Micro Loans For Women Impacted by HIV/AIDS, Zambia

 
$19,633
$10,367
Raised
Remaining
Feb 23, 2014

A Report on the Acheivements of our Micro Loans Program in Zambia

Executive Summary

Power of Love’s micro loans program now has 240 women enrolled and a majority of them are running successful businesses. The businesses chosen by the women are quite diverse and range from groceries (mealie meal - a Zambian staple, cooking oil, rice, sugar, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and beans), to dressed chicken, dried fish, charcoal, baby blankets, books, restaurant, and a salon etc. Most women (about 50%) have started tiny grocery stores located close to their homes. About 20% of the women sell used clothes and shoes. These ladies travel by bus to the City Market in Lusaka, purchase the used clothing and shoes and resell these at a higher price in their community marketplace. Many of the businesses such as charcoal, rice, beans and sugar involve the women buying in bulk, repackaging the item in smaller quantities and reselling. All of these businesses add value for the community members as they are located within walking distance from their homes and the community is able to purchase smaller and more affordable quantities. For example, one of the ladies, Edith Makoni owned a hair dryer machine, so she opened a hair salon by renting space in the marketplace and purchasing supplies and materials like combs and cosmetics, needed to run her business. Edith is now providing a service to the women closer to their homes and at reasonable prices.

Business training and loans provided to women in our program goes a long way in helping them provide for their families and take the first steps towards self-reliance. At this time, 70% of the women are single or widowed and 50% are dependent on their husband or relatives for household expenses. On average each women cares for 7 or more people at home - our goal is to help these women learn how to run a business so they can pay for school expenses and keep their children in school.

We track businesses run by the women to study how they evolve as the women progress from their first loan to their second and third loan cycles. Our hope is that as the women move to through their loan cycles, they are able to increase the number and variety of items, add higher value items, increase the store size or move to a better location, and/or have a better store design and display.

Short Term Impact of the Loans Provided

  1. The diet and nutrition of all families in our program has improved and they have gone from eating one meal to 2-3 meals per day. Since the average household size is about 7-8 people, our loans program impacts 1600-1700 people directly and an additional 1000 people indirectly as the women in our program educate others on taking better care of their HIV positive members in the family, keep their children in school, and encourage them to go in for testing for HIV and to take charge of their own lives.

  2. Schooling: Most families understand the importance of keeping children in school and are able to pay for school expenses (books, uniforms, school bag).

  3. Earnings from businesses enable women to purchase household goods, building materials, pay for expansion of their homes or purchase a plot of land for purposesd of building.

  4. Savings: Most women understand the importance of saving and more than 50% have started savings in bank accounts. The amount saved per woman is small but these savings help build capital for when they are weaned off the program/emergencies/for school expenses, and for investment in big assets like houses.

  5. Business Expansion: About two-thirds of the women are able to expand their business by the second loan cycle. More importantly, the women understand the importance of expanding tehir businesses to increase earnings. 

 Medium/Long Term Impact of the Loans Program

  1. Women will move from selling out of their homes to a rented shop in the community marketplace which has higher foot traffic.

  2. Expand their business with the same type of goods.

      3.   Expand and diversify into new line/lines of business.

      4.   Purchase a shop instead of selling from a rented space.

 Challenges Faced

  1. Personal/Marital problems: For example sickness/death in the family, or the woman herself being sick.

  2. Need more capital to expand business as a significant portion of their earnings goes towards meeting the needs of the family so they are not able to save enough to purchase raw materials/inventory items for their business.

  3. Increased competition at the selling point.

How We Counteract Challenges

  1. Refresher trainings help the women in running/expand their businesses well so they continue to stay on track with repayments.
  2. Advice/mentoring from peers whose businesses are doing well.
  3. Weekly meetings with the loan officer.
  4. Counseling for women whose businesses are impacted due to marital/personal problems.

Stories of a few women (names changed) who have inspired us with their inventiveness and “can do” attitude

Alice is a 45 year old widow. Her husband died two years ago and left her with six children and one grandson. Her income as a maid was not enough to support herself and her family. In September 2013, she received business training and a loan that enabled her to start a small restaurant at the Tuesday community market. At present, her restaurant draws a regular clientele and she has been able to move out of her sister’s place where she was living since the death of her husband. She is now renting a two-room apartment where she lives there with her children and grandchild. Alice is appreciative of our business training and loans program and the continued business guidance she is receiving to ensure her business does well.

Diane is an old lady taking care of 12 grandchildren and 4 children of her own. She was going through a difficult time as she has had to care for her children and grandchildren. Two of her sons and three grandchildren are HIV positive. Prior to September 2013, she was washing clothes to earn money, but her income was not enough to provide food for everyone in her family. With the help of business training and a loan, Diane started a business selling used clothing. Since she started her business, she has stopped washing clothes for others and is focusing on her business. Diane says that she is happy that her family is now able to have at least two meals a day. She would like to thank supporters of our loans program as this program has made a huge difference in her life.

Mary has been married for seven years with four children of her own and one dependent. Her husband stopped working two years back and since then she found it hard to make ends meet. All seven people in her household were living in a one-room rented apartment and her son had to drop out of high school due to lack of funds for school fees. Mary’s husband learnt to drive a car from his friends but he did not have funds to pay for a driving license. Mary received a loan and business training from our micro loans program and worked hard running her business. Earnings from her business enabled her to save enough to pay for her husband’s driving license. At this time, Mary's husband works as a mini bus driver, her eldest child will be able to go back to high school and the family can pay school expenses for the other children. In addition, Mary has been able to move to a two-room rented apartment and is happy with the way things have worked out for her. Mary and her husband expressed their heartfelt thanks for supporting them via business training and a loan when they were going through a difficult time.

 Another lady, Julie was also able to pay for a driver’s license for her husband and her family is doing well.

 A group of five women who live in the same area decided to pool their loan capital and work together. They designated two women to travel to Malawi and purchase bales of used clothing at much lower prices than in Lusaka, Zambia. The women saved on transport expenses by sending only two ladies. They started selling used clothing and since their business was doing well, they wanted to move out from their rented apartments. Again they decided to pool their savings and purchased a big plot of land. This cost them less than if they had bought individual pieces of land. After purchase they divided the big plot into five pieces and now each one of them is an owner of a small piece of land. Their goal and dream is to build a small house for themselves in the near future.

To Sum: Power of Love’s (POL) micro loans program empowers women impacted by HIV/AIDS by providing them with business training, a small loan, and business advice and monitoring over the course of the loan period. Our loans program has enabled poor women to engage in self-employment projects so that they can meet basic needs and protect against unexpected financial expenses. For most women there is a dramatic improvement in their standard of living and they graduate out of poverty. For all involved there is perceived improvement in gender equality, improved economic welfare, and a sense of well-being and self-empowerment. We are proud to report that all of the outcomes of this project continue to be significant, sustainable and permanent. 

Thanks for all you do - we could not have done this without your support and encouragement.

Links:

Dec 30, 2013

Stories of Two Women in Our Loans Program Who Have Inspired Us

You will be happy to know that we now have 230 women enrolled in our micro loans program and a majority of them are running successful businesses. The businesses chosen by the women are quite diverse and range from groceries (mealie meal - a Zambian staple, cooking oil, rice, sugar, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and beans), to dressed chicken, dried fish, charcoal, baby blankets, books, restaurant, and a salon etc. Most women (about 50%) have started tiny grocery stores located close to their homes. About 20% of the women sell used clothes and shoes. These ladies travel by bus to the City Market in Lusaka, purchase the used clothing and shoes and resell these at a higher price in their community. Many of the businesses such as charcoal, rice, beans and sugar involve the women buying in bulk, repackaging the item in smaller quantities and reselling. All of these businesses add value for the community members as they are located within walking distance from their homes and the community is able to purchase smaller and more affordable quantities. 

Here are stories of two women who have inspired us with their inventiveness and “can do” attitude.

Nelly is a 45 year old widow. Her husband died two years ago and left her with six children and one grandson. Her income as a maid was not enough to support herself and her family. In September 2013, she received business training and a loan that enabled her to start a small restaurant at the Tuesday community market. At present, her restaurant draws a regular clientele and she has been able to move out of her sister’s place where she was living since the death of her husband. She is now renting a two-room apartment where she lives there with her children and grandchild. Nelly is appreciative of our business training and loans program and the continued business guidance she is receiving to ensure her business does well.

Emelesi is an old lady taking care of 12 grandchildren and 4 children of her own. She was going through a difficult time as she has had to care for her children and grandchildren. Two of her sons and three grandchildren are HIV positive. Prior to September 2013, she was washing clothes to earn money, but her income was not enough to provide food for everyone in her family. With the help of business training and a loan, Emelesi started a business selling used clothing. Since she started her business, she has stopped washing clothes for others and is focusing on her business. Emelesi says that she is happy that her family is now able to have at least two meals a day. She would like to thank supporters of our loans program as this program has made a huge difference in her life.

Power of Love’s (POL) micro loans program empowers women impacted by HIV/AIDS by providing them with business training, a small loan, and business advice and monitoring over the course of the loan period. Our loans program has enabled poor women to engage in self-employment projects so that they can meet basic needs and protect against unexpected financial expenses. For most women there is a dramatic improvement in their standard of living and they may graduate out of poverty. For all involved there is perceived improvement in gender equality, improved economic welfare, and a sense of well-being and self-empowerment. We are proud to report that all of the outcomes of this project continue to be significant, sustainable and permanent. 

Thanks again for your gift of empowerment which has gone a long way in helping the women (about two-thirds of whom are single) take the first steps towards self-reliance.

Happy Holidays from the Power of Love Team

Links:

Dec 13, 2013

A Big Thank You and Happy Holidays

The Power of Love team would like to thank you for supporting our women entrepreneurs in Zambia. As a result of your generosity, our women entrepreneurs are able to take better care of their families and pay for school expenses. Most important your donations empower the women and put them on the path to self-reliance. Please take a moment and treat yourself to this short video which was taken during our last field visit. The children had a lot of fun making origami birds and playing with them. We hope you enjoy the video as much as we do. 

                          THANK YOU

Happy Holidays from the Power of Love Team

Links:

Oct 12, 2013

New Loans Provided to Eighty Women Entrepreneurs impacted by HIV/AIDS in Zambia

As a result of the generosity of donors such as yourself, we were able to provide new loans to 80 women entrepreneurs last month. These women completed business training in early September and started 80 new businesses. The businesses chosen by the women are quite diverse and range from groceries (mealie meal - a Zambian staple, cooking oil, rice, sugar, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and beans), to dressed chicken, dried fish, charcoal, baby blankets, books, and a salon etc. Many of the businesses such as charcoal, rice, beans and sugar involve the women buying in bulk, repackaging the item in smaller quantities and reselling. Most women (about 50%) have started tiny grocery stores located close to their homes. About 20% of the women sell used clothes and shoes. These ladies travel by bus to the City Market in Lusaka, purchase the used clothing and shoes and resell these at a better price in their community.

One of the ladies, Edith Makoni owned a hair dryer machine, so she opened a hair salon by renting space in the marketplace and purchasing supplies and materials like combs and cosmetics, needed to run her business. All of these businesses add value for the community members as they are located within walking distance from their homes and the community is able to purchase smaller and more affordable quantities.

Loans provided to these women will go a long way in helping them provide for their families and take the first steps towards self-reliance. At this time, 70% of the women are single or widowed and 50% are dependent on their husband or relatives for household expenses. On average each woman cares for 5 or more people at home - our goal is to help these women learn how to run a business so they can pay for school expenses and keep their children in school.

We will be tracking these businesses to study how they evolve as the women progress from their first loan to their second and third loan cycles. Our hope is that as the women move to through their loan cycles, they are able to increase the number and variety of items, add higher value items, increase the store size or move to a better location, and/or have a better store design and display.

Thanks for your support. 

Links:

Jul 28, 2013

Meet our Heroes: Stories of Two Successful Women Entrepreneurs

Power of Love’s (POL) micro loans program empowers women impacted by HIV/AIDS by providing them with business training, a small loan, and business advice and monitoring over the course of the loan period. Our program is specifically designed for women caring for the HIV-infected and is one of the few loan programs that works with women infected or impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Meet our Heroes:
Dorothy cares for nine children - four children of her own and five orphans. Her business of selling vegetables was not doing well due to several similar vendors in her area. Dorothy wanted to start a new business but needed capital of at least $120-150. She enrolled in Power of Love's micro loans program and received business training and a loan to start a new business. Her new business (soap, oil, detergent, eggs, toiletries) is doing well and with earnings from her business she has been able to pay for school expenses for two children who were not in school due to lack of funds. Dorothy plans on working hard and use the skills she learnt during business training to take her business forward. At present, Dorothy is happy that her business is doing well; her children are eating better, and are in school. She has become a mentor to other women in the community and encourages them to take charge of their own lives.

Jane is a widow caring for four children of her own and three children from her late brother. Both her husband and brother died the same year leaving her with no means to care for her family. Jane enrolled in our micro loans program, received business training and a loan and started selling fruits. At present Jane is on her third loan cycle and her business is doing well. She has expanded her assortment of goods to include eggs, cooking oil, and other types of groceries. She is very happy that she is able to take care of her family with earnings from her business. Jane's plan for the future is to keep all the children in her care in school and make their living arrangement more comfortable by extending her late brother's one room house. She is confident that she can achieve her goals by working hard and saving for her future.

Need For Funds: At this time we are raising funds to provide an additional 100 new loans to women entrepreneurs like Dorothy and Jane in August 2013. This will bring the total number of women in our program to 250. Please donate generously to help these women take better care of their families, keep their children in school and take the first steps towards self-reliance.

Conclusion: Micro loans successfully enable women to engage in self-employment projects and set them on the road to self-reliance. These loans help a poor household meet basic needs and protect against unexpected financial expenses. For most women there is a dramatic improvement in their standard of living and they may graduate out of poverty. For all involved there is perceived improvement in gender equality, improved economic welfare, and a sense of well-being and self-empowerment. We are proud to report that all of the outcomes of this project continue to be significant, sustainable and permanent. 

Links:

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Organization

Project Leader

Alka Subramanian

Founder/Director
San Diego, CA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Micro Loans For Women Impacted by HIV/AIDS, Zambia