Programme Design

Developing Sustainable Training Markets in Sierra Leone, ARC & Making Cents, 2003

    When ten years of civil war left Sierra Leone's formal sector decimated, most Sierra Leoneans turned to microenteprise and the informal sector to earn income. However, forced migration, a poor educational system, a prevalent relief mentality, and the lack of basic business knowledge resulted in weak microenterprise performance and low incomes. ARC's research indicated that the potential demand for business training was large, but supply was weak and programs had low outreach and were driven by donors, not by client demand.

    ARC and Making Cents proposed to train local service providers to offer appropriate, fee-based business training services. Although the project, DevTrain, would initially subsidize the cost of training providers, ARC and Making Cents would gradually take on a facilitative role and continue monitoring the quality and impact of services.

    Against the backdrop of a post-conflict country, DevTrain will test successful BDS development strategies used in other West African countries as well as the feasibility and impact of offering cost-recovery business training services to vulnerable populations in a post-conflict/ relief environment. Sierra Leone's large and unserved microenteprise sector will allow DevTrain to measure the impact of business skills training as a cost-effective means to increase awareness of, and stimulate demand for, BDS services. Through careful monitoring of results in three regions of the country, each affected to a different degree by the conflict, Sierra Leone will provide a fertile proving ground for "BDS on the margins."

    DevTrain is designed to create impact on three levels - client, provider, and market.