When Jarso Tokpah’s husband left in search of a job in another county two years ago, she turned to day labor and a small backyard garden to keep food on the table for her three children.
Work was inconsistent and depended on her neighbors’ day-to-day needs, and her vegetable was too small to grow more than leafy vegetables.
In 2019, Jarso joined the BRAC Ultra-Poor Graduation (UPG) program in Hortown Town in the Margibi County of Liberia.
Through this program, Jarso received training and mentorship as well as an asset transfer of three sheep, fresh fish, and chicken to start her own enterprise.
Using these assets, Jarso started rearing sheep and selling cooked fish. After two years, she now has five sheep after selling one, and the fish business has increased greatly.
Using the profit from these enterprises, Jarso bought a pair of piglets from another UPG participant and now has nine pigs along with a vegetable garden.
“Now my children are very healthy and happy because they eat well and are in school,” Jarso said.
Two of her children are in the sixth grade while the other is in the third grade.
In addition to her livestock rearing and fish selling, Jarso also participated in the Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA).
With the money that she saved through this group, Jarso was able to purchase a used motorbike and employ a rider. With this investment, she makes an addition LR$2,000.00 (US$10.00) daily.
Jarso credits the consumption stipend provided through UPG as being a major asset in building her successful businesses.
In the past, she said, lacking a reliable income made it difficult to meet basic needs, much less expand her business.
Additionally, she says the training and coaching helped her develop necessary skills to run a successful business.
This coaching and mentoring provided insight on keeping business finances separate from personal daily expenditures and helped her remain focused on her goals of expanding and developing her businesses.
In the future, Jarso plans to continue rearing livestock and to use that income to help her children graduate secondary education.