Before becoming a Private Service Provider (PSP), Abraham, now with FRB's Sierra Leone-Koinadugu program, was unemployed and did not have enough money to pay for his school fees. When he went home to visit his family on holiday, he heard of a CRS program training individuals to become experts in Savings and Internal Lending Communities(SILC) methodology. Immediately, Abraham recognized this as a great opportunity and enrolled himself in the training program. Four years later, he is a stand-out among his PSP peers and is recognized as CRS’s most successful PSP to date,as evidenced by his new motorbike.
Abraham did not get to where he is today by luck. It took quite a bit of ingenuity and motivation to achieve such success. When he first became a Private Service Provider, training new communities in the SILC methodology, he required the help of two of his brothers to keep up with all of his new savings groups. When he received payments from his groups, he would give it to his family members to invest in their own savings groups.
Over time, his money and his business multiplied. He then purchased a motorbike (costing approximately $1000) in order to reach even more communities; some are up to ten miles away. In total, Abraham has trained twenty-five groups in the SILC methodology and is continually increasing that number.
Now that he can get around much quicker, he no longer recruits his brothers to help him. Instead, he is paying for all four of his brothers to attend secondary school in a nearby city. He also uses the money to buy food for his family and to make repairs and improvements on their house.
Abraham is kept very busy as he meets with SILC groups almost everyday of the week, but he is continually improving the efficiency his work. He has begun to train the secretaries of each group on how to keep the records of their group’s loaning activities. As he passes on his knowledge and techniques, he can gradually reduce the groups’ reliance on him.
On days when he is not meeting with any groups, Abraham continues to earn income by using his motorbike as a taxi to transport people from his remote village to the market in the closest town.
Unlike most others in his village, Abraham does not farm. Rather, he says, “The only farm I have is SILC. Farming would not provide the same.” He truly has an entrepreneurial spirit.
By Dallas Nord, FRB Volunteer