Pro-Microfinance International

The vision of Pro-Microfinance International is to be a pioneering microfinance institution in Africa, by providing financial services to the most inaccessible regions of the continent. Using local social networks and in-kind loans, Pro-Microfinance International will be able to provide desperately needed credit and income generation assistance to those underserved by formal credit systems.Pro-Microfinance International's mission is to empower women and men irrespective.
Aug 5, 2016

Combining Advantages

PMI DR Congo Team
PMI DR Congo Team

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the vast majority- some estimated 99% (ADB, 2013)- of the population remains without access to formal financial services. Yet this doesn’t mean that people don’t save and borrow when they can.

 Large personal costs, like school fees, weddings, and birthday parties call for putting aside a little at a time, and, when costs become higher than what’s been put aside, going to the local “mutuality”. Mutualities are common across countries with high rates of informal transactions. They serve as a collection point for neighbors and colleagues who want to save together, and as a helping hand to those who need to borrow. In some cases, even borrowed sums can turn into charitable contributions, recognizing that not everyone can bear the burden of credit sometimes.

 Pro-Microfinance serves as a gateway service for mutuality users to formal financial services. For many of our users, Pro-Microfinance is the first formal account they’ve ever had.  And this is a big deal. Savers can finally rest assured that their savings are secure, accessible, and well accounted for. And Pro-Microfinance won’t make a loan unless the user can demonstrate how they will generate the repayment, or who will guarantee it. And this can mean all the difference between being in the green, versus feeling indebted to your neighbors and colleagues.

 Because banks in the area where Pro-microfinance operate charge up to $5 a month in maintenance fees, many of our users, who make less than this in a day, may be lifelong members of Pro-microfinance. By donating to us, you can ensure that we cover our administrative charges, and yet retain the same accessibility as a neighborhood-level organization. We're willing to put in the extra effort to work with small-scale vendors, and we look forward to what we can do together.

May 9, 2016

ProMicrofinance - Financing Agriculture

From Bunzi Community farm-Mavuno
From Bunzi Community farm-Mavuno

Dear friends and supporters,

Following the Permaculture training in December last year that launched a partnership between ProMicrofinance and Mavuno Congo, a non-profit organization that empowers village leaders to end extreme poverty in the DR Congo. The two organizations have decided to continue this partnership and are working together to design a loan product tailored to the agricultural sector.

For the pilot project, participants farmers will be disbursed “In-kind Loans” of inputs like seeds and fertilizers. With this program, farmers will have the ability to get the inputs they need at lower bulk prices and have to repay at the harvest time when they have the money. After the pilot project, we will eventually expand the project by providing Cash loans to farmers to allow them to respond to other farming needs like salaries to laborers, etc.

In our next post, we will tell you more about the progress of this project and we look forward to your continued support.  

Feb 5, 2016

Training to Support Rural Livelihoods

Training in the demonstration field
Training in the demonstration field

As 2015 came to a close, Pro-Microfinance (PMI) extended a helping hand to a partner in Beni in a livelihood-strengthening activity well aligned with its goals and mission. Just 35 kilometers away from Butembo, Beni has been hard hit in the last year and a half, with at least 500 recorded abductions and 450 brutal murders targeting small villages on the outskirts of Beni, mostly attributed to an armed group originating from Uganda (IRIN, 2015). With such security concerns, the area can feel over militarized and under-developed, with prices for delicate food crops such as tomatoes gouged as less locals are willing to plant care-intensive crops that expose them to potential danger. Mavuno Congo is one organization working within these confines to increase nutritional diversity. Currently partnering with the village of Bunzi, and with plans to expand, the organization works to organize the community into smaller subgroups and utilizes previously ignored spaces for gardening near villagers homes.

Pro-Microfinance’s Community Shamba Project, a resource for Permaculture (sustainable agriculture) design in the area since 2014, was therefore in ideal set of techniques to share with Mavuno’s farmers, since it utilizes otherwise wasted organic materials, conserves water usage, and creates synergistic relationships between intercropped edibles. From December 7th to the 11th, 2015, PMI's Community Shamba graduates worked closely with Mavuno Congo's staff who received training on the following:

  • Climate change and microclimates
  • Soil, forest and water degradation
  • Biological pesticide production
  • Models for field management using diversity and interdependence 

Following the training, the trainer, Ir Katembo Kalwahi reported that “Our trainees were really glad to learn the news about the movement of Permaculture, like how the principles of Permaculture promote a circular economy. The waste of some can be the resources of others, but we have the tendency to toss this in negligence. So the base of Permaculture, which is the interaction of the elements of the ecosystem, is something we really showed the participants!”

Julia visiting Bunzi Village last year
Julia visiting Bunzi Village last year
 
   

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