This projects funds a self-sustaining microfinance initiative issuing collateral-free, interest-bearing loans, for as little as $50, to poor women in rural Zambia to assist them in starting businesses, building assets, and gaining business skills so that they can generate income on a long-term basis, permanently improving their household living standards, and achieving financial independence for themselves and their families.
An estimated five million impoverished women are living in villages where they have no access to financial services. Over 90 percent of people in these villages are self-employed. Without access to financial services, these rural women have no opportunity to start a business to help their families. They and their families are mired in an unbroken cycle of economic isolation that condemns them to a subsistence existence.
Kukula Solar will screen, train and issue loans of $50 - $250 to impoverished women to start businesses. Kukula Solar will organize borrower meetings, conduct site visits, provide ongoing business education, and introduce women to dealing with the local bank. The key to the loan program's success is that the women become empowered. Women learn to keep business records, hone their entrepreneurial skills, and increase their self-confidence.
Empowering women living in desperate poverty in rural Zambia promotes in-country development from the bottom up. Women become involved in grassroots movements and advocate for far-reaching social and economic changes in their own country. The borrowers' priorities for the use of their profits are better nutrition, healthcare, and paying school fees for their children. Kukula Solar provides outreach in all of these areas by empowering women with options to provide better care for their families.