Pay with Coconut
Project Launch: 12-31-19
A community in Lagos State is utilizing $2,993.02 to launch an initiative to help 100 mothers who are members of the Coconut Market Association (CMA) in Tarkwa Bay Island to increase their income with a natural, yet often overlooked resource in their community - coconuts. The project will train the women on basic financial literacy and the many derivatives they can obtain from the coconut. It will then establish a small factory for processing pure coconut oil, which will be sold online and at the local market. Three women will be trained and employed as full time workers at the factory. A reputable marketing and communications agency has also agreed to a 2-year partnership to oversee the marketing of the product as a community empowerment initiative. Besides providing the mothers with financial independence, this project will make it possible for them to consistently pay their children’s school fees, the primary reason expressed by these mothers for why they joined the Association.
Project Update: 8-31-20
In January 2020, the Nigerian Navy evicted low-income residents living on Tarkwa Bay Island from their homes. This unexpected event upended the plans for the Pay for Coconut project, as the women who were to be part of the project lost their homes, were forced to flee, and utlimately settled precariously in neighboring communities. With the original plan for the project no longer tenable, World Connect's partner organization on this project, The Young Bookworms, nonetheless stayed in close contact with the women throughout the evictions and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, it was determined to refocus the grant funds on two activities that the women themselves determined to be priorities. First, the women are starting a microlending group, whereby they can pool funds to offer three month, low-interest loans to each other to support their individual income generating activities. Second, the grant is going to support the construction of a community education resource center, which will be a place to store education materials and resources for the outdoor community school, where the women's children will be learning. The project will also lead to the training of new volunteer teachers in the community, to improve the quality of education being provided.