South Sudan: Tore Women’s Group profits from grinding mill
04 February 2012

A woman from Tore Women's Group demonstrates the effectiveness of the new mill. Christina Antonia/JRS
"This new grinding mill business is a great signal of hope for us. It is not only a source of money, but also an opportunity for our members to learn about business."
An entrepreneurial women's group based in Yei, South Sudan, has seen profits grow quickly after the recent installation of a JRS-funded grinding mill. The mill is set to improve the livelihoods of 24 women and their families.

"This new grinding mill business is a great signal of hope for us. It is not only a source of money, but also an opportunity for our members to learn about business” said Alice, Leader of Tore Women's Group.

For the last six years, JRS has been providing support and guidance to Tore Women's Group, a self-help group based in Tore, Yei. Most of the women in the group are illiterate and have no education to fall back on. Over the years, the group has been involved in a variety of activities – agriculture, bread-making and soap-making – in a bid to generate some income for their families. However none of these activities has managed to achieve the level of income necessary for the women to develop and support their families fully.

JRS conducted a survey of other women's groups in Yei River County and concluded that a well-managed grinding mill could be a potential solution for the group. The women's group supported the idea and agreed that a more sophisticated business option was required if they were to succeed in improving the lives of their families.

Overcoming construction challenges

A grinding mill is a fairly substantial investment (over $1,500) and so Tore Women's Group and JRS agreed to work in partnership. JRS would purchase the machine, but the group would provide labour and materials to build the structure to house the mill.

The women raised some money from group membership fees to buy timber, cement, iron sheets and 6,000 bricks. They cut costs by laying the bricks themselves and also by transporting 500kg of river sand in buckets. Contractors were then hired to complete the building process. A three-day training programme followed, with classes on business skills, mill operation and machine maintenance, leaving the women excited and enthusiastic about starting the project.

Expectations surpassed

Three months later, all the hard work has paid off. The mill is operating well and can grind a range of products – millet, maize, sorghum and cassava. The women are fully involved in the milling process and have found that their profits have exceeded expectations and are more than double their original projections. The group members have shown a great amount of responsibility and capability in running the business. Books are well kept, repayment of the building debt is underway, spare parts are ordered in advance and customer numbers are steadily growing. The mill is set to become the success story of Tore Women's Group.

JRS started working in Yei, South Sudan, in 2004. Part of its programme involves community development through promotion of income-generating projects amongst women's groups.

Press Contact Information
Katie Allan
+254 20 3874152