The need to find alternative livelihoods for local Nigerian women has become a recurring theme in recent online/Nigeria meetings.
In particular, concerns have been expressed about the issue of those who collect firewood to sell. This practice is unsustainable and is contributing to de-forestation.
The women themselves recognise this but cannot afford to stop until they have an alternative source of income. Initially the team believed that the purchase of efficient wood stoves would be benificial. But they are very expensive and it was felt that this would not be feasible until a new stream of income is in place.
At present Nigerian supermarkets are stocked with poor quality fruit juicers packed with preservatives. They are sold in small cartons and apparently taste vile, but they remain the only option available to buyers. This is despite the fact that the community has a huge annual surplus of fruits such as mangoes and oranges.
We are looking at getting fruit juicers that can extract and preserve the juicers, so the women who until now have been collecting firewood can sell juice instead.
We are still at the awareness-raising stage for this equipment and the Dadamac Day (Saturday 7th November) is the ideal place to launch the juicer. Guests attending the day will be served refreshments and will be offered a choice of four fruit juices made with the new juicer. The plan is that Alheri will explain at this fifth anniversary celebration how she has made the juice, thus demonstrating and advertising it.
Dadamac Foundation is very pleased to support this initiative and has made a donation of £140 to the Fantsuam Microfinance bank. The purpose of this donation is to fund the purchase of these specialised juicers (which cost N18,000 and stores fresh juice the way wine is stored in vacuum plastics in the UK) Four juicers have so far been purchased and the plan is that local women will see a business opportunity for themselves in supplying juicers for churches, weddings etc.
They can choose to club together to take a Fantuam microfinance bank loan for the purchase of a juicer. Once the loan has been paid back the intention is that it should be loaned out again.As John Dada says: "People will take loan only when they can see the business opportunity in the juicer".