Why Training is So Important
In rural areas of Uganda, where we currently lend, jobs are scarce, especially for women. To survive, women must create their own jobs by selling whatever they can to support their family. However, selling products is not the same as running a profitable, sustainable business.
These women are often not successful for two reasons. One is lack of capital and the other is lack of training. The Greater Contribution’s micro loan program addresses both of these challenges.
We want all of our borrowers to be successful, so in addition to receiving a micro loan they receive three days of business training.
Our training includes budgeting, inventory control, record keeping, business planning, writing a business plan and more. Attendance at this training is mandatory for a woman to receive a loan.
After receiving her loan, each borrower comes to the loan center every two weeks to make her loan payment. At the same time, the loan coordinators give another mini-lesson, a repeat of one of the lessons from the three days of business training.
The Greater Contribution has funded over 12,000 micro loans[/perfectpullquote]
MICROLOANS Provide Needed Capital
Since lack of capital is one of the primary reasons women living in the developing world are unable to earn a sustainable income, we provide micro loans of $50- $300 to start or grow a small business. With their micro loans, women purchase seeds, chickens, feed, second-hand clothing, and other items to sell at greater profit and earn a sustainable income.
On average, each borrower supports a family of five. Therefore, each micro loan benefits around five people. When the loan is paid back and loaned out again and again, the number of people benefited exponentially multiplies.
We also provide a trained, local Peer Counselor for the women borrowers. The Peer Counselors work with the leaders of the borrowing groups to resolve any problems the women may experience that would impede the growth of their businesses. The Peer Counselors also continue to emphasize the importance of saving, a concept that is often new to women who have been previously living at a subsistence level.
We loan to local women in self-selected groups. The members cross guarantee the loans of each other member in the group. By loaning to these groups, we tap into an already supportive and cooperative atmosphere. After our borrowers receive their micro loans, they continue to meet with the other women in their loan group. They share success stories, ideas about what’s working or not working in their businesses. They support and educate each other as they grow and develop as businesswomen.