Young people in Senegal, West Africa, are ready to build their businesses and forge their own futures, and two professors from PBA’s international development program helped them develop the skills to do it.
Dr. Robert Lloyd, dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Craig Hanson, director of the international development program, taught in the Africa Samakag Institute’s entrepreneurial and employment training for 70 people in Ngaparou, Senegal, in September. They were on a six-person team that included Americans and Senegalese people.
Lloyd is an expert on Africa, and both professors are experts in international development. Hanson is also a fluent French speaker, and French is the official language of Senegal, due to more than a century of French colonization. Hanson translated for Lloyd.
Dr. Craig Hanson helped teach a training on entrepreneurship and employment in Senegal. He is a French speaker, which allowed him to communicate without a translator and to translate for Dr. Robert Lloyd. For the next 25 years, the world’s population growth will be in Africa, Lloyd said. Senegal is one of the youngest countries on earth, with the average age about 18.5 years old. People are having more children, and those children are living longer due to improvements in medicine, he said.
“They [the Senegalese] have an opportunity to invest in that generation and use that energy and drive to grow the country economically,” Lloyd said.
The youth are diligently working to make their lives better, Hanson said. Some of the people who attended the training crossed two international borders to get there.
“People were traveling long, long distances to be part of this,” Hanson said. “It’s a pleasure working with them. They’re very forward-looking.”
In the training, the six-person teaching team tried to “focus on entrepreneurial activities that add value,” rather than the sale of unrefined resources, Hanson said. Participants were interested in farming, running a grocery store for tourists, graphic design, freelance computer science work and film.
Senegalese participants engage in small group discussions during a workshop on entrepreneurship and employment. In his teaching, Hanson used a case study from his forthcoming book. Participants debated what they would do if a family member asked them for money for a wedding. Then they considered what they would do if the family member asked for money to pay for medical expenses, knowing that to do so would bankrupt their small business. They had a lively discussion in small groups and as one big group before deciding they’d borrow the money.
“The workshop showed the complexity of the issues facing the Senegalese as they go into the business world” and how to navigate business, political and cultural challenges moving forward, Hanson said.
Senegalese workshop participants and their teachers pose for a photo after the Africa Samakag Institute training in Ngaparou. “A lot of the Senegalese got front and center,” Lloyd said. “There was good participation by all.”
The training covered topics such as budgeting, breaking even, corporate finance, inventory control, employee management, human resources, planning and strategy, public relations and marketing, recognizing gifts and skills and ethics, Lloyd said.
Lloyd and Hanson accepted Mission to the World’s invitation to participate. Mission to the World is the international missions agency of the Presbyterian Church in America, which also does non-sectarian development projects. PBA’s international development program has a longstanding relationship with Mission to the World, with international development students completing their fieldwork at projects the agency runs, Hanson said.
While in Senegal, Lloyd and Hanson visited Gorée Island, where colonizers held slaves captive before transporting and selling them in the West. They also went to Dakar, Senegal’s capital.
Photo 1: Senegalese participants do an activity during a workshop on entrepreneurship and employment. Drs. Robert Lloyd and Craig Hanson helped lead the workshop.
Photo 2: Dr. Craig Hanson leads part of a workshop on entrepreneurship and employment in Senegal. He is a French speaker, which allowed him to communicate without a translator and to translate for Lloyd.
Photo 3: Senegalese participants engage in small group discussions during a workshop on entrepreneurship and employment.
Photo 4: Senegalese workshop participants and their teachers pose for a photo after the Africa Samakag Institute training in Ngaparou.