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Sierra Leone News: Mother Hens Club business training

Ten mothers and caregivers of the Mother Hen Club at Happy Kids and Adolescents have completed a two-day business enterprise empowerment skills training session.
Supported by the United Nations Children’s Agency (UNICEF), the training was held at Happy Kids Freetown office along Fourah Bay Road.
The theme for the training was, “women’s empowerment for development: united we stand,” brought together 10 women involved in various kinds of small businesses.
According to Betty Dawoh, who supervises members of the Mother Hen Club, explained that the objective of the two-day training is to help participants identify and discuss what should be considered when doing a business. She noted that UNICEF decided to lend support to empower the women as one way of contributing to enhance livelihood coping mechanisms. “UNICEF cannot give all the support to the children in our care, therefore giving them knowledge will further help them do business with ease, noting that some of them are already in small-scale businesses. Some women do not have the extra knowledge on enterprise development including record keeping and how to properly manage profit saving scheme”. Dawoh noted that all 10 participants will receive a small revolving loan from the Mother Hen Club of Happy Kids and Adolescents.
During the training, which was carried out by an expert specialist in entrepreneurship decided to effect change through an informal setting, making the session an all inclusive and participatory. Janet Huggins said, business, whether small or large scale is the process of buying and selling to make profit. She added that there is need for people who want to venture into business understand the four ‘P’s of doing business which is the place, product, price and promotion.
On this topic, participants who had no knowledge about the four ‘P’s were surprised and in smiles to have learnt something new that will further enhance their various businesses. She said a place of business should be strategic and unique, and the product should have value, and at the right price. On promotion the participants also discovered that it speed up sales of stock, encourages more customers to make repeat purchase, get credit sales paid on agreed time, and induces, trial purchase, especially for people buying for the first time.
Research was also part of the programme and the need was emphasized as there are many benefits when a research is conducted before starting a business. The various topics in research was done in pictorials in order that participants have a feel and a clear knowledge, why there is need for research in doing business.
Fatu Koroma is a widow and a mother of seven children, some of whom are beneficiaries of UNICEF’s support through Happy Kids, was glad that despite her age and long years of petty trading. She has learned new skills, especially on how to manage profit to repay loans. “This has been my problem for ages as I barely managed to survive from the little profit I make, but now I know that my profit should be split in four parts to enable me grow in my business”.
Melrose Alpha, another beneficiary, said it is better to get the quick pennies than to wait for the slow pounds, meaning she can now venture into a business and sell at a price that will increase her yields faster, than do business that will slow her down and cause her embarrassment, as a result of late loan repayment.
Janet Huggins also taught the 10 mother hens from the western area urban that, despite one should be ambitious in doing business, at the same time tread cautiously in order that they do not venture into a business, and get caught up with the law.
She also warned against using micro loans to finance personal or other social activities, which would have a negative impact on the business.
Similar empowerment trainings will be carried out in Bo, Kenema, Pujehun, Bombali, and the western rural area.
By Ade Campbell
Monday October 30, 2017.

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