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.
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
Nov 10, 2015

The Concept of "Microsavings" is Taking Root

Maman Juliette, a Liboke vendor in Kinshasa
Maman Juliette, a Liboke vendor in Kinshasa

“Bwakisa Carte” is a micro savings program where collectors collect daily deposits from client savers during a 31 days cycle. The collectors return the accumulated savings to the savers minus one day’s deposit as a collection fee. Clients have the option to collect all the money after each cycle or leave their savings to grow.                           PMI DR Congo has been promoting this program for over two years and we are thrilled with the results.                   Increasingly, we are able to bring success stories, like Juliette, to share with our readers.

Maman Juliette                                                                                                                                             Maman Juliette is a single mother of 4 children. She lives in Kinshasa, the famously hectic capital city of the DR Congo. Paying for her four children to go to school once seemed unimaginable. But since she joined the “Bwakisa Carte” program, she started to save 50 cents every day with a Pro-Microfinance staff member, who visits her, along with dozens of other entrepreneurs, every day of the week. Maman Juliette began to save 15 USD every month.  Today, almost a year since she joined the program, she also increased her daily savings deposits to $USD 1.3. Her monthly savings have more than doubled as a result. Previously, she was forced to take a loan to pay for her children’s school fees. Each year, she barely managed to buy their school supplies at the beginning of the school calendar, but today, with her daily savings, she is able to pay school fees on time. In addition, she says, she’s also able to respond to minor emergencies in her family without being forced into debt.

Juliette’s story shows that saving money, even if only pennies at a time, is a life changing habit. Pro-microfinance is encouraging the saving culture in the communities we work with.  As of today, we have over 2,000 micro entrepreneurs in both Kinshasa and Butembo participating in the microsaving program.

With your support, we plan to recruit and train 10 to 15 new Bwakisa Carte collectors early next year to be able to reach out to more micro entrepreneurs.

Thank you for making this happen,

Board officer Julia Smith with staff and clients
Board officer Julia Smith with staff and clients
Aug 3, 2015

Meet Mr. Presence Mutundi

Presence Mutundi with cauliflowers from his garden
Presence Mutundi with cauliflowers from his garden

We are excited to introduce Mr. Presence Mutundi.

Presence is one of the 29 participants of the joint Pro-Microfinance-Community Shamba Project training in Butembo/East DR Congo in October last year. During the two weeks hands-on permaculture design training, participants from local schools and organizations had the opportunity to learn permaculture principles promoting food security and self-sufficiency.

After the training, Mr. Presence Mutundi worked with a group of 30 people to teach them about permaculture principles. At the Mariana Primary school, a rural elementary school on the outskirts of Butembo, North Kivu there are now 30 subplots of 7 by 20 meters each, where each person trained by Presence is trying their own experimental garden using intercropping techniques and liquid manure.

Presence and his students are now reaping the corn, beans and cauliflower from their first harvest and this is just the beginning. He hopes to continue sharing these lessons and others learned from the training with members of his community.

Increasing the knowledge and skills of local communities is exactly what Pro-microfinance is passionate about. This is one of the many success stories you help to create when supporting Pro-Microfinance initiatives.

Presence Mutundi
Presence Mutundi's garden
 
   

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