We are delighted to inform you that 2014 is off to a great start with Pro-Microfinance. In July 2013, Pro-Microfinance expanded its activities to Kinshasa, a city with a population of about 12 million people. With less than 5% of the population having access to financial services and an over 80 % rate of unemployment. PMI has launched a “Rent to Own” program, where small entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to rent equipment that they own once they have paid the cost of the equipment.
With PMI’s “Rent to Own” program, motorbike taxi drivers, for example, deposit payments on their account at PMI, until the whole cost of a motorbike rented is paid off. The program, in partnership with local businesses, helps motorbike taxi drivers to become owners and improve their income, rather than driving for someone else who poorly pays them. With an average income of $20 a day, $15 usually goes to a private motorbike owner, and only $5 to the driver. If the driver happens to make less than $20, he will get less than $5 that day, as he cannot compromise the $15 for the owner of the motorbike.
PMI’s “Rent to Own” program helps entrepreneurs find a pathway to become the owner of the motorbike -and other business assets- at the end of the process. This program triples and quadruples their income, and helps them to better be able to support their families. We thank you for you support to PMI in previous years and in the years to come. Programs like these are what make our work meaningful, and we promise to keep you updated along the way!
Greetings and we hope this update finds you well. Just to let you know, your financial contributions to Pro-Microfinance DR Congo have had an enormous impact in improving the living standard of families in Butembo, North Kivu. Our recent contributions have made it possible for us to work with a new organizational partner active in grassroots peace building. PMI has extended micro loans to target demobilized soldiers and vulnerable persons in Butemobo and offer lifeline financial support, through its new partner PEREX.
PEREX, a local organization, works to offer community-based reintegration services to demobilized combatants, their families, and extremely vulnerable members of the community. PEREX previously partnered with international NGO’s such as CARITAS in order to extend business opportunities to demobilized combatants and vulnerable members of their host community, such as work-and-pay projects to repair community infrastructure together. Since the completion of the reintegration programming funded by these INGOs, PEREX has been seeking critical support to sustain livelihood services to its members. One of the vital needs of the members of PEREX, many of them with vocational training, has been access to financial services.
PMI therefore recently partnered with PEREX to work with 15 solidarity groups formed by PEREX, each group made of 5 members. Many of the groups have taken and repaid their first group loan, some have taken a second loan, and some have even paid back their second round and are going for their third round. Borrowers have also received trainings in budgeting, record keeping, and entrepreneurship. Here is a big thank you from the PMI team and all its beneficiaries!
PMI’s visiting team members from the USA met with several beneficiaries of the new partnership. Maman Katungu, for instance, used to bring supplies to her husband while he was stationed in a rebel outpost in North Kivu. Since her husband returned to civilian life, Maman has acted as the head of her household, selling fish and saving in an indigenous, neighborhood savings scheme to help her family’s 3 school age children stay in school. Since joining PMI, Maman used her first $100 loan to switch from selling fish to selling tomatoes, which she says has a higher daily profit. She is eagerly looking forward to her second loan, which she says she’d like to use to invest in a communal selling space with the other women in her self-help group.
With its focus always on community needs, PMI’s scalable and sustainable programming works from the bottom up to provide alternatives to hundreds of market women (and men) like Maman. Consider making a contribution today to our efforts in the Congo.
Mr Kasereka, a demobilised soldier shares his story
“My name is Kasreka, I am a demobilized soldier. During the demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration program, I was trained by CARITAS as a mechanic man and received a starter kit. I started a small motorbike repair shop here at the roadside. Later on, I joined PEREX for follow up training as Caritas did not have follow-up programs. From PEREX, I learned how to manage small business and was able to get a Loan from PMI with my other 4 self-help group members. Today, I train 7 school boys in motorbike mechanics during their school vacations. I also have a small chair-making business and farm pigs at home. “
Julia Smith and John Kavyavu
From its inception over three years ago, Pro-Microfinance has been operating in the remote north eastern region of the Congo. Out of its national office in Butembo, North Kivu, it has partnered with local charities, agricultural projects, and markets to reach its current size of 527 members. As of July, 2013, Pro-Microfinance is pleased to announce the opening of its second office in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Kinshasa office, staffed by local finance and accounting graduates, will be offering a range of microfinance products to meet the financial needs of Congolese residing in and around the bustling capital city, including in-kind loans for income generating items. In the wake of an international war, and during its lingering aftermath in the northeastern region, the entrepreneurial efforts of individual Congolese have continued. Pro-microfinance is pleased to offer a helping hand to local businesses as well as start-up entrepreneurs. With offices now located in Eastern and Western regions of the country, Pro-Microfinance looks forward to the increasing impact of its work, and to participating in the growth of an inclusive national financial sector. Consider making a donation today to help Pro-Microfinance in its journey. Your support has been critical to the growth of the organization, and will be key to PMI's future success.
Yours truly, The PMI team
This E-Newsletter, Pro-Microfinance International would like to thank an innovative fundraising effort piloted by Pastor Nic Harding, who skydived on behalf of the Frontline Church in late 2012 and raised over 8,000 USD to support Pro-Microfinance’s individual loans program.
Nic’s decision to support Pro-Microfinance came as a result of 4 visits to the city of Butembo over the last 5 years. Nic says, of Promicrofinance in DRC: “They are the only one of their kind in Butembo and are helping business projects get off the ground. They have a 5-year track record and have already been able to help local people start hundreds of new businesses... Many of the women who are using this service would have no way of supporting their families without Promicrofinance. (They have either been widowed or disowned by their husbands as a result of being raped in the DRC conflict.) Thanks to the 'hand-up' they've received through Promicrofinance, they are now able to try and support themselves and their families through trading activities.”
The sizeable donation raised by the brave feat has already been disbursed in loans to over 100 new clients in January and February of 2013. See below pictures of market women assisted in expanding their small businesses selling dried fish and tapioca products in the local market.
Pro-Microfinance’s board is delighted to highlight Pastor Nic’s efforts to its followers, and encourages those who are also interested in supporting Pro-Microfinance’s vision of helping women realize their full potential to get involved in fundraising for field operations in similar, innovative ways.
We invite you to become a monthly donor to PMI. Recurring donations are simple to set up, and can be cancelled at any time. By setting up your regular gift by Direct Debit on PayPal, we will be able to help even more small business owners in DR Congo work their way out of poverty:
$5 can fund financial training for one woman.
$10 can train a woman in new skills such as soap-making.
$50 can fund start up capital for one woman.
$100 can fund a sewing machine for a micro enterprise business.
To make a tax-deductible donation please go to: www.globalgiving.org/7820
The Promicrofinance Board of Directors
On behalf of Pro-Microfinance Team and myself, we would like to wish you a happy New Year.
May 2013 brings lots of happiness, Health and Success to you and your loved ones.
Thank you for your support in 2012,
Together we have made this world a better place for hundreds of families that benefits our programs in Eastern DR Congo.
Let’s together again keep up the good work and make a commitment to support PMI efforts each month by pledging to donate a small amount through an electronic process. Your donation of $15 per month ($45 per quarter or $180 annually) will allow women to begin or expand their own small businesses and pull their families out of poverty.
Yes, Microfinance Does work!!
John S. Kavyavu
PMI Executive Director
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