Wednesday, July 27, 2011

“I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

So said Humphrey Bogart to Claude Rains at the end of the movie Casablanca. And that’s how Judy and I felt at the end of yesterday’s Skype conversation with the Songhai Center.

Based in Benin, the Songhai Center is a best in class agricultural training center dedicated to the development of “agricultural entrepreneurs.” The Center admits talented young men and women, provides 18 months of training in agricultural best practices and gives them a helping

hand in starting up their own businesses. When we visited the center last February, it seemed like a perfect fit with our objectives to promote economic development and educational opportunity in Africa, especially for women.

We are in discussion with the Songhai Center to create a $100,000 pool of funds to help women graduates start up their own agricultural ventures. Eliminate Poverty Now will provide the funds. The Songhai Center will screen business proposals submitted by the women, select those with the greatest promise, and handle program administration. Awards will be in the form of low interest loans to be repaid over the course of 1-3 years depending on the business plan. As such, the $100,000 becomes a revolving fund that will benefit a generation of enterprising African women.

Details will be finalized over the next several weeks and we hope to formally announce the program this fall. We are truly excited by the possibilities and delighted to partner with such an outstanding organization.

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