Micro Loans Program
Power of Love’s women’s empowerment program has improved the quality of life of hundreds of women and their families. At present, this program benefits more than 11,000 (current enrollees and graduates) vulnerable adults and children in Zambia. All 551 women enrolled receive three loans, business training, ongoing business mentoring, and monitoring. All training is COVID safe, participative, hands on, and in the local language as most women have never been to school. So far, this year 680 women received business training, 81 new loans were added, 470 women received refresher training, 255 women received business mentorship. In addition, all women and their families receive insecticide treated nets to keep them safe from malaria and so that children do not miss school due to ill health. Finally, clean cooking stoves were provided to 8,500 community members and education on COVID is provided regularly. All these program activities help families break the vicious cycle of poverty, poor health, and low education so they can and enjoy a higher quality of life. Micro loans, along with training and support, are transformative.
How Loans and Training in Business Change Lives
In the short term, earnings from businesses help pay for food, medicines, rent and school expenses. The diet and nutrition of all families improves leading to better health; more than 1,100 children are attending school/skills training classes, families are better informed about HIV prevention, many women have invested in income earning assets such as an extra room or a plot of land, and loan recipients have built strong social networks. In addition, the women have become more financially literate, and many loan recipients enjoy a higher status in the community.
In the long term, the community is stronger and more self-reliant as more children graduate high school, women encourage others to work hard, there is reduced HIV related stigma, and there is a change in the culture as men come forward to help with businesses. All these lead to social and economic empowerment of women and improved gender equity.
Next steps and plan for Nov/Dec 2021
- Provide 50 new loans to bring the total to 600.
- Provide business training to 209 women.
- Provide refresher training to an additional 81 women to bring the total to 551 women this year.
- Provide business mentoring to an additional 215 women to bring the total to 470 women in 2021.
- Track the 551 active businesses, so they continue to operate in the community.
- Stay connected with graduates and encourage them to mentor/train new loan recipients.
- Encourage recipients of clean cooking stove recipients to use these as an income generating asset.
- Launch a program for women/families to start back yard gardens.
At Power of Love, we measure success by ensuring sustainability of the family and not so much by repayment rates and financial sustainability of our program. Further, since this project is part of a larger comprehensive health care program, the impact is much bigger and sustained over a long period of time.
Thanks for giving vulnerable women an opportunity to become successful entrepreneurs.