Artisans Joining hands together in Yamoussoukro
“Some months ago, my son died. A week after, my second son was was sick and needed urgent surgery. I didn’t have money at all. But as this project had also helped our association to have health insurance, my son was able to have his surgery done, and I only paid a small amount.” says Kambou, a photographer in Yamoussoukro city.
I am in Yamoussoukro, a city where artisanal work dominates the working class, from carpenters to hairstylists, mechanics to photographers, and many more. Some time back, artisans like Kambou used to work individually and separately. But under the funding of the European Union and AVSI, the Chambre Nationale de Métiers started a project whose objective is to bring together different artisans into associations, and apart from providing assistance to getting their health insurance as Kambou says, the project provides training for them, all aiming to enable them to become more autonomous. Out of 249 trades, a total of 300 associations were formed. Through those associations, the project often delivers training about different entrepreneurship concepts, such as marketing, saving, work ethics, …
“Before the project came, we were very scattered, and hardly knew each other. And even for the few who did, we always looked at each other just like competitors, nothing more. This project came and we started the association. Not every ironman joined, but for those who did, we benefited a lot from this. We teach each other, and our relationship went out of work boundaries, we are friends now. When there is a big market, I call my fellow iron-men to come and help,” says Hamed Ibrahim
“I have been in the business as a car mechanic for so many years. But during the training, I learned things that I had never considered to matter, like how to approach the market, relations with my clients…It is also a good space to exchange ideas with my fellow colleagues who do the same kind of business. “
Apart from trainings, the project also has been able to renovate a training centre in Yamoussoukro. This centre, equipped with machinery for ironworks and mechanics, will be used by artisans for professional training, as part of the project, but will also help them to have access to advanced technology machines in case they have individual works that require those.
The photographers’ association has also been funded with a modern printing machine, so to ease the long distances they had to make just to get their prints done, and of course to increase the quality of the photographs. Later in the afternoon, I decided to start my modelling career and decided to get my portraits done here in Yamoussoukro. 😉