A businessman as development worker

img_1888“Blessed is the day we met for the first time!” One would not expect that these words are spoken at the end of a seminar on finance. This participant is impressed with the program and he is sure it is going to help his company to the next stage. “Supporting the middle class is an effective way to fight poverty” is the vision of our American partner organization of Christian businessmen. I coordinate their program in Senegal. Have I become a businessman? With suit and tie it may seem so, but no …

When I came across this program four years ago it completely changed my perspective on development work. From the creation story we see that work is a principle established by God, a human thrives when using his talents. A fair and sound management follows the principles of creation, and is successful. With our training, we strengthen medium sized businesses, which, in turn, provide income to many employees and their families. The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive and the program has now grown to a real leadership training centre.

group-photo-finance-1Trust is a precious (and rare) property in this culture. It is therefore surprising when a business owner projects his monthly financial report on the wall so that our trainers can provide him with advice. A pharmacist asks whether his partnership with the health insurance is profitable, since they often pay far too late. After some complicated math he is reassured, it’s definitely worth it, and he has new motivation to build this relationship. Another participant, owner of a private school, is confronted with the limits of his loyal personnel policy. All teachers may send their children to school for free, but with the large families the classes are now full much too soon. With our trainers, he will calculate the real costs and they make a plan to get out of this situation.


What are the strengths of the training? The participants all agreed: it is practical and useful, and worldview and ethics are an integral part of the program. Faith is considered by all to be an integral part of doing business!

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Familie Kieviet in Senegal