Ghana: small change, big difference

From Global development | The Guardian Sun Nov 25 2012, 19:01:21

From a stallholder earning up to £16 profit a day selling fish, to a farmer buying more land, a village finance scheme is giving Ghanaian women the chance to fulfil their ambitions

It's 4am and the pungent smell of fish permeates the air in the Ghanaian village of Dabala, as Patience Diaba, 36, smokes her produce over an open fire. Six hours later, she carts the tilapia fish to market.

She sets up her fish on a wooden table and, perched on an upturned bucket, starts to sell. It's 50 pesewa (15p) for a small fish and GH¢1 (30p) for a larger one. The shouting hawkers, together with the dirt, dust and stifling heat, assault every sense, but Diaba will sit and sell until the sun goes down. On a good day she can make GH¢50 (£16) profit, she says.

Diaba is an entrepreneur out of necessity. There is no social safety net for her, no jobseeker's allowance or benefits. If her family wants to eat, drink and go to school, then she must make money any way she can.

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