Happy Mother's day! This Mother’s day give a gift of empowerment to first time women entrepreneurs who are struggling to take care of their families and pay for school expenses for their children. You can empower women by providing them with training in marketable skills, and loans to start a business.
Last month we celebrated moms and grandmothers everywhere by expanding our micro loans program. Fifty first time entrepreneurs were provided with business training and new loans to start businesses in their community of Matero in Lusaka, Zambia. Over the course of four days, 50 women went through an intensive business training course, at the end which they presented a business plan. All 50 women completed the training successfully and are now putting the business techniques learnt into practice.
Businesses started with these loans are diverse and range from selling groceries, used shoes, used clothing and toys to school jerseys, cell phone covers, light fixtures, batteries, and wedding accessories. For the next two years, the new entrepreneurs will be supported by a strong network of other loan recipients, weekly informational meetings, business mentorship meetings, refresher trainings, and field visits. Earnings from these new businesses help pay for food, rent, medicines, clothing, and school expenses for their children.
With the addition of these 50 new entrepreneurs, we will have a total of 500 businesses operating in the community. Over the last 10 years, our loans program has helped start over 600 businesses; 70% of which are still operating in the community and helping keep children healthy and in school.
Impact of our Microloans Program
Economic empowerment: earnings from businesses help pay for food, rent, medicines and school expenses. Social empowerment: women build strong social networks, and many become role models and mentors.
Impact on the community: Businesses started add value for the whole community as they: (i) provide increased convenience for residents. Residents have to travel shorter distances and they can purchase in smaller quantities, (ii) are unique and provide an element of luxury to the residents. For e.g. a hair salon that may offer basic hair styling and braiding for girls, (iii) increase in information and skill level as our beneficiaries share their learning, and (iv) change the culture (via savings, men helping in stores run by the women)
1. Prevention of HIV: Loan recipients learn about HIV care, treatment and prevention and the importance of voluntary testing and counseling. All of these lead to HIV prevention.
2. Reduction of stigma associated with HIV: Discussions regarding HIV care and prevention with peers and better knowledge leads to a reduction in the stigma associated with this disease.
3. Increased attendance at school as the children improve in health due to better care and nutrition.
To Sum: Earnings from businesses enable several hundred women to take better care of their families, keep children healthy, and pay for school and other household expenses. In addition, new women entrepreneurs have become role models, teachers, and mentors as they share their experiences and knowledge with others in the community.
Thanks for empowering women in Zambia.