By Ahmed Sahid Nasralla
In Gorahun, the chiefdom headquarters of Tunkia Chiefdom, Baindu Sannoh has been a petty trader for about 10 years. She started with ‘Osusu’ (group savings) and continually invested in agriculture, growing groundnuts and other cash crops.
After every harvest she would sell some and keep some for the home. With the proceeds from sale she would travel to Kenema town to buy some basic food stuffs that were scarce in her community. She traded in soap, garri, sugar, rice, initially by cups and now by bags.
Then Baindu benefitted from a Small Business Development (SBD) initiative under the LANN+ project implemented by SEND Sierra Leone with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through Welthungerhilfe (WHH). She added that to increase her stock.
She further joined the Village Savings and Loan Association Scheme (VSLA), a component under the LANN+ project.
Baindu has 3 children; two females and a boy (10). From her savings she is able to finance the education of her children and has built two latrines for her apartment, a family home.
Impact of Corona
During the Corona pandemic, Baindu has experienced drastic drop in sales.
“The restrictions, though good to prevent us from contracting the virus, are affecting our businesses,” she said. “There’s no more ‘Darwei’ (periodic markets); we just sell at home to neighbours and the community.”
During this period also, she (and her colleagues) are not making any savings with the VSLA because business activities has been hampered and they are not making profit.
Meanwhile, every morning she would put water in the veronica bucket donated to the community and ensured that anybody who passed by from the farm was encouraged to wash their hands.
Baindu is looking forward to the second loan under the project but everything has stopped because of the Corona pandemic.
The 35 year-old hopes Coronavirus will go away and things will return to normal; get further loan and invest more in her business to make money.