community. The loan gave her additional capital with which to diversify her business, allowing her to move into selling sugar. Though it is a luxury item, sugar is in high demand in the Fulani communities because it takes the edge off the sour traditional nono yoghurt. The cost has prevented it from being readily marketed in the village and with her extra cash, Salamatu quickly took advantage of the market opportunity. Twenty-five years of age, Salamatu has two children and has been in business for five years.
Salamatu holds a bowl of sugar which she will package into small bags for sale to sweeten the traditional nono drink.
At sixteen Libabatu Zilani is the youngest of the group but is already in business to support her one child, buying yams from local farmers in Dangoma and transporting them to the main wholesale market in Jagindi. The Fantsuam loan gave her the capital to buy yams in larger quantities, therefore, making the weekly journey to Jagindi more cost-effective and allowing her to realize a greater profit.
Hadiza Shafiyu makes the journey between Jagindi and Dangoma in the opposite direction, buying cassava flour and rice wholesale at the large Jagindi market and selling it in Dangoma. Prior to receiving the loan from Fantsuam, she prepared food and buns for the local community. The loan enabled her to enter into the more lucrative trading business although she still prepares and retails food locally in her spare time. The profits realized from her expanding business have enabled her to pay school fees for her three children and contribute towards household food expenses. Hadiza is 28.
Aged 80, Hadiza Abdullahi is the oldest of the group and still has nine children living who have given her over 30 grandchildren. For more years than she can remember, she has been buying trees locally and chopping them up to sell as firewood at Kafanchan market. She travels there between once and three times per week and makes about N5,000 each time. She sells the firewood on credit to retailers in the market, and the profit she realizes at the end of the day, depending on how much is sold, allows her to return more or less frequently. The Fantsuam loan has helped to provide a greater level of capital stability to her business so that her activities are less dependent on market variations.
Hadiza Abdullahi amongst family in her compound.
Groundnuts have many uses and hardly any part is wasted. Kulira Abubakar processes the groundnuts for oil and uses the remaining pulp to make kuli kuli, a popular snack. She wholesales the kuli kuli to retailers in the village, making batches worth about N10,000 twice a week. The loan from Fantsuam provided the capital for her to switch from low volume buying and selling of beans to the more profitable groundnut processing business. Kulira is only 22 years of age and has two young children.
Kulira Abubakar in the hakimi’s compound.
The northern city of Kano is the center of Nigeria’s wax-dyeing trade, and 26-year-old Fatima Zachary travels there twice every month to buy up to 40 wrappers for sale within Dangoma and surrounding villages. She has a keen eye for what’s in fashion which helps her pick out the right fabrics, and she’s also developed a reputation for supplying the wrapper “uniforms” that are so popular with events such as weddings, community group outings and anniversary celebrations. Since taking out the loan, she has diversified into children’s clothes which has increased the profit in her five-year-old business. She has one child herself.
Fatima outside her house from where she sells wrappers and children’s clothes, a selection of which she is holding.
The Fantsuam loan allowed Ramatu Zachary, a tailor by trade, to branch out into the communications business. Network reception is scant in rural Dangoma. She used the money from the loan to buy a mobile phone handset and phone recharge cards. While she still tailors, a young boy in the market runs her phone business for her, moving around the community to find the networks that are available if reception falters. Ramatu is 26 and has four children.