Lengbeh Flomo knows firsthand how quickly a shock can force a household into extreme poverty. After losing her husband to Ebola in 2014, the mother of five was forced to beg for food from friends and strangers in her home of Holton Farm in the Margibi County of Liberia.
In 2019, Lengbeh joined BRAC’s Ultra-Poor Graduation (UPG) program. At first, the program helped Lengbeh by providing food and money for immediate consumption support.
As she progressed through the twelve month program, Lengbeh also received a financial asset transfer and training and mentoring to help her build a sustainable livelihood.
“I enjoyed the training component of the program,” Lengbeh said. “It helped to build my confidence.”
With the assistance of the program coaches and participation in the Village Savings and Loan Group (VSLG), Lengbeh was able to start a small shop and to diversify her income by investing in charcoal production and palm oil.
Through these incomes, she was able to build a two-bedroom house for her family that is attached to her shop.
“I have become a well-respected person and community members take creditors from me,” Lengbeh said after completing the program.
Lengbeh has started using the lessons she learned from the Graduation program to help other women in her community.
Using public speaking and other skills strengthened through the life skills training component, she has become a mentor for other women in the community. Now, when they have trouble, many women come to Lengbeh for advice and guidance.
Through the Graduation approach, Lengbeh has gained the confidence and skills to pursue dreams beyond subsistence as well.
“My dream is to become the biggest shop owner in this town and I want to be the leader of this town in the near future,” Lengbeh said.
By building Lengbeh’s skills in business management and public engagement, UPG helped her develop a sustainable livelihood to both lift herself from poverty and lift up her community with her.