Menu ENN Search

Income generation in Guinea Conakry (Special Supplement 3)

By Alexandros Yiannopoulos, ACF Spain (ACF-E)

Since the 1990s, Liberia, Sierra Leone and later on the Ivory Coast, have been embroiled in conflict. This has led to a mass exodus of refugees to neighbouring countries, particularly Guinea, which has received 150,000 people. More recently, the political and security situation has improved. At the end of May 2005, there were 2,111 Sierra Leonais, 4,024 Ivoirians and 63,062 Liberians in refugee camps in Guinea Conakry. Even though the security situation was stable, many of the refugees were still reluctant to leave, preferring to wait and see what happens with the elections planned in October 2005.

Income generation activities (IGAs)

ACF-E carries out food security monitoring, agricultural and environmental programmes and IGAs in Guinea. These activities are adapted to the needs of the refugees and the Guinean populations. The IGAs are a complement to the general food distribution, with a view to reducing dependence on the WFP food ration and increasing selfsufficiency. IGAs are highly flexible and can be implemented with very few resources. They target a wide range of social groups, from elderly to single parent families, and in a refugee context, where space and access to natural resources is limited or even prohibited, they provide one of the few sources of income.

The principal livelihoods of the refugees and the Guinean population are either agricultural based or commercial. The IGAs therefore build on the existing knowledge and experiences of the beneficiaries to assist them to start or improve an activity they would not normally be able to carry out due to the lack of resources. IGAs are small-scale activities that are run by groups of five people. Grouping the beneficiaries helps to reduce risk and improve co-operation in the villages. ACF-E has started four types of IGAs:


Groups to support were selected based on the following criteria:

The IGAs were started through a one off grant. The amount varied according to the start up cost of the activity. The amount of the grant was discussed in advance with the group members and was based on the material needed to start the activity. Table 8 gives an overview of the different types of IGAs implemented with the Bureau of Populations, Refugees and Migration (BPRM) financing between 2004 and 2005. ACF-E provided training and support for the IGAs, which included management methods. However, many of the groups had experience and were able to establish their own systems quickly.

Funds were managed by the treasurer with the co-operation of the group members. Funds were apportioned in three different ways. A weekly contribution of 500 FG (Guinean franc) was put into a central kitty to cover either emergency needs (health) of a member, or as a donation or loan to cover other costs such as education, purchase of clothes or livestock. About one third of the income was used to cover the food needs of the families, while the remainder covered the running costs or expansion of the activity. The proportion of the funds distributed depended on the turnover and profit from the weeks activity and the priorities of the group.

In the well established refugee camps there were large markets both for the refugees and the Guineans. However, the purchase of raw material, goods and manufactured items used in IGAs had to be imported from Kissidougou or other neighbouring markets.

Table 8 Example of IGAs, activities and grant size
Type of activities No of groups No of members Start-up capital (FG*) No of beneficiary families Total grant given (FG*)
Bakery 2 5 270000 10 540000
Forge 1 5 280000 5 280000
Knitting 1 5 221250 5 221250
Pâtisserie 4 5 225625 20 902500
Processing of agricultural produce 1 5 260000 5 902500
Restrants 6 5 270000 30 1620000
Soap making 8 5 260000 40 2080000
Small trade 52 5 280000 260 14560000
Traditional fishing 1 5 100000 5 100000
Total 76     380 205,63,750

*Guinean francs


Visiting the IGAs after the first three months, the teams found all the IGAs running and making a profit. The variation in the profit depended on the initial investment costs and the running costs. Some activities, such as poultry raising and kniting which targeted elderly, provided a small supplementary income, whilst activities such as small trading proved to have a more long term benefit and provide a more regular income. The income was largely used to contribute to basic food needs and reinvested in the activity. A small amount was saved.


A number of strengths and weaknesses of the IGAs were identified:

Producing tools in a forge and milling in Gui, examples of IGAs supported by ACF-E



The IGAs developed during this protracted crisis helped to reduce the dependence of the refugees on the general distribution and improved self-sufficiency. However, there needed to be more support, advice and initial investment in order to promote a longer term approach resulting in sustainable activities.


Apiculture as one of the IGAs

The finished product

Honey has an important role in the customs and the diet of rural Guineans. It is used in the preparation of the meals during the month of Karem (Ramadan) and events such as baptism or marriage. On a daily basis it replaces sugar in the preparation of meals and drinks.

It was noted, however, that the traditional methods to extract honey were very inefficient and had a negative impact on environment and forest. To build the hives special trees were cut down. The hives were treated as disposable so that each time the beekeeper wanted to harvest the honey, he would burn the hive to kill the bees and extract the honey. The quality of the honey was poor since it has a burnt taste and has segments of the dead bees.

So ACF-E tried to improve the traditional method of honey production. In the region of Dabola, South East Guinea, there are a number of associations specialised in bee-keeping based on a Kenyan design. ACF-E joined with these associations to train and construct hives for the bee-keepers in Albadariah.

ACF-E provided proper protection equipment (including a mask, a smoker and gloves), an improved Kenyan hive, a honey filter, training on honey production and how to carry this out in a sustainable fashion without killing the bees.

The beneficiaries learnt how extraction is best done during the day and how to move the bees from one hive to another. At the moment, the groups are producing more honey of a higher quality. Before the ACF-E intervention, average production for a hive was between 3 to 4 litres whilst now it is about 25 litres.

More like this

FEX: Income and employment support (Special Supplement 3)

5.1 Introduction The provision of cash as an emergency response has the potential to impact on all elements of the livelihoods framework by providing the means to protect or...

FEX: Cash-for-work in urban setting in Guinea

By Damien Helleputte and Julien Jacob Damien Helleputte is technical coordinator of the Accion Contra el Hambre mission in Guinea since 2008. Julien Jacob is currently...

FEX: Food, Economic and Social Security in Azerbaijan

By Carmelo Gallardo and Ana Estela González, Action Against Hunger, Madrid. Movement of IDP's and Refugees in the South Caucaus Carmelo Gallardo holds a Spanish Economy...

FEX: Micro-finance as livelihood support in urban Argentina (Special Supplement 3)

By Claudio Freda, Marcela Gonzalez and Marta Valdez, ACF Spain (ACF-E) The December 2001 Argentinean crisis highlighted the serious social and economic problems faced by the...

FEX: Market-led Livelihood Recovery and Enhancement Programme and integrating ENAs

By Andrew Simons, Daniel Gebeyehu, Getachew Gemtesa and Markos Kidane Andrew Simons is the National Programme Director for Food for the Hungry (FH) Ethiopia. He holds an...

FEX: Refugee Influx Can Improve Services for Locals

Summary of published paper There has been debate around the effects of service provision for refugees on host populations. The level / quality of care provided by local...

FEX: Cash supported income generation activities in Southern Sudan

By Emily Sloane and Silke Pietzsch Emily Sloane was a Food Security and Livelihoods Trainee at ACF-USA supporting the evaluation of the project's income generating activities...

FEX: An overview of REST’s implementation of the Productive Safety Net Programme

By The Relief Society of Tigray (REST) Mekelle Team The Relief Society of Tigray (REST) has been in existence in Ethiopia for over 30 years, starting out as a relatively small...

FEX: Impact of Emergency SFP in Guinea-Bissau

A team of researchers recently investigated the effect of an SFP on malnourished children in Guinea-Bissau who were returning to their homes after having been displaced within...

FEX: How to assess and respond to Iraqi refugee needs in Syria

By Lucia Oliveira Lucia Oliveira has been working with ACF Spain since 2005 and is currently Head of Mission in Syria. Her background is International Relations, European...

FEX: Emergency Food Security and Livelihoods Project in Amhara and Oromia regions

By Shekar Anand, Oxfam Shekar is Programme Director for Oxfam GB in Ethiopia. Past experience includes working with OXFAM, CARE, CIDA, and Government in Aceh, India, Zimbabawe...

en-net: What are the range of livelihoods interventions?

What are the range of livelihoods interventions? Are ;cash for work' and 'food for work' major interventions to deal with livelihoods? I am currently developing research issues...

FEX: Improving minimum dietary diversity for children aged 6-23 months when household affordability is a major constraint in northeast Bangladesh.

View this article as a pdf Lisez cet article en français ici By Md Masud Rana, Sheikh Shahed Rahman, Md Al-Amin Shovan, Bazlul Kabir Joarder and Mohammad Raisul...

FEX: Cash grants and cash for work in Sri Lanka (Special Supplement 3)

Sophia Dunn, Oxfam GB Coir mill Following the devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean on 26th December 2005, Oxfam GB scaled up its activities in Sri Lanka and opened an...

FEX: Study of the Risk Factors for the Development of Nutritional Oedema in North Kivu, DRC

By Mark Myatt and Frances Mason Mark Myatt is a consultant epidemiologist and senior research fellow at the Division of Epidemiology, Institute of Opthalmology, University...

FEX: Vulnerability Mapping in Urban Afghanistan

Heloise Troc is a food security officer, working for ACF for over 3 years. Her field experiences include acting as a food security co-ordinator in Liberia and...

FEX: Introduction (Special Supplement 3)

Glossary AAH Action Against Hunger ACF Action Contre la Faim ACF-E ACF-Spain ALDEF Arid Lands Development Focus AREN Association pour la Revitalisation de l'Elevage...

FEX: Issue 24 Editorial

All the field articles in this issue come from either AAH or ACF staff. Two pieces deal with programmes targeted at the severely malnourished. Thierry Muriele writes about the...

FEX: Transforming awareness and training into effective CMAM Performance

By Maureen Gallagher and Armelle Sacher Maureen Gallagher is the Senior Nutrition & Health Advisor ACF USA based in New York. She has worked for the last 10 years in nutrition...

FEX: Aid and Erosion of Humanitarian Principles in Sierra Leone

Guinea - Sierra Leonean refugees in the Gueckeodou region Published paper David Keene's article which is largely based on a review of humanitarian agency documents about...


Reference this page

Alexandros Yiannopoulos (). Income generation in Guinea Conakry (Special Supplement 3). Supplement 3: From food crisis to fair trade, March 2006. p33.



Download to a citation manager

The below files can be imported into your preferred reference management tool, most tools will allow you to manually import the RIS file. Endnote may required a specific filter file to be used.