TOOLS FOR SELF RELIANCE ARE MAKING A BIG DIFFERENCE TO PEOPLE IN AFRICA
The Rotary Club of Bournemouth North are proud to have supported Tools For Self Reliance for many years and recently presented cheque for £1,000 towards the latest training initiative taking place in Sierra Leone.
Club President John Spurgeon together with Rotarians Charles Cleghorn and Mike O’Shea were given a guided tour of the plant in Netley Marsh where vast numbers of old and often discarded tools are refurbished and given a new lease of life before being packed into bespoke kits and sent out to training projects in Africa. These included everything from rusty saws, other hand tools and even sewing machines which can be cleaned, sharpened and fitted with replacement parts where necessary – nearly all by dedicated volunteers.
Based in Netley Marsh, Hampshire, Tools for Self Reliance was started in 1979 by a handful of dedicated volunteers. Disillusioned by their experiences of development projects in Africa and the failure of overseas development assistance at that time to trickle down to the grassroots, their founders took it upon themselves to work with small-scale community based groups and at the same time lobby major institutional donors and governments to adopt a more “people-centred” approach to development assistance.
In 1980, Tools for Self Reliance was formally registered as a charity with the mandate of working with local organisations in developing countries to relieve poverty amongst the local population. It was envisioned as being a practical way to support trades people in some of the poorest parts of the world. Although raising awareness and campaigning are integral parts of what they do, they specialise in providing the vocational skills and business training rural trades people need to earn a livelihood, and equipping them with the tools they need to get started.
On average, 85% of people who join a training course with Tools for Self Reliance are running a business and have increased their income six months after completion. With the additional income from their own enterprises, trainees can buy more food of a better quality, improve their living conditions, educate their children, and access medical care.
Small and micro enterprises are critical to reducing inequality and improving life chances for people in some of the poorest countries in the world. Vocational training and small scale enterprises are identified in the Sustainable Development Goals as crucial activities for achieving change, and Tools for Self Reliance plays an important part in livelihood development in Africa.
Tools for Self Reliance believe that working in partnership with local organisations in the six countries that are their areas of focus – Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Sierra Leone and Zambia is the best way to identify the local needs and to engage with the community.