Release Date: 07 February 2007
Release ID: 1113
Wincanton employee, Caroline Barber, has recently returned from a voluntary assignment in Ghana with transport charity Transaid. Alongside Transaid's Programme Manager, Ekow Fletcher, she worked with four women's street trading co-operatives to develop a business plan and operating policy for a viable, sustainable transport operation.
Her trip to Ghana marked the first stage of the Transaid project that is designed to provide the group with a profitable fleet of vehicles that the co-operatives own and manage. The fleet will bring considerable economic and social benefits to these women and their families, who have previously had to rely on financially unsustainable modes of transport.
Caroline, who has participated in previous Transaid assignments, works for Wincanton, a long-standing supporter of Transaid. The Chippenham-based supply chain provider manages the storage and transportation needs for many leading blue-chip companies.
During the workshop, the women worked in groups to plan routes, considering factors such as distances involved, volumes, vehicle fill and loading and unloading times. From this session, they produced a schedule based on a sample week and then presented it back to the group for discussion, focusing on how to operate more effectively and get maximum benefit from the assets. Once the co-operatives understood the principles of the various options available, the group was able to able to develop detailed plans that were tailored to suit their needs.
Commenting on the value of the programme, Caroline Barber said: "This project potentially presents enormous social and economic benefits to the women and it will allow them to manage their own commercial vehicles. It was inspiring to work with these extremely motivated women."
Direct benefits from the programme will include access to transport which is specifically designed to meet their needs. This will consequently reduce costs, and give the women more time to focus on their core market business and to spend with their families.
Transaid's mission is to improve people's access to healthcare, other basic services and work opportunities through better transport systems.
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