Family Support Scholarships – Parents’ Entrepreneurship for Children’s Education

January 1, 2009

Adzopé, Côte d’Ivoire. Mrs. Augustine Kouadio and Mrs. Sopi Florentine Akissi are two mothers from Adzopé, Côte d’Ivoire, participating in the scholarship program since 2007 and continuing to receive support under WCF ECHOES.

Homemade Juice Lights the Way to Education

Kouadio, the mother of eight children, runs a small business selling homemade juice to students during their class breaks. Before receiving the scholarship, she earned approximately CFA 9,000 (USD 20.63) per month. She was interested in expanding her business as she frequently sold out of juice, but her freezer was too small to support the expansion. 

With the help of the scholarship, she now rents a large freezer that stores twice as much juice.  She is now earning a monthly profit of CFA 20,000 (USD 45.85). “I must tell you that our living condition has changed since we received this money,” she says. “Now at home, I can take care of most expenses without a problem, especially the electricity bill.  This school year, I gave a large sum of money to my husband to take care of our children’s schooling, preventing him from borrowing as he usually does.”

Mother and Children Realize Dreams Through Entrepreneurship

Akissi, the mother of five children, operates a phone services kiosk where she also sells juice.  When first offered the scholarship, she expressed concern about its amount. “I considered it too little for my dreams. I wanted more money, but the focus group leader and field agent counseled me that I should do little by little until I increase my capital, then I’ll be able to expand.” 

She began by adding eggs to her juice business, earning an additional CFA 300 (USD 0.70) per day.  She saved this extra money until she could afford to buy higher quality juices.  In three weeks, she earned CFA 13,000 (USD 29.80) and joined a community savings group where she deposits her profits in order to qualify for a loan.

“I want to start a bigger business selling fresh fish. It is something I tried before, but it requires a much bigger investment.  Soon I will have my loan to buy a freezer to hold the fish,” Akissi explains.

“All this to say that the money I considered too little in the beginning has helped me to realize my dreams.  At home, the changes are visible; I have no problem taking care of the house expenses – same for the schooling of my children, including one who will start university this year.  I was relaxed at the beginning of the school year.”

WCF ECHOES family support scholarships improve children’s access to education by increasing the income generating potential of their parents. Parent-child pairs receive a grant equivalent to three years of the child’s school-related expenses. One third of the scholarship funding is used to pay the current school year’s expenses. The remaining two-thirds are used to further develop a business that generates sufficient income to support the child’s continuing education. This scholarship component was initiated under the CLASSE Program in Côte d’Ivoire and is being expanded by the WCF ECHOES Alliance through Winrock International.  156 scholarships were awarded with over 93% of parents continuing to support their child’s education.