“WOMENS TRUST IS PROBABLY THE BEST PROJECT I HAVE SEEN IN AFRICA “
The accolade above was given to WomensTrust this fall by Bill Easterly, author of White Man’s Burden and a world-renowned expert on the effectiveness of foreign aid. He has visited our project in Ghana twice to track progress and agreed to be interviewed informally at a recent fundraising gathering for WomensTrust in New York.
Bill has long espoused that the paternalistic “we know what’s best for you” approach to international aid does not work, suggesting instead that aid be given to empower the recipients to construct a foundation on which they can build.
“Solutions to poverty are far more likely to come from people in Africa figuring out what they need rather than from those in the West trying to impose their answers," Easterly said. “Modest efforts like WomensTrust, programs that seek homegrown solutions, are far more likely to yield meaningful reductions in poverty. The great thing about the Dana’s project is, there can be only one World Bank, but there can be 100,000 WomensTrusts.”
While praise from the former World Bank economist is gratifying on its own, the results from which it stems – the changes taking place in Pokuase – offer tangible evidence that we are playing a significant role in aiding the community in its move to sustainability. And our model has the very real potential to be successfully replicated.
The WT staff in Pokuase celebrated 100-percent loan repayment for the last quarter, which is indicative of their growing capability to manage the microlending program and their incredible teamwork. This is an exceptional achievement at a time when inflation is high and economic pressures are mounting. Because we are a bottom-up organization, we benefit from a local team who can use our training and tools to adapt in a changing environment and work with clients who, for the most part, they already know.
This microlending success reflects our local reputation and credibility. Our clients are aware that we are committed to social good – they have watched us for six years partner with the community, build constituencies for change and bring in resources they would never be able to procure on their own. These include scholarships, healthcare, training, equipment and cash – thoughtfully applied to specific programs with measurable outcomes.