From where I stand: “My life has changed for the better”

Date: Monday, March 19, 2018

A graduate of the UN Women supported ‘Next Level’ business development skills training funded by the Governments of Sweden and Norway, 45-year-old Catherine V. Sackie has improved her business which helps her cater to the needs of her family.

Catherine is one of thousands of beneficiaries of the 'Next Level' Business Development Skills Training Programme. Her story of success is helping inspire her fellow market-women in Ma Juah Market in Monrovia. Photo: UN Women/Winston Daryoue
Catherine is one of thousands of beneficiaries of the 'Next Level' Business Development Skills Training Programme. Her story of success is helping inspire her fellow market-women in Ma Juah Market in Monrovia. Photo: UN Women/Winston Daryoue

“Since 1998 when I started selling used clothes, I have done a lot of different businesses just to survive but none was good enough to take care of the needs of my family and me. I have sold curtains, beddings, and cooked food but I was not understanding what I was really doing. I was just investing my money and not getting anything back.”

“I also used to spend my business money a lot. I would buy things like fashion-slippers, movie discs, and clothes.”

“At some point I got discouraged and abandoned business.”

“In 2017, I participated in the ‘Next Level’ training programme by UN Women and it was during the programme that I learned the basic skills and discipline needed to do business. We were taught how to manage our business, how to invest, accessing credit and saving our money.”

 “Following the training, we were organized into a Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA) were I had three shares. I got LRD 9,000 from my savings in the VSLA and began my new business.”

“Due to my seriousness, I received a loan of USD 1,000 and purchased a tricycle or “Kekeh.” I paid back my loan and bought my second “Kekeh,” and I also registered a micro-finance business where I give other women loan at reduced interest rates. 

Today, I have also established a shop where I sell used clothes, sneakers and slippers. The profit from all my businesses is helping to send my children to school and take care of my family. My life has changed for the better since I participated in the UN Women training and graduated. I have purchased a plot of land where I am currently constructing a five-bed-room one story-building.”

“I know some women who are not respected by their husbands or communities because they do not have any skill to help contribute to the family wellbeing and their communities. I will like to see the training programme extended to more markets so that other women can gain similar skills and knowledge that have empowered me today.”

SDGS

Forty-five-year-old Catherine V. Sackie of Ma Juah Market in Monrovia is a graduate of the UN Women supported ‘Next Level’ business skills development training. Even though she first started business 1998, due to lack of proper knowledge of running a business, she did not realize much from all her previous investments. Today, thanks to a UN Women training, Catherine has used the skills acquired, to improve her business and invest in other income generating ventures. She uses her profit to cater to the needs of her family. In addition to a shop she operates, Catherine also provides loans for other business women at reduced interest rates–an important approach to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 8 that promotes sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, and SDG 5, which aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.