153 people benefited from UNDP Business Opportunities through Support Services (BOSS) in rural Liberia
The Business Opportunities through Support Services (BOSS) Project of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) continues to support rural entrepreneurs, including Ebola survivors and those directly affected by the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) outbreak from 2014 to 2016, in facing the challenging economic situation in Liberia.
One of those entrepreneurs is 43-year-old Ebola survivor Lydia Sanagon, who received start-up capital in December 2018 to expand her business. Lydia is a mother of nine children, six of which are hers, while the others are children of neighbours who died from EVD.
Lydia was pronounced dead at one point. “I was helpless and pronounced dead by the Ebola Response Team. But my husband (a non-medical person) continued to treat me, taking instructions on the phone from my friends who are nurses until I came back to life,” she recalled.
The UNDP BOSS Team contacted Lydia and carried out her profiling. Three months after the assessment and validation, she qualified and received US$ 450.00 as start-up capital to support her used clothes business. With this amount Lydia quickly increased the size of her business, from initially purchasing and selling one or two bags of used clothes, to four bags per purchase cycle. The additional goods expanded the scope of her business. She now takes her clothes for special market-days, including to some border towns, as well as giving some of the clothes to other young people to sell and pay her the money thereafter.
She says this mode of business has allowed her to create jobs for over five persons. More importantly, she says she is able to send all nine children to school.
The BOSS project funds come from the UNDP Ebola Economic Recovery Fund, intended to identify special cases to support. The project blends social and start-up funds with business development support training, coaching and mentoring.
“BOSS project aims at providing socio-economic empowerment of rural enterprises that face multiple constraints through decentralization,” says Marcus Zarway, UNDP-BOSS National Project Manager.
BOSS has supported 24 females (aged 26-62) who are Ebola survivors and care givers, like Lydia. Some 153 people, with 2-11 persons per household, indirectly benefit from the support from UNDP. The UNDP project is implemented in partnership with the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Commerce. It was established to enhance decentralization and support micro, small and medium enterprises policy implementation in Liberia through the establishment of Business Support Service Centres at the sub-national County level. It also strengthens the capacities of youth, women and agri-producing enterprises.
The project is key to the implementation of the small business empowerment act and the micro Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)development in Liberia.