Although Lamine is still young, only 32, he is a leader in his community, and has been able to capitalise on his entrepreneurial streak.
Lamine is a participant in SNV’s YAWWA (Youth, Advocacy, Women, Work, and Alliances) project, implemented in partnership with USAID in Niger. YAWWA identifies, assists, and trains, young social entrepreneurs and local innovators, like Lamine, to be change-makers in their communities.
After completing an incubator programme at the Center for Small and Medium Enterprises (CIPMEN) in 2014, Lamine founded his own social start-up, E3D. E3D increases food security in Lamine’s community, improves soil quality, and promotes biodiversity by commercialising organic, plant-based pest control and fertilisers. To date, E3D has created prototypes and begun small-scale production of fertilisers and a mosquito repellant soap made from neem, a locally-available tree whose leaves and pods have insecticidal properties.
E3D creates opportunities throughout its entire supply chain. Through Lamine’s strong ties to his community, E3D has partnered with a women’s cooperative to collect neem pods and leaves. Lamine also trains the cooperative members to produce, sell, and use the neem soap, encouraging the spread of this innovative, plant-based product in his community and beyond.
Now that E3D is ready to increase production of its neem products and market them on a national and even international level, YAWWA has awarded Lamine and E3D a grant to scale up operations. The grant will provide the working capital that E3D needs to launch a national marketing and awareness campaign, and increase its production to meet national consumption.
YAWWA will also provide Lamine with technical and administrative support during the course of the grant to develop his business management and leadership skills.
Lamine is one of many social entrepreneurs that YAWWA is helping to solve problems in their local environments by building their leadership capacity and establishing networks. YAWWA participants have sparked change in governance and empowerment, resilience, and youth employment, in their own communities through their entrepreneurial initiatives.