IRC Helps Sudanese Fishermen Start their own Businesses
As part of a program to alleviate poverty in Sudan, the IRC is helping impoverished fishermen start their own businesses by providing funds, training and marketing assistance. So far, almost one hundred budding entrepreneurs have received help.
Adam Mohammed Eissa, a fisherman who lives in the fishing town of Dungunab by the Red Sea used the funds to start a clam fishing business. “My daily income has doubled,” Eissa says.
Eissa also sells the clam shells in the nearby city of Port Sudan, where they are used in ceramics and jewelry. Until recently the clams he caught were brought to the city by middlemen, who kept most of the profits. Now the IRC-led program is offering training to Adam and his fellow fishermen in small business management, basic marketing and bookkeeping. They have also used money provided by the program to set up a revolving fund which helps support the fishermen’s clamming business. The fishermen also use money from the fund to pay for marketing and transportation, which cuts out the middlemen.
“Now I am able to pay for my basic needs,” Eissa says. “I repaid all my debts and my children now sleep in a proper bed. I have grains at home that will last my family two months.”
“At first I was skeptical,” admits the IRC’s Anthony Njue, who coordinates the program in Sudan’s Red Sea State. “I didn’t see how a community without much prior business experience would be able to manage a revolving fund. But after some training, the results of this project have been amazing.”
The project is part of the Recovery and Rehabilitation Program, launched to help local communities rebuild following the 2005 peace agreement that ended the long-running north-south Sudanese civil war. The IRC and its partner agencies are assisting Sudanese in 33 villages in Red Sea State. Nearly 1,000 people have benefited so far.