A new beginning for the women of Tiola: How ACCEL Africa is breaking the cycle of child labor.

Article | 26 May 2023
In Tiola, a small village located a few kilometres from Niena in the Sikasso region of Mali several women benefited from a programme that supported the livelihoods of cotton-producing communities and gold miners as part of the fight against child labour .

The program implemented by ILO partners through ACCEL Africa consists of financing income-generating activities for the benefit of women with children who were previously subjected to forced labour.

Awa Diallo

Awa Diallo, 40 years old, housewife and mother of four children (1 boy and 3 girls), is a beneficiary of the ACCEL Africa project. Previously a farmer, she is currently a trader. “I made a living from agriculture; I grew millet and peanuts with my children to meet our needs. The children didn’t go to school,” she confides, sitting under the shade of a mango tree.

Thanks to the project, the children of Awa abandoned agriculture to devote themselves to school. “The people from the project came to see us to find solutions to the education of children and their withdrawal into child labour. We have been selected to benefit from financial support. In return, the children had the opportunity to go to school. It was a good thing for us given that children’s futures are being prepared at school. »

The project's intervention also consisted of raising awareness among communities on the negative effects of child labour through VIAMO, which contributed to the training of farmers and field agents on the issues of child labor, through a digital learning platform accessible from simple mobile phones.

In addition to this aspect, there was a professional training component. A group of women from the village of Tiola were trained in soap production. The group received the equipment to produce local soap which is sold at a very affordable price for the benefit of the community.

Ami Coulibaly

Ami Coulibaly, 35, mother of four children (3 boys and 1 girl), is also one of the women beneficiaries of the Program to support the livelihoods of producing communities. All of his children were sent to school following the project’s intervention. She proudly says that “the project was of very useful assistance to us. In addition to the training, we received and the schooling of our children, the project allowed us to set up a tontine where we contribute every month. The funds raised allow members to take out loans to undertake activities. I was chosen as cashier, and I am responsible for managing the funds. Once the loan is taken out, it is repaid after 3 months. These loans allow members to diversify their activities or strengthen them”.
“Before, children did not go to school, which is no longer the case today. As part of the project, in addition to soap making, we also produce improved porridge for children based on our locally produced cereals. The soap factory has had a certain impact on general hygiene; at school, teachers require children to wash before taking part in lessons. Tontine loans allow women to be increasingly independent by diversifying their activities."

Tata Sanogo, the president of the women's group of the village of Tiola
The local NGO Conseils et support pour l’enseignement à la base (CAEB) put these trained farmers in contact with the financial service provider - The Network of Micro-institutions for Income Growth (RMCR), identified by the project. RMCR is a social microfinance institution that is a member of the Vision Fund network. RMCR presented its services to all ACCEL Africa beneficiaries, members of VSLA, and assessed their loan requests in a grouped manner, which enabled it to grant 277 individual loans to women from 13 VSLAs.

Awa Diallo received a loan of 150,000 CFA francs from the tontine. This sum, which she considers very important, has enabled her to strengthen her activities. “With this money, I rented a tractor to plow my field and I also paid for agricultural inputs. With the rest of the money, I paid for livestock and small things for my business. A few days ago, I repaid the loan and today my business is doing well.”