Yaajabur’s journey: 4R-NSP supports entrepreneurial resilience

In the heart of Kabonwule village, which is situated in the Kpandai district of the Northern Region of Ghana, resides Gabuja Yaajabur, a formidable and resilient 40-year-old widow and mother of three. Her story is a testament to strength and empowerment, all fostered by her involvement in the 4R-Nturient Stewardship Project’s Rural Commercial Women Group (RCWG).

Designed to amplify women’s economic capabilities and bolster their confidence in decision-making, the RCWG is providing comprehensive training to women like Yaajabur. From different trainings such as financial literacy, to soap making, soybean milk production, negotiation skills and leadership training, the program is equipping these women with diverse skill set.

After four years of widowhood, Yaajabur transformed her aspirations into reality. In 2022, she courageously borrowed money from the RCWG to launch her retail business. Her focus on grains and cereals, such as maize, groundnut, dry cassava, gari and dawadawa (local spices) allowed her to aggregate goods from her community and neighboring areas for resale in district capitals where market values were higher.

Yaajabur with her children. Photo by: Khadijah Tahiru

At Gbenderi Market in Gushegu, Yaajabur diligently trades her goods weekly, reinvesting profits into purchasing sorghum for resale in Dambai Market (Oti Region). This routine  sustains her family and also expands her business reach across various markets in different regions.

Within a mere three months of commencing her enterprise, Yaajabur repaid her initial loan, increasing her eligibility to get new ones. Encouraged by her repayment capacity, she took and repaid three additional loans from the savings groups she was part of, furthering her business ventures.

Belonging to two 4R Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs), Yaajabur diligently saves in both, helping her diversify her business by venturing into yam trading. Recognizing the high demand for yams in southern Ghana, she trades them, making substantial profits by selling in premium markets.

Through a partnership with the African Plant Nutrition Institute (APNI), Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF Canada), Fertilizer

Yaajabur is using her savings from two 4R Village Savings and Loans Associations to diversity her business. Photo by: Khadijah Tahiru

Canada, and Global Affairs Canada, the 4R Solution Project enhances sustainable agricultural production and  empowers women financially. Across 487 groups, comprising a dynamic tapestry of 10,149 members, including 3,032 men and 7,117 women, a journey of empowerment and self-sufficiency is underway. These communities are not merely beneficiaries; they are protagonists in a story of change. The canvas of progress is painted with strokes of empowerment, as VSLA members engage in comprehensive training initiatives. They learn the art of meticulous record-keeping, ensuring transparency and accountability. Financial literacy training becomes the beacon guiding them through economic decisions, while leadership training fosters a cadre of adept leaders capable of steering groups towards prosperity. Moreover, the training on the development of business plans opens avenues for sustainable growth. As these communities embrace knowledge and skills, the VSLA narrative transcends beyond mere numbers – it becomes a saga of empowerment, resilience, and transformative change.

Yaajabur’s savings have grown to surpass CAD 4,554. Building on this success, she made an investment in a plot of land in Kpassa, purchasing it for CAD  683. Presently, she is in the process of

constructing a six-room house with plans to rent it out, aiming to further augment her income. Besides her entrepreneurial feats, she also cultivates maize, soybean, and groundnut fields as a smallholder farmer, employing labour due to the availability of funds at her disposal.

The 4R project has immensely impacted Yaajabur, enriching her agronomic knowledge, granting access to credit, and refining her financial acumen. Her testimony illustrates the transformative influence of collective strength and support in rural communities.

“Because of the 4R training, I’ve learned to leverage group savings and loans for business. As a widow, this support has been crucial. I don’t feel financial pressure in looking after my children,” Yaajabur shared, emphasizing the project’s invaluable guidance.

Looking ahead, Yaajabur aspires to expand her business nationwide, aiming to become a significant distributor of grains and yams while ensuring the well-being of her children. Her journey epitomizes resilience, determination, and the potent impact of community-backed empowerment initiatives.

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