Isn’t it interesting, that those in the developed world can owe thousands of dollars, accumulating massive debt, when women in Uganda or Malawi have no debt at all, — and yet they have less of an opportunity to be entrepreneurial?!
The difference is, most grown women in Uganda and Malawi are not bankable. Too poor to apply for loans, and culturally dependent on their husbands, they are unable to move forward. With the proper resources, training and mentorship, they learn, grow and thrive – doing so alongside other women like themselves.
Even though the concept of micro-finance or ‘microcredit’ may not be new to you, it really isn’t as simple as giving money with the intent that it will go towards building a business (just like you hope that when you give money to that homeless person that they will use it towards something that will benefit rather than worsen their already unfortunate circumstances.)
It is a systematic process. Since 2008, we have been building a robust microcredit program. The initial capital of $20,000 USD was provided by Rotarian partnerships and provided income- generating support to 200 women. By the end of 2013, we have provided over 1000 women with funds for income generating activities with a 100% repayment rate. This perfect repayment history is a result of our Ssenga and Koija System (mentors) that are cultivated by the community at large – but also the skill of our in-country employees who carefully select villages and individuals through a nomination process and a standardized system. We also offer bookkeeping, business management and the importance of joint-liability loans (caring for a community), — which ties into a requirement for becoming an SSF Ssenga and Koija and the program training involved.