Twice a week, Falodun Riskat made the seven-hour round trip journey to a farm in a neighboring state to buy live poultry. Then, at the crack of dawn each remaining day, she carried four cages full of chickens, cockrells and turkeys through the hot, crowded passages of the Awolono Market in Mushin – a sprawling open bazaar in the streets of Lagos, Nigeria. Repeat this times 20 years, and you’ll get a better sense of what Falodun’s life used to be like.
Then one day Falodun heard about Accion partner Accion Microfinance Bank through a market storm – a coordinated barrage of loan officers going stall to stall to hand out promotional leaflets about their institution’s services. In 2008, her days changed for the better when she received a U.S. $840 loan to expand her business. Falodun was able to acquire more animals and supplies, thus minimizing her time on the road and the resulting losses she experienced from the extreme heat that sometimes killed her chickens in transit.
Today, Falodun is also able to breed a few birds herself. She has given her business the name “Ilunu Livestock Venture.”
With fewer trips to the neighboring state, Falodun has more time to care for her two children, and while she did not go to school herself, she is making sure her children do. Nestled between long rows of cages in the fowl market, Falodun tells us the biggest challenge her business has faced is not having enough capital. Today, that is no longer the case.