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.
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
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
 
   

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