The generation of young nomads heading into adult life with no education, skills or opportunity pose a distinct threat to the stability of the region. The only skill they possess other than herding is their knowledge of the desert. If they have no way of earning a living at home they may be tempted by a life of banditry, drug smuggling or terrorism. The Nomad Foundation’s microcredit program offers loans of $200 each to 4 members of a community and another $200 to a mentor and manager who selects candidates, distributes the loans, advises and collects repayments. After 6 months the repayments are offered to new candidates. Our pilot program proved successful, all loans were repaid and we are now seeing that young men, anchored to their communities by these loans, are choosing to stay home rather than leaving to seek opportunities in dangerous areas and occupations.
The Tamesna festival is a way to attract a large number of youth groups to come and figure out what will make it possible for them to stay home and work in their own country Last year we distributed $6,000 in microcredit to three communities and a total of 27 candidates plus three managers. The credit was to be repaid in six months, by August 11. When we saw that this pilot program was a success, Rotary club stepped up to increase the amount this year to $10,000. So many youth organizations showed up that we decided to increase the number of communities. Instead of giving $2000 per community we gave each $1000 and were able to credit 10 communities and 40 candidates with the balance going to mentoring and follow up.