In 2012 with the support of WMI (Women’s Microfinance Initiative) http://wmionline.org and Maasai Partners https://www.maasaipartners.org we started a microfinance loan system. WMI have a very effective model with an excellent business training programme which we used to train our first groups of borrowers. This enabled them to start and manage their own businesses such as selling much needed maize, shoes, clothing, livestock and running small retail shops.
The first groups were very successful, with support from our local staff and the loan group leaders. The women all repaid their loans on time and managed to make savings. This has made a huge difference to their lives. They no longer worry where their next family meal is coming from and can afford to send their children to school. Women also report feeling more confident with their husbands and their community since having their loan and running their own business. See the autobiographies of Naseku and Maasoi in our ‘News’ pages.
Each year we have re-loaned the repaid money and increased the number of loans we give, whilst more requests come in!
From 2015 to the present, 2021, we have been fortunate to have WMI fund more loans for women in the area where we work. In total we have given 1525 loans in Nainokanoka, Naiyobi, Esilalei and Alailelai wards. Each ward has a population of around 15,000 divided between 3 or 4 villages. We are hugely grateful to the ongoing support of WMI and Maasai Partners through funding loans, numeracy, literacy and health education, which is making such a difference to the womens’ and their families’ lives.
Since 2017, we have been funding loans through VICOBA groups: Village Community Banks. These groups are run by women, who each contribute weekly to the group’s funds. It means the women have ownership of the system, deciding the size and terms of the loans and how much interest to charge to ensure efficient running and to support the members. WTWT give training to all members of the group and will attend their weekly meetings to give ongoing support with record keeping and business management until it is no longer needed and the group is self sufficient. Longer term these groups will have the credit records to be able to transition to institutional banking and the formal economy of Tanzania.
This year, 2021, we have extended to Alailelai ward. We are delighted to have Mary Mirumu and Sandey Kinyanjui managing the loans training and supporting these new groups with their businesses and also with numeracy, literacy and health education.