An Update on the Project “Micro Loans for Women Impacted by HIV/AIDS in Zambia”
We would like to thank our donors for supporting women entrepreneurs in Zambia take the first steps towards self-reliance.
Power of Love’s microloans program empowers women impacted/affected by HIV/AIDS who are left out of traditional microloan programs and helps them become self-sufficient. You will be happy to know that in April 2012, we distributed loans to 90 women entrepreneurs in our micro loans program in Zambia. For these 90 women this was the third loan cycle and they expect to finish repayments by November 2012. These women were provided with business training and their first loan in 2010. Since then they have been running their businesses and supporting their families with earnings from their business. As a result of earnings from their businesses the women have been able to send their children to school and more than 73 children have been able to continue school as a result of this program. Most important, we are proud of our women entrepreneurs who have learned the value of savings, and now save a small amount each day. Out of this group, 71 women have savings and more than 50% have savings in a bank account. When they joined our program in 2010, less than 5% of these women had savings.
The average amount saved is small, but it helps the women (i) take care of emergencies such as sicknesses, funerals, and school fees/expenses, (ii) purchase raw material/inventories for their business, and (iii) help the women to continue running their business after they have completed the maximum of three loan cycles and have graduated from our program.
The long-term impact of our micro loans program is to allow women to start planning, saving, and building a better future for themselves and their families. Our women entrepreneurs take the first steps towards self-reliance, and become role models and mentors for other women in the community. The program has a substantial impact on the community beyond the program participants themselves.
Most of the women in Power of Love’s micro loans program have built successful businesses and are eager to continue their growth. We are proud of our women entrepreneurs, who with your generous donations have been able to support themselves and their families, run thriving businesses, and take the first steps towards self-reliance.
Story of a Woman who joined Power of Love’s Micro Loans Program and Received Business Training and a Small Loan
We would like to thank our donors for supporting women entrepreneurs in Zambia take the first steps towards self-reliance. Here is the story of one women entrepreneur.
Brenda is 42 years old with 4 children of her own and 2 other dependents to support. After her husband divorced her life was hard as her ex-husband refuses to support her and the children. After her divorce, Brenda did not have a place to live, and two of her children stopped going to school due to lack of funds for school supplies. Brenda moved in with her sister but it did not help as her sister has 5 children of her own to support. Brenda did not have any skills that she could use to earn money to support her family. In 2010, Brenda joined Power of Love’s micro loans program and received business training and a small loan to start a business. She started selling peanut butter, and is now selling used clothing in one of the big markets. At present, all her children are back in school and her eldest son graduated from high school in November 2011. With the earnings from her business Brenda has been able to rent a two room house and has taken the first steps towards self-reliance. We are very proud of Brenda as she now encourages other women in the community to run profitable businesses and has become their role model.
Update on Power of Love's Project “Micro Loans for Women Impacted by HIV/AIDS in Zambia”
As a result of your continued support, we were able to provide business training and small loans to 50 new women “entrepreneurs” in Lusaka, Zambia in 2011. We would like to sincerely thank the Mary D. Fisher Fund and other donors who continue to support this program. Almost all the women who were provided with loans in 2011, are on schedule with their repayments as we continue to monitor the progress of their businesses and suggest ways to increase sales and profits. We expect this loan cycle to be completed by March 31, 2012 with the women repaying loan capital (approximately $135) with 10% interest rate. Businesses started with this program range from selling bananas along the roadside to brick-and-mortar stores selling cellphone chargers and accessories. Many women distribute fish to local restaurants, fry donut-like snacks for stores, or make their own floor wax. The goal of the program is to empower women and help them to become self-sufficient and able to provide for their families.
One of the unique features of this program is that every woman is either infected with or affected by AIDS, and fewer than 5% have a bank account. As a result, other microfinance organizations typically do not make loans to them. The women are qualified using a community referral system and through several interviews by Power of Love’s microfinance coordinator, Esther Shumba. After a woman is selected for a loan, she undergoes a week of intensive business training, builds a credible business plan, and is assigned to a team with four other women. Each team is held accountable for ensuring that the others in their group are on track with their loan repayment.
One key element of this program is the weekly meetings which have benefited the women significantly in several ways. The women meet once a week to discuss their businesses and how to improve sales, issues connected with care for families who are HIV positive, share their successes and failures and to make their loan repayments. For example, one of the ladies - Alice was having trouble finding a place to sell high-quality soap she was importing from South Africa. Another woman in the program has a brother who owns a small general store, and agreed to rent Alice some shelf space. Alice now has a healthy business importing this soap, has expanded into other product lines, and has laid the foundation on a small home for herself and her two sons. Alice has graduated from Power of Love’s program, but continues to serve as a mentor to other women in the program and is able to send her sons to high school.
Given below is a picture of some of the women singing before the start of their weekly meeting at the Power of Love offices in Lusaka, Zambia. The lady with the cell phone around her neck is Alice, one of the successful graduates of this program.
To sum, the key aspects of the POL microfinance model are: (1) the division of loan recipients into small teams that hold each other accountable; (2) weekly program-wide meetings to share insight and collect repayment; and (3) consistent business training, including an initial course, a refresher course, and mentoring from successful program graduates.
Next Steps: At this time we are in the process of setting up a partnership with FINCA, the largest provider of microloans in Zambia and a major presence worldwide (distributed $800 million in loans in 2011). Many women, like Alice Bamba above, have graduated from Power of Love’s microfinance program and have built successful businesses, but are eager to invest more capital and grow their business to the next level. Power of Love and FINCA have agreed to send such women to the FINCA branch in the community of Matero (where are program is located), with the intent of building a relationship that allows POL to refer women directly to the FINCA branch in Matero and help integrate the women into FINCA’s village banking model.
To date, this program has provided 450 loans to women impacted by HIV/AIDS in Zambia and improved the lives of over 4000 people in the community of Matero in Lusaka, Zambia. At this time we have 160 women who are on this program and running successful businesses.
Power of Love’s micro loans program helps women impacted by HIV/AIDS take the first steps towards breaking the cycle of poverty, acquiring a marketable skill and becoming self-reliant. In addition we monitor the businesses and provide business expertise to all loan beneficiaries to ensure the success of their businesses. Your support goes a long way in improving the lives of women and families impacted by HIV/AIDS in Zambia. Microfinance has transformed the lives of many poor mothers and grandmothers in AIDS-stricken Africa and is truly a powerful tool in helping women become self-reliant.
Power of Love’s micro loans program helps women impacted by HIV/AIDS take the first steps towards breaking the cycle of poverty, acquiring a marketable skill and becoming self-reliant. We would like to sincerely thank the Mary D. Fisher Fund and other donors who continue to support this program. It is with your support that we are able to provide business training and small loans to women impacted by HIV/AIDS. In addition we monitor the businesses and provide business expertise to all loan beneficiaries to ensure the success of their businesses. Your support goes a long way in improving the lives of women and families impacted by HIV/AIDS in Zambia. Microfinance has transformed the lives of many poor mothers and grandmothers in AIDS-stricken Africa and is truly a powerful tool in helping women become self-reliant.
In 2011, as a result of your support, we were able to provide business training and small loans to 50 new women “entrepreneurs” in Lusaka, Zambia. In addition we continue to monitor and provide support to the 100 women who were provided with loans and business training in 2010.
Loans provided to 50 new women “entrepreneurs” in September 2011
1. Fifty women were identified (based mostly on need and ability to run a business), who would be provided with loans and business training. A list of the 50 women is given below.
2. Business training was provided to the 50 new women entrepreneurs in September 2011. Training was provided in 2 sessions with 25 women in each session. The 5-day business training was attended and completed successfully by all 50 women.
3. On September 15, 2011 loans were provided to 50 women in the amount of approx. $130 each. The women have started making repayments and we expect that the loan cycle will be completed in 6-8 months.
4. Some of the businesses started by the women are:
a. Groceries (Mille meal, rice, sugar, cooking oil, soap, vegetables, dried fish, dressed chicken, popcorn), b. Used goods (clothes, shoes, handbags), c. Hair salon/ Barber shop, d. Cell phone covers and chargers.
Attached is a picture of one of the women's new hair salon. She now works with her sister and both are building financial stability for their families. The salon owner is proud of her hard work and successful outcome and enjoys giving her clients pleasant feelings about their appearance and contributing to their happiness.
Mechanics of the Micro Loans Program:
The small loans and business training and monitoring successfully enable women to engage in self-employment projects. Loan beneficiaries (a total of 150 women) meet weekly with the loan officer to make loan repayments, and discuss business related issues and issues related to HIV/AIDS, schooling of chidlren with other women entrepreneurs and the loan officer. In addition, individual women meet regularly in groups of four which helps to aid in decision making and provide support for each other. Loan repayments are made in 25 weekly installments. The women who are eligible may receive up to 3 loans over 1 ½- 2 years. At present there are 150 loans in process with a 85- 90% repayment rate @ 10% interest.
Impact of the Micro Loans Program
On average each women provides care to 7-8 people in her household. This means that the total of 150 loans benefit 1100 people directly and an additional 1100 people indirectly as our loan beneficiaries talk to other women and encourage them to go in or testing, take medicines and start a new business to become self- reliant. These loans help a poor household meet basic needs, protect against unexpected financial expenses and help keep the children in school. For some women there is a dramatic improvement in standard of living so they may even graduate out of poverty. For all involved there is perceived improvement in gender equality, improved economic welfare, and a sense of wellbeing and self-empowerment. Some of our women entrepreneurs have become role models not only for other women in the community but for men as well. All of the above indicate that this program is making a significant difference in the lives of several thousand people in Zambia and we expect this change to be sustained over a long period of time.
Appendix - Names of New Women Entrepreneurs Provided Loans in 2011
1 Jane Phiri
2. Nancy Simukonda
3. Brenda Mwansa
4. Diana Chulu
5. Elestina Z. Moyo
6. Mary Malunga
7. Claudia Fellouis
8. Mary Ngoma
9. Milika Mwanza
10. Adina Miti
11. Malibisa Malibisa
12. Mary Mbinda
13. Bethar Shumba
14. Alice Miti
15. Caroline Mumba
16. Getrudy Mvula
17. Esther Tembo
18. Florence Kwanja
19. Margaret Zinkata
20. Monica Makolesa
21. Esther Matukuta
22. Fllornce Nzumba
23. Ireen Chikota
24. Doreen Phiri
25. Ireem Chuma
26. Wintness Nyirongo
27. Dorothy Mbewe
28. Pamela Chiwe
29. Anna Muyanga
30. Agnes Kakoma
31. Helen Temo
32. Susan Zulu
33. Sharon kunda
34. Mwenya Chilekwe
35. Malesiyana Bunda
36. Mary Ngoma
37. Eunice Banda
38. Musanide Mwenda
39. Margaret Lungu
40. Chewe Chota
41. Josephine Ngulube
42. Ines Mwale
43. Doreen Chipasha
44. Jane Mulenga
45. Faides Khuni
46. Juatina Banda
47. Alice Mudima
48. Charity Cuma
49. Erika Kayuni
50. Doric Cheleshe
Power of Love’s micro loans program helps women impacted by HIV/AIDS take the first steps towards breaking the cycle of poverty, acquiring a marketable skill and becoming self-reliant. We would like to sincerely thank the Mary D. Fisher Fund and other donors who continue to support this program. It is with your support that we are able to continue providing micro loans, business training, and monitor and provide business expertise to all loan beneficiaries to ensure the success of their businesses.
In 2010, Power of Love provided 115 new loans and business training to women impacted by HIV/AIDS in Zambia. In 2011, we have continued to provide business consultation, monitor businesses, and discuss loan related issues with the women in meetings held every week. In addition, our goal is to provide 50 new loans and business training to women in the next three months. The majority the community in the Matero compound in Lusaka is impoverished (most individuals are unemployed and have little education) and lives on less than $1 per day. The current micro loans program has been hugely successful in improving the quality of lives of the people in the community. These microloans have had a direct impact on the recipient’s lives: the women are earning money regularly and bringing that back to their families, the nutrition and diet of the children and their mothers has improved, almost all of the children are subsequently healthy and therefore back in school, women have come forward to be tested for HIV, and loan recipients have set a new standard as role models in their community.. This program has benefited more than 390 women directly and 3,000 people indirectly (on average POL’s loan recipients provide care for four children and three elderly people at home). In addition, since our micro loans program complements our pediatric AIDS care program we are seeing a positive and sustainable long term impact in the community. Given below is a profile of a family that has benefited from Power of Love’s micro loans program.
Picture below is Ephram. Ephram is 7 years old and lives with his grandmother. Ephram’s grandmother was provided business training and a small loan by POL to start a business. The business run by Ephram’s grandmother is doing well and as a result, the diet and nutrition of the family has improved.
Ephram’s parents are HIV positive. His father divorced his mom as she is epileptic. Ephram enrolled in Power of Love’s pediatric AIDS program in 2005, as he was suffering from TB. He tested positive for HIV, and began ARV medication. Ephram receives nutritional and medical support from the Power of Love Foundation. He was also provided with school shoes and uniform. Ephram is studying in grade 1 at a school in Chunga. His adherence to medication is good and as a result his health is stable.
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