Stories from our Togolese field partner, IADES

IADES (Institution D’Aide Au Developpement Economique Et Social) is one of our newest Field Partners and based in the capital of Togo, Lomé. They are a not-for-profit association whose objective is to improve the lives of the poor, especially women, by providing them with an opportunity to work their way out of poverty. They provide intensive business training alongside every loan and help our entrepreneurs make the most of the opportunities they are being given.

Since Deki has been working with IADES, many stories of entrepreneurs that have created their own success have landed on our desks. Here are a few of them…

As told by Johanna Osswald
Assistante de Projet with IADES Togo

Abla Afikou — Overcoming difficulties to achieve success

Abla Afikou welcomed us at her little shop in the Logoté neigbourhood in Lomé, Togo. She has a husband who works as a teacher and four children who all attend school. She is now a successful business woman (she sells beans, soy, rice, wood, charcoal, etc) but it has not always been easy.

Abla Afikou

Abla Afikou

Before joining Deki, she worked together with another merchant who provided her with stocks of charcoal; however she suffered a betrayal which left her penniless. She gave the person she was working with a large amount of money to renew her stock of charcoal, but that person disappeared with the money and Abla never got it back.

As she did not have any money left continue, she stayed at home, waiting for new opportunities.  After some time, Abla contacted a Togolese microfinance institution to restart her business activity but the collateral required by the institution was too high. She then heard about Deki from a friend and contracted her first loan of 82 pounds to buy stock.

Her life has greatly changed since she took out her first loan with IADES. She has attended several training sessions which have impacted her life substantially, especially the training on social and health issues. She is now aware of how to live a healthier life. With the income she now earns, she buys healthier and more diverse food for her family. She was very moved when she explained that she was now able to buy fruit juices and other healthy treats for her children, which was not possible before she got the loan.

Abla is very happy about how far she has come since she received her first loan. She now wishes to expand her stock of goods, and sell condiments for sauces (chili, spices, tomato paste, salt, pepper, etc). Abla dreams of having a bigger shop.

Adjo Wonou — From the tontine system to microfinance

Adjo Wonou is 57 years old. She lives in Togo's capital city, Lomé. She recently became a widow and has four children.

Adjo has sold vegetables from the front of her house for 27 years. She has applied and received two loans through Deki. She first borrowed £82 and is now repaying a loan of £137. Thanks to the loans, she was able to buy additional goods which diversified her range of stock and considerably increased her profits.

Adjo Wonou

Adjo Wonou

Before joining Deki, Adjo used the tontine system as a way to save money. Here in Togo, the tontine system consists of an institution collecting daily savings for individuals with no interest rate. Adjo would give 13 pennies away every day and collect 8 pounds at the end of the month.  This wasn’t enough to keep her business afloat, however; she needed a larger cash injection in order to buy goods in bulk and keep her business expanding. This is when she first considered microfinance.

Deki greatly changed Adjo's life, both economically and socially. She attended IADES’ training sessions on economic and social issues. The training taught her many things she did not know about how to stay healthy and prevent diseases. As she explained, following a training session on malaria, she learnt how to use mosquito nets and she was told she should avoid puddles around the house. Both of these precautions have greatly decreased her chances of contracting malaria.

Adjo is very optimistic about her future. She wishes to apply for a third loan to diversify her goods and buy charcoal and wood. She also hopes she will one day earn enough to buy land so she can build her own house, for her and her family.

Adzoui Kotor — Widow becomes a successful shop owner

Adzoui Kotor lives in Lomé, Togo's capital city. When her husband passed away 15 years ago, she was left alone to take care of her two daughters, aged 10 and 15 at that time. Thanks to her resilience, she was able to send them to school and provide them with a good future.

Adzoui Kotor

Adzoui Kotor

Adzoui herself works as a shopkeeper. She started working as a merchant 10 years ago, but the business was small. She kept working towards achieving more. She opened her own shop one and a half years ago. She sells a variety of household items, as well as handbags and African prints. She is planning on opening a similar shop in another part of town.

Adzoui's business grew considerably thanks to Deki's loans. Before taking out a loan with Deki, Adzoui borrowed money from a big Togolese microfinance institution. The repayment procedures were very different. She had to pay money back each day. With Deki, she pays back every two weeks, which is much easier for her. She successfully applied for 2 loans with Deki (£40 and £110) in order to diversify her shop’s stock. She now wishes to take out a new loan of £207 to buy and resell shoes and further styles of African prints. She does not want to stop there and has a great number of ideas to ensure her business’ success. She knows a friend who trades with Chinese merchants. Adzoui herself wants to import goods from China and sell them in her shop. We have no doubt that this will be another successful business venture for her.

Lissa Donyo — Mother of three runs three businesses at once

When you see Lissa, you know she is a strong-willed woman. She shines with positivity when she tells you her story.

Lissa lives in Zanguera, in the suburbs of Togo's capital city, Lomé, with her three children and her husband, who works as a surveyor. Her husband provides for their family, but Lissa wanted to contribute to the family's expenses and thus started her own business. Lissa works hard. Not only does she sell groceries and charcoal, she also works as a hairdresser. She runs all 3 businesses at her home and works over 90 hours per week.

Lissa Donyo

Lissa Donyo

Starting her own business was not an easy thing. In order to set up her salon, she took out a loan with a Togolese microfinance institution. She was unsatisfied with their repayment procedures, which were hard on the beneficiaries. She recently turned to Deki to further develop her business. With the loan of £100 from Deki, she was able to expand her shop’s stock of groceries and charcoal, consequently attracting new customers and increasing profits.