Even as India and Cambodia continue to record impressive growth rates, poverty remains widespread. Many families depend upon the income from their children’s labour in order to cater to the household basic needs at the cost of the children’s well-being and education. Providing these families with the means to start a small business can make them be able to provide themselves for the wellbeing and education of their children thanks to a more regular and better revenue.
Women and girls play a particularly important role in the fight against poverty as they bear the responsibility of their families and many aspects of society. On many occasions, women we have supported manage to successfully run a business and thereby ensure education and a better future for their children.
The programme aims at encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit and skills-development of vulnerable families. In other words, CAF assists those families, especially women-headed households, to set up a small business that will generate regular sustainable income, thus allowing children to pursue their education.
The programme targets those families possessing or motivated to develop the skills required to run a micro-enterprise. In case a family in need does not fit the profile to run a successful micro-business, the Child Sponsoring programme might be more suited to support directly children’s education.
A) selection of the beneficiaries
Our partners are responsible for the primary screening of the families, taking into consideration their economic and social background and their needs, their entrepreneurial profile (i.e. skills (or capacity to get those skills)/experience in the business) and their motivation. The family will propose the type of business activity they would like to engage in and will need to show commitment towards it.
Priority will be given to discriminated members of a community due to health conditions, social status or cultural beliefs.
B) Personalized guidance in business proposal
CAF’s local partners will counsel the family regarding the choice of micro-business according to their background, skills and experience. They will evaluate the potential sustainability and profitability of the micro-business and they will provide information and guidance on insurance policies and training programmes, if necessary.
Positive consideration will be given to business proposals that are part of a broader collective project (e.g. various women working together on a tailoring business).
C) Sponsoring through local self-help organisations
When a local self-help group or micro-credit organisation exists, and once the families have been selected as part of FMB programme, they will receive money through that organisation (e.g. an organisation of women to manage their loans and savings).
D) How is the money from the sponsor used?
CAF and our local partners do not provide directly the money to the beneficiary family. With few exceptions, the money is either used in the purchase by the local partner of what is necessary to start the business (e.g. purchase of a tuk-tuk for transporting and selling merchandise, or paying a training on electronic equipment repair) or is given to the beneficiary via the relevant self-help organisation (e.g. in the case of grants given through the Udhayam Women Federation in Cuddalore, India).
Local partners provide a regular follow-up of the development of the project, along with advice and guidance to the beneficiary. Since the end objective of the support to the family business is to ensure a better future for the children, the beneficiary family, as part of the monitoring process has to provide information not only on the progress and status of the micro-business but also on the children’s education and well-being. CAF will endeavour to ensure regular communication with the sponsors in this regard.
More information on the FMB programme in this document.