CONTEXT AND CHALLENGES
High unemployment rate among rural women
In Senegal, most job-seekers are young women. In addition, unemployment among rural women is higher than among their urban counterparts. Many of the companies are based in Dakar or are founded there. But the rural areas also have plenty of potential, especially in agriculture, due in part to the open-minded and motivated women living there. With this in mind, Isseu Diop Sakho founded the bakery brand Mburu.
Mburu, which means 'bread' in the Wolof and Bambara languages, specialises in marketing baked goods and drinks. The company is located on the west coast of Senegal and the idea is to produce and sell local specialities 'Made in Senegal'. Sakho, Mburu's founder and manager, had the social and pro-employment components of her company in mind from the very beginning: 'My aim was to engage in a project that deals with employment and strengthens the role of women. The idea grew slowly and then, in 2019, was realised with the Mburu project,' she says. In line with this, the company's kiosks are operated exclusively by women from the villages. Locally grown ingredients such as sorghum, corn, tubers and seasonal fruit are used to make the products. Sakho wants to use Mburu to help young people in the region have better access to employment.
In this endeavour, Invest for Jobs is now supporting the company by training personnel in handling technical equipment and improving distribution, as well as by establishing new kiosks. The aim is to create more jobs for young people and women in the country's coastal region. The company's efforts also strengthen Senegal's agricultural value chain.
PROJECT APPROACH AND PROJECT GOALS
A project that has a significant impact on other communities
'We were enthusiastic about the project from the very beginning. Especially the social component and the significant impact on the communities,’ says Oumou Diop, GIZ's Component Manager under the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation. She is also impressed by the establishment of agricultural value chains, which provides a solid foundation for the project by promoting the cultivation of local cereals. By supporting the medium-sized African company, the project focuses on the Special Initiative's approach of strengthening small and medium-sized African enterprises as the driver of employment on the continent and invests in local development.
The project starts by professionalising the teams through vocational training. In July 2020 Mburu's production team, consisting of six young bakery and confectionery apprentices between the ages of 18 and 30, attended a week-long workshop on baking techniques, during which new product lines were also created.
In addition, the Special Initiative supports the company's marketing and communication component to boost brand recognition. Plans call for around 15 kiosks to be set up and for logistics to be further optimised. The goal is to ensure better quality of the marketed products and to expand the business model to other rural communities. The region's young people are also included in these efforts in that jobs are being or have been created in several kiosks along the Petite Côte.
STATUS AND OUTLOOK
A model that can be duplicated in different sectors
So far, 46 people have been trained in production, marketing and company culture. Jobs have been created for an additional nine individuals. To expand the brand's presence between Somone, Ngaparou and Mbour on the Petite Côte, Invest for Jobs has supported the opening of 15 kiosks. On 30 June 2021, the first four kiosks were opened in Ngaparou. For the sales assistants, the working and hygienic conditions have considerably improved.
In addition, the distribution of goods has been optimised through the provision of a motorcycle for transporting goods and a transporter. Adapting the marketing and communication activities helped raise the company's profile, particularly through a website and a social media presence.
'Thanks to the support from our partners, we can also offer our products in Somone, Nguerigne Sérère, Ngaparou, Saly and Mbour. We are also planning to set up a subsidiary in Dakar to meet the very high demand there,' Sakho says. 'Additionally, we are currently undergoing a research and development process to innovate our products and keep improving the quality of our breads and baked goods.'
According to Diop, 'Invest for Jobs will continue to support Mburu in the coming months and will support additional companies from other sectors in the same way.'
Mburu is being supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) within the framework of the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation.