Sustainability | Security | Prosperity
WELL-BEING THROUGH EMPOWERMENT
Women’s Entrepreneurship Program
In 2013, a women’s micro-loan program was started with 200 women in the community of Hondjin. This innovative program was designed by the community organization ADESCH. Here’s how the program works: each woman in the program is given a small loan to do with as she sees fit for a six-month period. At the end of the six months, the women pay back their loans along with 10% interest. The women are given their individual loans all on the same day and pay back their loans together as well. The interest gained from the loans is put back into the program so that more women may participate. As of October 2019, there are 550 women in the program.
The majority of women use the loans for buying and selling goods in their communities and in local markets. For example, some women identify a need for a product in their community, go to the large local market to make purchases, and then resell the products in their communities. Or they do the opposite, and take goods, such as farm produce, from their communities to sell in the large markets. In some communities, women pool their loan money to increase buying potential, and then divide up the profit. Some women who have been in the program for a few years are now doubling and even tripling their money. In some instances, women who have been very successful often help to make sure that others are able to pay back their loans offering help and mentoring to newer participants in the program.
After 6 years of success for this program, women are reporting improved well-being for their families through food security, growth of business prospects, and the ability to send more children to school. This is a unique way to provide micro-credit, and it has been successful because it was designed by community members to meet the unique needs of the community. We are presently working to expand this program into other communities beginning in 2020.