A pilot project to improve the living conditions of women and young people in the District of Abidjan
Many school dropouts and unemployed young people (men and women) constitute a considerable swathe of village populations in the District of Abidjan. In light of this situation, the District Governor of Abidjan has been requested by District Councillors and members of the Metropolis Women International Network’s Abidjan Antenna to implement several projects to generate wealth and employment for women and young people. One of them is “The Modern Cassava Processing Unit”, a pilot project implemented in the Songon Kassemblé.
The objectives of the project are:
- to improve the living conditions of vulnerable groups (young people and women)
- to alleviate poverty and unemployment in the District of Abidjan
- to fight against food insecurity
The project includes the construction of new infrastructures to modernize the production of attiéké. Attiéké is a side dish made from cassava, an important source of food in West African countries.
Thanks to the new processing unit, the production of attiéké has increased tenfold : 1000 kg attiéké a day can be produced at 15 hours of work. Moreover, this project has fostered economic development and improved social inclusion of women and young people in the village.
Success factors of the project include:
- the introduction of new techniques
- the organization of training sessions for women, technicians and managers
- the on-going evaluation and monitoring of the project
Moreover, stakeholders of the initiative - the District Council, the ANADER (National Agency for Rural Development Support), women from the Autonomous District of Abidjan, and organizations from the private sector - worked hand-in-hand to implement the project.
The overall project costs amount to USD 4 million, entirely financed by the District of Abidjan.
This project was awarded the 'Metropolis Award' in 2014 in the following category: 3rd Prize.
Many school dropouts and unemployed young people (men and women) constitute a considerable swathe of village populations in the District of Abidjan. In light of this situation, District Councillors and members of the Metropolis Women International Network’s Abidjan Antenna requested that the District Governor implement several projects to generate wealth and employment for women and young people in the District of Abidjan, a request that has been brought to fruition.
The overarching goal of the initiative is to improve the living conditions of vulnerable groups (young people and women) in urban and peri-urban populations in 94 villages in the District through the implementation of various projects in the agropastoral sector, trade and the transformation of products and services.
The objectives are two-fold:
a) combating poverty and unemployment with a view to women and young people’s (re)integration into society and the labour force in the agricultural sector and other fields through the creation of stable jobs;
b) combating food insecurity (quality and quantity) by making foodstuffs accessible.
“The Modern Cassava Processing Unit” is a pilot project which organizes the transformation of cassava, an important source of food in West African countries, into attiéké, a side dish made from cassava.
The project is implemented in the Songon Kassemblé (a village in the District of Abidjan).
It has several objectives:
- Building new infrastructures to modernize the production of attiéké.
- Reducing the complexity of the transformation process.
- Respecting and improving hygiene standards.
The modernized production system is composed of five machines:
- The mill with a capacity of 800 kg / h.
- The wiper with a capacity of 250 kg / h.
- The semolina maker ("sémouleur") with a capacity of 250 kg / h.
- The dryer with an expandable capacity of 400 kg / h.
- The four cookers with a capacity of 60 kg / h each.
The processing unit can produce up to 1000 kg attiéké a day at 15 hours of work. Only 100 kg attiéké were produced every day in the former production system : production capacity is tenfold.
Many innovations have been integrated to the new production system:
- Cassava is no longer carried by women on their heads to the production site.
- New processing techniques have been developed, from peeling to finishing the product.
- All participants were trained in new management technologies.
- Women's activities are monitored and evaluated by computer.
- The production is directly sold on the internet from the production unit.
- Search for new markets on the internet.
The new system offers many direct advantages:
- Quantitative and qualitative production of attiéké ; the new system contributes to the fight against food insecurity.
- Improvement of sales conditions.
- Training of women in management practices (the organisation of tranings is made possible since women are now organized in groups).
Main partners of the project include:
- The District Council who initiated the project thanks to the members of the Metropolis Women International Network.
- Public Partner: ANADER (Agence Nationale d’Appui au Développement Rural - National Agency for Rural Development Support) whose expertise was a determinant factor for implementing the project.
- Women in the Autonomous District of Abidjan especially those from the village of Songon kassemblé, where the pilot projects were implemented. They are organized in three groups of ten.
- Private sector: the production of attiéké is now industrial ; it requires the involvement of economic operators for wider distribution.
Total budget: F CFA 2 billion (USD 4 million).
Main funding source: District of Abidjan.
The city of Abidjan estimates that almost 500 women are involved in the project through the creation of direct and indirect employment:
- 30 permanent jobs (peelers, cookers, technicians, factory managers...).
- over 100 indirect jobs created (cassava conveyors, women farmers, vendors...).
The system has positive social effects:
- Increased income for women ; they can send their children to school and give them three meals a day.
- Women can financially support men ; their status as women is improved in society.
- Women have a word in the village community management.
- They can work in synergy between the rural and the urban areas.
- Improvement of health conditions.
- Creation of new direct and indirect jobs ; improved living conditions in the villages.
- Stronger demand for raw material: more activity for farmers.
The project has positive impacts on its environment:
- The settlement of the plant changes the living environment of the village
- Water supply and electrification of the village
- Polluted water from cassava are now discharged in only one well. The living environment is cleaned up, reversing diseases such as malaria due to mosquitoes etc.
- Reprofiling the tracks in the village
- Creation of small businesses all around the plant.
- The large village of the District (Songon Kassemblé) looks more like a city.
“The Modern Cassava Processing Unit” is the first project of that kind implemented in the region. The construction of new factories in the 13 communes of the District is planned, including additional cassava peeling machines and machines for dehydrating attiéké.
Following factors contributed to the success of that project:
- The Governor granted land plots to cultivators (women) with the support of the traditional leaders.
- The construction of the first production unit and its opening April 30, 2013.
- Trainings for technicians to organize the maintainance of machines on the site.
- Trainings for women to teach them how to produce attiéké in the new processing unit.
- Trainings for the manager (a woman) in charge of the factory ; regrouping women in cooperatives and associations makes supervision easier.
- The effective support and know-how of the ANADER (Agence Nationale d’Appui au Développement Rural - National Agency for Rural Development Support)
According to the local government, the initiative is a relevant tool to promote social integration of young people and women. The project could thus be extended to other countries in Africa.
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