Maryknoll Lay Missioner and Head of Economic Empowerment, Michael Leen, along with EBLI staff accountant and business instructor, Lucy Metha, conducted field visits to the businesses of eleven (11) young mothers over the course of two days 15 – 16 March 2017 from 9 AM – 5 PM both days. The objective of this field visit was to carry out monitoring and evaluation of economic empowerment activities, and specifically (1) to see the state of young mothers’ businesses, (2) provide coaching to help young mothers generate increased profit, and (3) understand the current life condition of young mothers in business. Young mothers who are economically empowered are independently able to meet their basic needs and avoid instances of gender-based violence (GBV).
At each place of business, the young mother completed a questionnaire regarding the health of her business and personal socioeconomic condition. When possible, customers were also interviewed. Through discussion and analysis, the field facilitators co-created in partnership with each young mother a specific action plan the young mother would follow to improve her business and generate increased profit. One copy of these commitments was left with the young mother and the other remained with the EBLI field facilitators so that all were totally clear on the agreed course of action.
- If the young mother is serving customers, it is difficult to candidly discuss the state of her business, but this is not a bad thing since it means the young mother is generating income.
- Six (6) young mothers were planned for 16th May 2017, but the field facilitators were unable to locate one of the young mothers’ businesses given her mobile phone was switched off.
- Business visits are a critical component of the economic empowerment program, and compliment the business skills training by providing in-person, on-site, tangible coaching.
- Young mothers in business must in particular focus on the following:
- Keeping consistent and accurate records of all business income and expenditures
- Opening a financial services account (formal bank account, mobile bank account)
- Income and livelihood diversification (not being reliant on one source of income)
- Being self-driven and dedicated to finding creative solutions to business challenges
EBLI will continue to visit young mothers in business, aiming to visit on average ten (10) young mothers in business each month or a total of 120 business visits by the end of 2017. At least two months should be inserted between repeat business visits to give the young mother ample time to implement the agreed upon business improvement action plan. It is expected that the next round of business visits will occur over the course of two or more days in April 2017.
On 16th May 2017, the two field facilitators visited five (5) young mothers in business: three (3) are self-employed, one (1) is employed, and one (1) is both self-employed and employed. Combined, they have an average monthly income of TZS 161,000 (USD 73).