MicroLoan Foundation USA

The MicroLoan Foundation USA is an international development organization whose mission is to to reduce poverty and inequality by providing microfinance services to impoverished women in remote rural areas in sub-Saharan African countries. Our founding principles and values are as follows: Attentive: To respect and listen to others, especially the individuals we try to help. They probably know best what they need. Far reaching: To find people stuck in poverty who would otherwise struggle to support themselves and their families. We will help them build a sustainable life. Consistent: To do what is right with conviction, sensitivity, enthusiasm, and inventiveness. Small: To discover the poi...
Aug 22, 2013

Summer Update 2013

Envoys trip to Chickolongo Fish Farm site
Envoys trip to Chickolongo Fish Farm site

I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful summer.

In July, I traveled to Malawi to check out the progress on the Liwonde Project. Travelling with me were the owners and staff of Envoys - a student educational travel company - and the five students taking part in the Malawi - Microfinance in Action program. We spent a day helping - or at least attempting to help - the villagers clearing the 3 hectare  (about 7.5 acres) fish farm site. It was back-breaking work as everything is being cleared by hand. Chopping, digging and prying stubborn tree stumps out of rock hard earth, on a blazing hot day was tough, but no one complained.

25 (approximately 150 people) community families committed to work on the preparation and construction of the fish farm, in return for a "share"  - a small plot of land within the fish farm compound - to grow their own vegetables around a mini fish pond which will be stocked with fingerlings.

At times we felt as if we were in the way - the village men were much more adept at wielding a machete or pick ax then we were. But we had no problem picking up the twigs and dead grasses to build the small fires needed to burn the stumps.

We were treated to a delicious lunch prepared right there in the field by Lucy and two other village women. Cooked over an open fire, we had grilled chicken, kidney beans and a green leafy vegetable similar to spinach. It was all scooped up from a tin plate with a piece of bread and our hands.

At the end of the day, when we all gathered with Project Manager Mike Labuschagne, we thanked the villagers for their hospitality and putting up with our lack of experience with manual labor. We really wondered if we had been a help or a hindrance. The village Headman, with Mike interpreting said it best, "We know you think you haven't done much, but you came all the way from America to help us in this poor community. We give you many blessings, as without your help we wouldn't be doing this at all."

The Chickolongo Community Fish Farm will have it Grand Opening in mid-September, and I will send out the next progress report shortly afterwards.

Thank you for your continued support. We couldn't do it without you.

Regards,

Linda

Flako giving it his all!
Flako giving it his all!
Avian and Lucy taking a photo break.
Avian and Lucy taking a photo break.
Hannah and the village Headman gathering twigs.
Hannah and the village Headman gathering twigs.

Links:

Jun 3, 2013

Update on the Liwonde Project

Liwonde Headman and villagers
Liwonde Headman and villagers

Thank you for your support of the Liwonde Project.

I was asked recently how and why we selected the Chickolongo Community for the fish farm. Initially we conducted an extensive survey among the four villages in the community. The results were overwhelmingly in favor of the project. Here are the conclusions from the survey:

  1. 1.   The human animal conflict in Chikolongo village is intense and extremely destructive.  91% of our survey respondents had experienced conflict with wild life. 21 lives have been lost in the past 2 years.
  1. 2.     The survey indicated a poor relationship between the village and the park authorities.  95% of respondents considered the electrified boundary fence to be ineffective.  (A new, state of the art electrified fence will ensure the safety of the fish farm)
  1. 3.     Over 60% of respondents rely on the Shire River for their household water source.  This brings them into immediate conflict with the wild animals of the park.  93% of those that source water from the Shire need the water for their most basic daily human needs such as drinking, washing, and cooking.
  1. 4.     Only 23% of respondents are involved in any small business and the major business challenge was cited as lack of capital.  In the light of this, it would appear that there is a real need for the MicroLoan Foundation to provide the small loans and the development of business skills and acumen within this marginalized community.
  1. 5.     Fish is comfortably the main source of protein in the respondent’s diet.  98% of respondents indicated that the price of fish is increasing and 100% of respondents indicated that the fish population is steadily decreasing.
  1. 6.     The survey results strongly indicated that a venture which improves the game park - community relationship, mitigates human /animal conflict, facilitates small business development, and provides a sustainable source of fish would be highly desirable.

Fundraising for the project is ongoing, both on and offline. Now that we are into the construction phase, your support is going to work as I write. Once Again, Many thanks.

Back to you in August.

Regards,

Linda

Links:

Mar 12, 2013

March Update

Drawing water from the Shire River
Drawing water from the Shire River

The Chikolongo Fish Farm is on track to start construction this Spring.

The village of Chikolongo and the Traditional Authorities have granted the project three hectares of land on which to implement the project which ensures "buy-in" and committment from the villagers.

Fast Facts:

  • 4,000+ adults live in the Chikolongo community, with 10,000+ children.
  • Less than 25% of these adults have a paying job. Most survive through subsistence farming and (illegal) fishing.
  • 66% relied on the Shire River for household water, exposing themselves to crocodile attack when drawing water.
  • 21 members of the community have been killed by crocodiles and elephants in the last 24 months.

To alleviate the human/wildlife conflict, a household water holding tank and clothes washing basin will be constructed within the fish farm boundary.

Taking the water home
Taking the water home

Links:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of MicroLoan Foundation USA

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about MicroLoan Foundation USA on GreatNonProfits.org.