Maureen Mollel, (23) lives in Dar es Salaam. She is a student currently pursuing Bachelor of Science in General Science at the Open University of Tanzania. She is PANDA alumni, 2018 cohort.
Before she joined PANDA programme, Maureen tried unsuccessfully to engage in business activities such as network marketing for some big companies, selling Ubuyu (sweetened baobab fruits) and other small businesses. Some of the challenges which contributed to derail her previous efforts were attributed by poor supervision and management, poor branding and lack of marketing skills,
Despite the foresaid setbacks Maureen never gave up. She continued to look for the way forward to attain success she needed in her business endeavors. In the midst of her efforts to change Maaureen got an interests of doing something in agriculture.
One day she saw a PANDA poster and learn about the opportunities to learn business skills for small women entrepreneurs. Luckily, PANDA programme was also offering capacity building in undertaking agriculture related business activities. She immediately applied and got selected to attend the training Programme under agriculture section. In this, she was exposed on techniques to successfully engage in agricultural value chains. This included processing fruits, vegetables and other products or engaging in modern farming and animal keeping.
She was also introduced to other supportive skills in marketing, branding, book keeping, saving and supervisory. All these topics were covered in both theories and practices.
Following the opportunity to learn key business skills, Maureen has learnt some life changing aspects especially on significance of having a positive perception and behavior in doing business. On this she accounts “PANDA program completely helped me to know that you can start small wherever you are by saving a little money you get for growing your own business. Agriculture category training contributed to give me the spirit of never giving up even in hard times” She says.
Additionally, the most significant change which can be attributed to PANDA programme is improved Maureen’s confidence in fulfilling her dreams. With the gained skills in saving she started saving little money which has been of help in expanding her business.
She said that “due to PANDA program, I have completely changed my life styles and improved my perseverance which has also been key in inspiring my friends to act the same way I do’’.
Her efforts have become inspirational such that on April 2020 Maureen was invited by Her initiative to talk to PANDA beneficiaries about the effects of COVID 19 to small entrepreneurs.
Following PANDA supported training Maureen has become an inspiring figure to many young women entrepreneurs.