My name is Mariam Ousmane Traoré, I live in Lafiabougou, Kayes province. I am married and have a daughter. I have received formal training on agri-processing, and I have worked for different large companies. After my contract ended, I started my own company in 2015, but I was satisfied with some small earnings and to keep it small. I had no desire to grow my business and make use of the opportunities I have.
After I joined the EJOM project, all of that changed: the business training I followed opened my mind to all the opportunities and possibilities I had. I realised I had so much experience and knowledge that I could use to grow my business. This project is a real opportunity for young people to find their way out of unemployment.Before I joined the project, I would not have been able to tell you how much I was earning each month. That is no longer the case. I’m using the business and marketing training I received during the project and I’m implementing my formal experience and knowledge to evolve my business with a clear entrepreneurial vision. Now, I package five products, chili sauce, chilli powder, salted and sweet peanuts as well as monkey bread. I make a weekly delivery to five food stores around city. I’ve created clear labels for my products that help me sell my products in stores. I have a bookkeeping system as recommended that clearly informs me whether I’m making a profit or if I’m losing money on an activity.
Mariam bottles the chilli powder
After bottling, Mariam labels these products
I’ve been able to create four jobs for two women and two men with my business. I make an average of 350 000 FCFA per month. With my income, I’m able to contribute to the household expenses, especially in terms of food and our electricity costs since I use electricity during the packaging process. My income significantly helped my home situation. My husband supports and encourages my business venture and our relationship is stronger now.
About the EJOM project
The EJOM project is made possible by the European Union with co-funding by the Netherlands embassy in Mali, the consortium (ICCO, WASTE, APEJ and SNV) stimulates economic development and stability by creating (self)- employment opportunities in the horticulture, waste management, agri-business and handi-craft sectors in the Koulikoro, Kayes, Gao regions and Bamako. The consortium partners select young people and provide training on life and business skills as well as good horticultural practices. We also develop horticulture value chains and agribusiness SMEs, to grow local employment and business opportunities. Until mid-2021, the project will train 8,620 young people, including 2,586 women and 1,293 returnees and create 6,472 jobs.