International Microfinance Project in Senegal
- Placement location: St. Louis
- Role: To work alongside the Projects Abroad team assisting local entrepreneurs with their business plans
- Business Sector: Microfinance
- Requirements: None
- Accommodation: Host families
- Length of placement: From 1 week
- Start dates: Flexible
Projects Abroad works closely with street children in Senegal, known locally as Talibés. These young boys are sent by impoverished rural villagers to religious boarding schools where they receive no formal education and are forced to spend much of their time begging for scraps of food and small change. With two care centres already set up in St Louis to help these children with their day to day lives, Projects Abroad now aims to help these children secure a sustainable future for themselves through small scale entrepreneurship.
This Microfinance project will provide the older Talibés with small loans that over time and with guidance they will reimburse. Following complete reimbursement new candidates will then be selected.
Projects Abroad is currently supporting these children through our Care projects, with a variety of programs including education, hygiene, healthcare, and sports. Over time we build up strong relationships with many of the children. This close contact will allow you and our local staff to select the most suitable candidates to be eligible for a small loan.
Microfinance Experience with Projects Abroad in Senegal
You will work as an intern in the Projects Abroad Microfinance office alongside a dedicated local team helping to ensure that the Talibés are given a chance to make a future for themselves. This is an opportunity that has never been presented to these children before and we are proud to be behind this pioneering project.
On a daily basis you will be involved in tasks like reading through business plans, developing marketing strategies, managing loan accounts, monitoring the Talibés who have already received loans, conducting weekly workshops, and providing general guidance and support. If there is an area in which you would like to focus in particular then it is important to let our local staff know.
Through this project you will gain direct experience in the process of developing small businesses in a foreign country. More importantly, you will see how microcredit can help disadvantaged young adolescents find their way out of poverty and become self-supporting, independent adults. You will spend time in a completely new environment, learning about a different culture and way of life. It will be a rewarding as well as a challenging experience.
The Microfinance project runs all year round so you can join at any time. You do not need any prior experience but it is important that you have a strong interest in microfinance and are flexible, communicate well, and willing to learn. It is recommended that you speak at least an intermediate level of French. We also advise that you take an additional Wolof language course, either before or during the project, so that you become familiar with the local Senegalese language widely spoken by the Talibés.
Did you know? Senegal has a large number of Talibes (street children) who often receive no formal schooling. Job and business skills are therefore an important alternative to help Talibes infiltrate into the national economy.
You can join the Microfinance Project in Senegal from one week if you do not have time to join us for four weeks or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for short term volunteering for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain a valuable cultural insight and work intensely within the local community please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone volunteering for a longer period. If you are volunteering for one week only, you should plan to arrive over the weekend and depart the following weekend. This will help ensure that you get the most out of your week at the Microfinance Project.