BAFROW envisages the empowerment of a community, especially a women, not only as a "one point in time" action, but as that of a continuous process because experience has shown that the development and empowerment of a community has an impact on health and productivity. In this light, BAFROW has constructed a multi service empowerment complex in Mandinaba with the aim of providing ongoing training and capacity building facilities for not only project beneficiaries, but also for the general public.
The empowerment complex comprises of a spacious training hall, two classrooms for different training groups, a library and resource centre, an office, a sewing room and showroom for the display of finished products. The centre provides training from basic to advanced levels on different issues, for different age groups, sexes and occupational sectors. At present the following topics that interested learners are trained on include:
- Literacy in Mandinka using the REFLECT approach
- Women's reproductive health issues
- Human rights
- Gender and development
- Small scale business management
- Effective advocacy and lobbying
- Training on various life skills such as good communication and basic business skills
- Other skills training, i.e. sewing and embroidery
- Computer training
Each course is usually broken down into a sequential syllabus thereby determining the time frame each course requires.
The centre seeks to improve capacities to a recognizable level not only for educated clients but also for those that have not had the chance of being formally educated in their younger days, and want the chance of becoming experts in a certain field.
This is ensured by integrating all courses into community structures and bringing them down to their level of understanding. The language of instruction remains local to facilitate sessions, and foster understanding and participation among learners. Trainings are conducted through a period of time and at minimal cost that is used to sustain the centre. A graduation ceremony is held for the Trainees at the end of the course, during which they are presented with certificates.
Main objectives of the empowerment centre are:
- To improve capacities of communities, individuals and community based organizations.
- To encourage local expertise and promote the use of local languages as a medium of gaining knowledge to any attainable level.
- To provide technical assistance and information on project developments to country teams to support solutions, implementation, sustainability and replication goals.
- Explore ways and means to address different kinds of problems, technology requirements and skills, and training to apply these technologies among vulnerable groups as part of ongoing programs at country and regional levels.
- Serve as a career guide and skill building centre particularly for young people who want to engage in tertiary education and skill development activities.