Showing posts from March, 2008

Micro Credit

I've been working for the last few weeks, and will be for the coming months, for a little organisation called 'Anti Poverty Initiative' (API) which provides micro credit for woman in Dakar. It was started by an American ex Methodist missionary who has been living in Dakar for many years. They needed help with setting up a new computer accounting system and various other tasks and so I am getting some good experience in the field of micro credit.

Micro credit is simply loaning small amounts of money to people with no security, effectively filling the gap below which normal banks and financial institutions operate. It came to major prominence recently when Muhammad Yunus, who funded the Grameen Bank in Bangadish, was awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. The loan money enables women, who are more trustworthy with repayment and usually provide benefits for the whole family, to start and run small businesses.

API has a model which sets up groups of 25 women together and gives the…

OIC in Town

During the past week the city of Dakar has been hosting a meeting of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC). This has resulted in many cancellations, reorganisation of traffic, and general disruption to the city, as the leaders of 56 nations all arrived for the gathering. It turns out that many of the major infrastructure projects around Dakar were begun in expectation of this event, but unfortunately only a handful of them seem to have been completed. On the positive side the western coastal road was finished in the nick of time, on the negative side two large hotels are still only shells under construction. To cover the resulting shortage of accommodation a huge Italian cruise ship appeared at the port, appearing to outdo all the shore based hotels.

I heard via some friends here that the main two topics discussed at the meeting were first the lack of progress with the implementation of an investment fund for transfer of wealth from northern middle east members to southern …

Local Wildlife

The beaches of Senegal stretch to the south of Dakar and vary from highly developed tourist resorts to small little fishing villages. We have been spending the last few weekends exploring a few of them and the surrounding countryside. The heat of the sun in the middle of the day is so great that for me the only too options are hiding in the shade or complete immersion in the sea.

A nearby park known as Bandia Reserve provided some great photo opportunities with many large animals including rhino, giraffe, and antelope. Most of them are actually from South Africa, and the park is so small it could be called a very large zoo, but certainly well worth a visit if wanting to see such large beasts up close and in the open. We even managed to do it very cheaply by meeting some other helpful French woman who were able to include us in their hired car for the morning.

While out and about we have also met a host of great people, including fellow Dakar residents and travellers on an overland trip …