Green cities
Awa Dembele is a 27-year-old entrepreneur and environmental management engineer. Her ambition is to give new life to waste by contributing to making the agricultural soil in Mali more fertile.
Awa Dembele

Awa Dembele grew up in a farming family and passed her baccalaureate in 2011. She wanted to study agricultural engineering but because there weren't any places available for the competitive examination she decided to study life and environmental science.

In 2018, Awa started working in one of the largest organic input production companies in Mali, "Green Elephant". This experience allowed her to develop new skills and solid knowledge in the agricultural field. The following year, Awa discovered the FACEJ project and seized this opportunity to create her business. FACEJ enabled her to move from the idea stage of her project to its realisation.

She started her own company "DameGreen", which focuses on the revitalisation of agricultural soil. The main objective is to recycle final waste (rubbish, household waste, etc.) which has no economic value beforehand. These are transformed into organic fertiliser and used to feed agricultural soils, thus contributing to their fertilisation without burning the roots and without risking contamination.

After receiving her bank loan from the National Bank of Mali (BNDA), Awa quickly started producing and marketing her products. She also received tailored support from her CASA (Conflict Affected States in Africa initiative) facilitator, who continues to support her even after the loan was reimbursed.

"FACEJ helped me to move from the dream stage to making the business a reality. I was then able to develop it and make prototypes. I really benefited from the FACEJ project because, when you are an entrepreneur, you may have lots of ideas, you may know your market, you may know your prototype technically and economically, but if you don't have the funds, you won't get anywhere."
Awa Dembele

Awa deliberately chose the BNDA bank because it works with many farmers. It wants to organise "green training" throughout the bank in order to demonstrate the use and added value of its products to larger clients.

For Awa, "as long as you are a good payer, there will be no problem with the bank, and it is an obligation for an entrepreneur to respect his or her commitments. Especially in Mali, where the economic environment is not very favourable to entrepreneurship and where there is very little trust. When you are young, banks are reluctant to give you loans, which is why it is important to respect your commitments when you have been given opportunities such as through the FACEJ project."