Community Development Foundation, Nigeria

We have 67 guests online

You are at: Home
A+ R A-

SUCCESS STORY OF CHANGE

The journey to Ijebu-Ode (about 100km from Lagos metropolis via Shagamu expressway) proved to be a smooth one. In no time at all, we were in the ancient city, which has been described as the capital of Ijebu land. While not a conurbation like Lagos, Ijebu-Ode is by all standards, a modern town in its own right. Our mission to the city was to hear the Justice, Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) story of the impact of the Community Development Foundation (CDF) on its micro finance projects. The JDPC is itself a department of the Catholic Church. Misereor, a Catholic agency for development assistance in Germany, funds the JDPC.

The story begins with the Diocesan Agricultural Development Project (DADP) of the Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode, the instrument of the Church to support small-scale farmers in their effort to improve their farming and standard of living. The DADP, managed by the Agricultural Development Committee (ADC) is an agricultural extension empowerment programme supported with a credit scheme for the farmers. It is part of the social development crusade of the Church through the JDPC.

With up to N7,089,630 [DM250,000] rolling in in form of grants from its foreign sponsor between 1993 and 1995, the JDPC projects could not be said to be doing badly. The years rolled by as the DADP, no doubt motivated by the noble nature of its cause, trudged on in its bid to alleviate poverty by its support of the farmers in their own efforts to achieve sustained and profitable agriculture. Soft loans with interest rates of only 18% on a reducing balance (compared with the official bank rates of about 30% obtainable at the time) were given out to farmers, without collateral. Everyone was happy. Happy that is until 1996.

1996 was not a good year for the farmers in the DADP scheme. The harvest that year was poor. All hope was hinged on the promise of a brighter tomorrow - a better harvest in the coming year. It was this hope that fate threatened to dash when grants from Misereor were delayed that year. The planting season had come and there was no money to lend to the farmers. The growth from the sixteen (16) groups the project started out with in 1993 to fifty-nine (59) groups (representing 895 individuals) as at then, had taken its toll on their funds. They needed help and quickly too.

This was the scenario at the DADP when a member of staff (Mr. Francis Ademola) introduced them to CDF. This proved to be the turning point for the JDPC credit schemes.

With its technical expertise gleaned from years of experience, CDF could see the pitfalls in JDPCmodus operandi that the JDPC itself was blind to. Thus, from the point of intervention, CDF influenced what can best be described as a culture change, a reorientation of JDPC outlook and philosophy. Rev. John Ngoyi, Coordinator of the JDPC was willing and open and drove the culture. This impacted the JDPC positively especially in terms of strategy, organization and operations. How?

Strategy

With CDF insistence on a fixed interest of 21% on the loan of N1.5M it was willing to give, the JDPC, hitherto spoon-fed with grants, caught its first glimpse of life as it could be. It opened their eyes to see that any hopes of sustainability, should the grants stop rolling in, laid on adopting a more business-like approach to the scheme. This was what informed the JDP decision to take the loan and fix its interest at 24%.

As is to be expected, this did not go down well with their clients, who were also used to being spoon-fed. The farmers in particular. This was not the solution that they looked forward to, the succor that they sought. Anger, betrayal, feelings of deprivation and abandonment are words that best describe emotions at this time. But, the JDPC stuck to its guns. For the sake of posterity, they could not afford to dither.

What followed this can best be described as a pruning process. Clients who had serious business to conduct and who recognized that the advantages were still all theirs stayed on and the not too serious ones, who only joined the scheme for its free-lunch approach, left. This development changed public perception of the JDPC. It is now seen as a serious organization that is in the business of helping those who are serious about helping themselves.

Thus, CDF succeeded in changing the JDPCfeed the needy (and risk running out of fish) orientation to a each the needy to fish(and ensure continuity) one.

Organization

Prior to CDFs intervention, the JDPC ran micro-credit schemes in each of its departments. With CDF acting in an advisory/ supervisory capacity, the schemes were centralized, giving birth to a credit unit administered by an overseer. The change in structure significantly increased administrative efficiency.

In the light of CDFs vision of building sustainable institutions, they advised JDPC to register as a body so they could become a legal entity and attain independence. This was met with opposition from the Church. They were however able to win the Church over and on the 3rd of July, 1997, JDPC was formerly registered with Corporate Affairs Commission in Abuja.

Operations

Record keeping and reporting systems were also improved, making things easier to run. CDF went the extra mile in giving the JDPC a grant of N270, 000 to help them upgrade their information storage system, which had become encumbered by growth.

In addition to the above, CDF introduced the JDPC to the Community Development & Micro finance Round Table (CDMRT). Their association with this group has broadened their outlook and exposed them to best practices in the industry, culminating in additional sponsorship from UNDP and ASA (microstat program.).

Today, JDPC has 190 groups (consisting of about 1800 individuals) and is still growing. (In spite of its current fixed interest rate of 30%) Its loan portfolio has increased from N2.5M at the point of CDF intervention in 1996 to a whooping N23M as at now. (Dec. 2001).

The effect has trickled down. JDPC has watched the capital base of its clients increase over the years. St. Francis Farmers Group is one of the JDPC groups that benefited from the CDF loan. The group started in 1994 with membership strength of 9. Joining the JDPC scheme in 1995 gave the group unprecedented access to loans. With these loans, they have been able to build up their savings from, about N15,000 in 1995, to N54,000 as at today. The members of the group have watched their businesses and influence in the community grow since then. The growth in their businesses has also provided jobs for the locals as larger farms invariably translate into more hands.

Plans are on ground to have a joint plantation, apart from their individual farms, where maize, with the aid of mechanized implements, will be planted on a large scale. As at now, membership strength has grown to 14 with many more aspiring to join the now more selective group.

Mr. Moses Idowu Adebayo, member of the group and Chairman of the Fisheries Group, says he particularly benefited from the JDPC training on running fisheries, piggeries and snaileries. Mr. Adebayo started out as a wood polish manufacturer, generating an income of about 30,000 per annum. Hard times set in with the petrol scarcity that besieged the country late last century, petrol being a major raw material in the manufacture of local wood polish. Forced to close the business, he counted his losses, reinvested what little he was able to salvage (N15, 000) into the poultry business and joined the St. Francis Group. An enterprising young man, he was filled with ideas but grappled with frustration born of the absence of funds to actualize his dreams.

The JDPC training gave him fresh dreams and with his loan of N10, 000, he set up a fishery, a snailery and a piggery. Today, the story has changed for the better. He has acquired two additional plots of land (he owned two before), he owns a fishery consisting of 4 large ponds with 500 fish, a snailery in which he has 200 snails from the 25 he started with and a piggery which has 53 pigs bred from the 3 pigs he started with. The stream of awards that have followed him from inception attest to his success.

(From 1998 to date, his fish and pigs have won first prize at the annual agricultural show organized by the JDPC). His savings with JDPC has grown from N1000 to N5000 and his projected income for the year is at least a N100,000.

Needless to say, his standard of living /quality of life has greatly improved. So much so that his wife has packed up her tailoring business to join the family business full time. She too is now a member of the group. His popularity has also increased in his community where he is trying his best to give back a little of what hes gained from JDPC. He has trained and helped to set up four (4) people, three (3) in the piggery business and one (1) in the fishery business. Now he can afford to maintain the house he inherited from his mother. He told his story with joy, eagerness and a lot of enthusiasm. His wife was no less excited. At every opportunity, she interjected with confirmation of figures, all smiles, rushing back and forth with photographs to prove her husband's story.

Mrs. Emelda Nwahiri who hales from Amanze, Imo State has lived in Ijebu-ode since 1980. She is a member of God first group, another JDPC client. Mrs. Nwahiri's greatest challenge was lack of funds to put her children (eight (8) of them, one (1) in University, four (4) in Secondary school and three (3) in Primary school) through school. The family business (retail sale of rice and beans) only brought in a meager N2000 per month on the average. She sought for help and when none came from man, she put her faith in God.

Help came in February 2001in form of an invitation given by a church member to join a group she was starting (God first group). Today, just nine months after, Mrs. Nwahiri has repaid a first loan of N7000 and is presently enjoying the benefits of a second loan. She has gone from selling three (3) bags each of rice and beans respectively to seven (7) bags of beans and eight (8) of rice monthly. In spite of poor market conditions, she is still left with a net income of about N3000-N5000 every month. Her savings with JDPC has increased from N230 to N2, 230. Now she is making plans to expand her shop.

Her testimony? Things are better now. Even, people have been making comments in the market. Before, I could not give the ones in primary school money to take go school, now I dey give them N10 go school. The secondary school ones, I dey give them N5 before, now I give them N20 and when the one wey dey University ask of money, we dey fit to answer am. Members of her group in attendance nodded in affirmation as she unfolded her story.

Without schemes like this what would have happened to Mr. Adebayo dreams? Would such tremendous entrepreneurial potential have gone to waste? Would a man destined for great things have died a dreamer? And what about Mrs. Nwahiri's children? Would they have joined the already teeming population of societal miscreants? What about the other Mr. Adebayos and Mrs. Nwahiris of this world? A lot goes into the running of these schemes but ultimately, it is their impact on the lives of people like these that makes it all worthwhile.

Suggestion/request from JDPC-

They suggested that CDF should make an effort to find out why clients don't demand for a repeat loan if it ever happens.

They require technical assistance to determine how much they should ask for as loan.

This is wishing all our MCP Participants Success in their Certification Examination come October 2015.   from all of us @ Community Development Foundation Training School. 1, Kayode Odusola Crescent Along CMD Road, Beside Caleb Nursery and Primary School Ikosi GRA, Lagos..For further enquiries. Please call: Adelaja on 08032150028,08183183554 or Patience on 08060510654.
Mission Statement   ~ "To be an enabling foundation, supporting institutions that facilitate the socio-economic development and self reliance of the poor in a sustainable manner."
Vision Statement    ~ "“To be a leading development organization for sustainable livelihood"
Guest House Accomodation / Training Facilities   Inside the CDF Training Complex are Conference facilities, Internet Facilities, Standby generator, Continental Dishes, Guest Accomodations. For Reservation, please call the Hotel Lines: +234 1 8798001, +234 18152519, +234 18127598, +234 17646270
CDF Nigeria enlisted amongst the Nigeria Network of NGOs    ~ networking for development
CDF Nigeria partners government and private companies on development   
CDF partners LiveWIRE for Young Business Leaders Award   
Community Development Foundation Nigeria Enlisted amongst the West African Management Development Institutes Network (WAMDEVIN) Member Institutions