Vocational training through social enterprises
In 2012, Mineke Foundation started vocational training courses for unskilled and low-educated women and girls. In addition to vocational training, trainees also received entrepreneurship training. Currently, we are working to transform our vocational training into social enterprises where trainees will learn vocation and entrepreneurial skills through on-the-job training. The reason for this transformation is that donors are reducing or ending their support. Our goal remains to train students in skills that they can use to become economically self-reliant.
Between 2012 and 2020 we offered three vocational training courses: “Soap making”, “Pastry & Catering”, and “Hairdressing”. Our trainers are successful local entrepreneurs, who also serve as role models. At the end of each training day, trainees sell their products on the market. Through this, they practice entrepreneurship from day 1.
During the training, trainees are regularly tested to assess their progress. The results also provide input for the evaluation of the training: the difficulty level, the ability of trainees to understand the training manual, etc. There is an official exam at the end of each course. Students who pass are awarded a certificate. Mineke Foundation is an officially accredited vocational training institute.
In 2019, we piloted a Soap Making workshop to test our idea of launching social enterprises. The first results were positive. In 2020 – forced to shut down by the pandemic – we decided to accelerate the development of the other vocational courses into training workshops.
In 2021 we launched a bakery and a sewing workshop. Besides on-the-job training in each vocation + entrepreneurship training, we offer apprenticeships and local employment. In time, we also expect to continue the soap making workshop. However, we need more time to develop a good business plan.
Our ambition is that the workshops, over the course of 5 – 7 years, will grow into social enterprises that will generate sufficient income to break even. Until such a time, the operational costs will be financed by fundraising.
According to the United Nations, Internet penetration in Liberia is currently 10% and only 5-7% of the population has access to a computer. At the same time, most jobs require applicants to have computer skills.
Computer education offers participants opportunities to improve their skills and position in the labor market. In addition, the use of the Internet brings huge opportunities for adults and young people.
We run a computer training facility at our office in Dabwe Town. We offer training in basic computer skills (digital literacy), such as MS Office and the use of e-mail and internet. Our training also covers online privacy and security. In the future, we hope to work together with surrounding schools to provide digital skills training for teachers and students.
As of 2021, our computer training will become part of our Resource Center. In the coming years, we will focus on increasing our cooperation with surrounding schools. Computer education will thus become a more explicit part of our educational support activities for schoolchildren.
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Behind Hope Garage
Opposite Dry Rice Market
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