With her baby daughter in tow during her maternity leave in June 2016, Fatimata Kane ventured back to her country of birth, Senegal, where she volunteered for 12 months with partner Union Nationale des Femmes Coopératrices du Sénégal (UNFCS) as a fundraising adviser. “I went to Senegal with the objective of sharing with UNFCS tools to enable them to diversify their source of finance (…) rather than me doing fundraising for them, so in the long term they would be autonomous when looking for new funds.”
With this idea in mind and along with UNCFS staff, Fatimata started looking for a different type of partnership focused on local opportunities. “I looked for partnerships with Senegalese organizations with whom UNFCS could exchange skills and technology.” The volunteer approached the Institute of Food Technology (ITA), a local research institution, with which UNFCS signed an agreement to train Senegalese women in the production of bakery products using local cereals. “UNFCS members are mainly specialized in soap production (…), but some work on cereal transformation so they asked me about the possibility of expanding their knowledge in producing baking products with local cereals.” The new partnership will train 35 female members of UNCFS from three different regions who will in turn train other women within their communities.
Fatimata provided UNFCS staff not only with a new sustainable partnership with the ITA and other potential agreements but also with an innovative tool kit and knowledge that will allow the organization to diversify and manage more efficiently their fundraising activities. “I am happy to see concrete results from my work (…), but at the same time I see a big potential that the partner can exploit further.”
“The most rewarding experience as a volunteer has been the opportunity of expanding horizons (…), and more concretely with UNFCS, it has been finding new venues for fundraising through technical partnership with local organizations that did not exist in the past,” Fatimata concluded.