The Power of Love team and families in our micro loans program would like to thank you for your continued support and caring. With your help, we are able to provide business training, loan capital to start a business, business mentoring, and education on prevention of HIV to first time women entrepreneurs in Zambia. Earnings from businesses help the women pay for food, medicines, rent, and school expenses. In a relatively short span of time (about 10-18 months), most women learn how to run a business, have gathered enough capital to continue running their business, and become a part of a strong social network; all of which help break the vicious circle of poverty and low education. In addition, many become role models and mentors for others in their community.
Our Family of Frist Time Women Entrepreneurs is Growing: In April 2016, we were able to provide business training and new loans to 50 first time women entrepreneurs. With the addition of these 50 new loans, we now have a total of 322 active loans that benefit about 2,250 people directly as each woman cares for seven people on average.
Next Steps: In September 2016, we will be providing an additional 50 new loans to women entrepreneurs. This will bring the total number of active loans to 372, benefitting over 4000 people directly and indirectly.
Impact of our Microloans Program
Short and Long Term Impact on the Family: Economic and social empowerment of families is illustrated by:
- all families are eating 2-3 meals per day as compared to one meal before enrollment,
- almost all women have purchased household items like pots, pans, radios, used TV’s and toys for their children,
- most women have been able to pay for school expenses (uniforms, shoes, school bags, fees),
- most women are learning to save and about 40% are saving a small amount each week,
- about 20% of the women are saving via bank accounts (as compared to less than 5% before enrollment),
- a few women purchased land for building and/or farming which ensures an income in the future,
- a majority of businesses have expanded,
- most women have understood the importance of keeping children in school,
- most women have better knowledge of HIV care and prevention and
- the women have built strong social networks and relationships of mutual support.
Short and Long Term Impact on the Community:
- Add value: Businesses started add value for the whole community as they:
- provide increased convenience. Residents have to travel shorter distances and can purchase smaller quantities,
- are new to the community and may provide an element of luxury to the residents. For e.g. a hair salon that may offer basic hair styling and braiding for girls.
- Change in culture:
- some men (husbands and sons) start helping in the business,
- women start saving at home or in a bank.
- Prevention of HIV: families are better informed about the HIV prevention & care.
- Reduction of stigma associated with HIV due to better information.
Why is this Program Successful? Our micro loans program has been successful as it is a part of a comprehensive program that includes pediatric HIV care, malaria prevention, and “Safe Park” programs. Since a family can be enrolled in multiple programs, in addition to learning how to run a business, the women learn how to care for their HIV positive children/family members, the importance of keeping children in school, and HIV and malaria prevention. This multi-pronged approach significantly increases the loan recipient’s chances of success in business.
To Sum: As of August 2016, we have worked with 606 women and 284 have graduated from the program. We are thrilled as out of the 284 women, 196 are still running successful businesses in the community. Moreover, more than one-third of the women graduates have made investments in land, shops, and home extensions so they have a sustained source of income.
By October 2016, we will have 372 active loans with more than 4000 direct and indirect beneficiaries. As a result of this program, more than 700 children have been able to attend school and all families are seeing an improvement in their health due to a better diet.
Thanks for empowering women in Zambia.