In Blantyre, Malawi, dozens of women sell potatoes in the marketplace. But Grace Msowoya and her business partner Betty Louhana stand out. Frustrated by their small profit margins, they became the first women to take the bold move of becoming distributors themselves. Every two weeks, they withdraw money from their Opportunity savings to rent a truck. They hire a driver and spend several days on the road to get potatoes directly from farmers, which they then sell to other vendors.
In recent news, Opportunity Malawi is partnering with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to provide access to microfinance services, including agricultural loans, to over 25,000 people living in poverty through 2011.
The $350,000 grant from IFAD’s Rural Livelihoods Support Program will help combat hunger and poverty in three rural districts in southern Malawi. In addition, IFAD has granted $234,000 to Opportunity Malawi to provide remittance services through cell phones and satellite branches in rural areas.
Opportunity Malawi CEO Aleksandr-Alain Kalanda said, “Supporting the people-to-people money flow to rural areas is vital in the development of this country.”
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