Microenterprise Update: Banana Chips Business Thrives and Saves Lives

Friday, June 16, 2017
Photo by: Yulius

What began as a focussed Mother and Child Health Programme in Nias has far exceeded our original health goals. The programme expanded organically and now includes a small business training component. 
 
SurfAid’s programmes are designed to be sustainable and make the communities self-reliant. Microenterprises fund the improvement and long-term maintenance of community health posts, and insulate against dependency on SurfAid.
 
It started with a group of passionate community health volunteers in Nias, who opened a  banana chips business last year. Since we first introduced their small business to you back in February, it has taken off. They’ve added new products like purple sweet potato sticks and dried carrot sticks. The snacks are popular in Nias’ biggest market – Gunung Sitoli. Their chips are already supplied to 5 shops, and applications for health and production licenses from the local government have been submitted, promising scalability. 


Photo by: Yulius

The health volunteers are entrepreneurial role models and have inspired their island neighbours both near and far. 
 
A group of volunteers in neighbouring village Ononamolo have recently developed a chicken farm, and sell this valuable source of protein to neighbours. With a small $75 stimulus grant from SurfAid, the group is able to re-invest in their business and buy more chicks, feed, vaccines and vitamins. 


Photo By: Yulius

Sinarikhi village is also making money selling banana chips. A $75 stimulus grant from SurfAid enabled them to increase their production from 4kg to 15kg per month, and they are currently applying for government licenses. 


Photo by :Yulius

Hiliduho, Ononamolo and Sinarikhi villages are just 3 of the 8 community groups SurfAid has  trained and supported in small business development through a joint collaboration between SurfAid, North Sumatra University and the local government. Other microenterprises include eggs; rubber; and crops such as cacao, chili, and corn.
 
With your help, SurfAid provides practical support while simultaneously building the community’s capacity to transform their lives. Small businesses not only increase community wealth, but they cover the operating costs of health posts services directly improving the health of women and children.