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© 2022 Opportunity InternationalOpportunity International United Kingdom is registered as a charity in England and Wales (1107713) and in Scotland (SCO39692).

Meet The Clients Philomene

Philomene

In the past I used to sell around 30,000 francs worth of cassava leaves. After the training, I now sell around 70,000 francs worth of cassava leaves. The improvement has been massive.

My name is Philomene, I am 61, a widow and I live with my 17-year-old granddaughter near Kinshasha in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Philomene has been farming most of her life. She works alongside other women and uses the money from her farm to educate and raise her children. Her main source of income used to be from selling manure, but during the rainy season it’s difficult to sell. She didn’t have a sustainable income.

Before taking part in this project, I had a lot of challenges in life.

I completed 3 trainings with Opportunity International. The first was a Gender Training, the second was GAP (Good Agricultural Practice), and the third was Financial Literacy training.

Now, after I make a profit, I immediately save 25% to pay back my loan. Then I also have extra savings for healthcare.

In terms of the Agricultural Training, I learnt a lot about diversifying crops. I had never heard about this before. It didn’t occur to us to grow various crops to increase our chances of selling our produce.

Thanks to the training, we have also learnt how to create a drainage system when the river rises, so the beds are elevated and the water can pass without destroying the crops. In the past, everything would drown. The harvest would be completely destroyed every rainy season.

These practises have drastically improved my income. In the past I used to sell around 30,000 francs worth of cassava leaves. After the training, I now sell around 70,000 francs worth of cassava leaves.

In the gender training, we learnt that men and women shouldn’t work in isolation, but rather, we can be most successful when we are working together.

In DRC, women’s voices are still not heard. It is a slow process. For example, after the GAP training, it was me and a fellow female farmer who encouraged everyone to raise their garden beds in order to save their crops during the rainy season. The men were initially very resistant to our idea. But now, everyone does it, and it was initiated by us, the women. This makes me feel happy and proud. Thanks to the trainings, I feel empowered and I feel confident to share my knowledge with others.

I hope to build a new house for myself one day. I bless the people who sponsored this project, I am so happy to have participated in these trainings. I hope this project continues. The community treats me differently after these trainings, I feel more respected and confident.