Oxfam in West Africa
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Senegal: The PANALE Shops – Strengthening Women’s Business Initiative

February 16th, 2010 Posted in English, Private Sector

Today was the launch of the PANALE shops in Dakar. PANALE is part of Oxfam’s Private Sector programme in West Africa and aims at supporting women entrepreneurs to realise their vision in producing local high quality value added products.
The project also provides solutions to production and packaging as well as management so that all the products can compete with the same range of foreign imports and be sold to thousands of consumers across Dakar through these shops. This private sector initiative puts women at the centre and revolves around empowering them to become strong entrepreneurs. It will increase their ability to generate sustainable incomes, which in turn will be the basis for the family to escape the vicious cycle of poverty.

The project is implemented by women’s cooperative that Oxfam has helped to set up. The cooperative represents 30 groups of women leaders who are part of the processing networks with 2,500 direct beneficiaries and over 90,000 members.

The PANALE project has brought a solution to the series of barriers that prevented these women from accessing rewarding and secure local markets at fair and equitable conditions. Such barriers include:
– Poor marketing techniques
– Low level of enterprise and finance management
– Little or no access to finances and
– Lack of market presence

“The PANALE project has enabled us to be better organized in doing business and building a strong distribution network so that the products can reach a wider market. We’ll also be able to create more jobs and be strong enough to face competition in the market. Our desire to be women entrepreneurs and setup successful businesses, is more than real” says Fatoumata Diop, President of PANALE cooperative

Aid alone will not solve the problem of poverty. Oxfam is determined to work with others, particularly with the private sector. Job creation is a way to reduce poverty level in West Africa. Many people in Africa have great ideas that do not flourish simply because they do not have access to funds. Enabling these people turn their ideas into concrete development initiatives is what Oxfam’s private sector programme is all about.

Funding received from the Al-Waleed Bin Talal Foundation covered the set up costs of the shops, including construction, packaging and equipment. Oxfam GB has acquired further funding for the set up phase from the OFID Foundation and further funding is being sought to cover the expansion of these Private Sector activities.

See some pictures of the event

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