In 2012 with the support of WMI (Women’s Microfinance Initiative) http://wmionline.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. They 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 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 businesses. 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!
In 2015 and 2016 we were fortunate to have WMI fund more loans for women in the area where we work. In total we have given 238 loans in Nainokanoka ward. We are hugely grateful to the ongoing support of WMI through funding loans 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.
In 2018 and 2019 we received more funding from WMI and have been able to expand our loans through VICOBA groups into another ward, Naiyobi. Our staff are training and supporting these new groups. Now in 2020, due to the successes and sustainability of each area programme we are looking into expanding into the Mto wa Mbu area.