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Back in Africa, Part 10 – “Finance and More Finance”

Visit from the Ministry of Youth Affairs

Last week we had the pleasure of being visited by a representative (Demaris) from the Ministry of Youth Affairs. This ministry’s mission is to support initiatives that promote youth development, particularly skills training and employment. Demaris visited our two sites and came away highly impressed by the interactive and participative nature and content of our program. Nancy, Jose, and I are meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth Affairs next week to discuss how we can partner with them to advance this program, and most importantly, to support our students once they graduate. That has been the crucial and the most difficult gap that we have been trying to fill – that is, to provide financial support and mentorship for our graduates.

Introducing and Reintroducing Financial Planning and Management

With Marketing, Part 1 completed, it was now onto Financial Planning and Management, Part 1. My other two facilitators, Boniface and Gary stepped up to the plate to deliver the workshop. They did a good job of covering topics such as supply and demand, income statements, gross profit(loss), net profit(loss), start-up expenses, cash flow statements, and break-even analysis. However, based on the class reaction and feedback, I realized that it was a bit ambitious of us to cover so much material in one session, especially for an audience which has had little/no exposure to business, let alone financial statements. With this in mind, on the weekend I created supplemental materials with clear examples to help reinforce the learning. The following week it was great to see that the class understood the concepts and could work through the examples, and more importantly, apply them to their own business plans. The clear highlight was when I walked into one of the break-out rooms and saw a few students working through a cash flow example for other students. They were teaching each other! I joked with them that they were trying to put me out of my (unpaid) job. I think this moment is an example of what ignites the passion of teachers to continue teaching.

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