Empower 300 women entrepreneurs in Africa

by The Village Net
Lift Up Africa village visit July 4, 2013
Lift Up Africa village visit July 4, 2013

The Village net thanks all of our supporters who have helped through Empowering 300 Women and the project to meet emergency food and water needs of the most impacted in Mwaani and Suswa.  The funding was met for emergency food project and thank goodness this last year has been more generous with rain in our village areas.  Water is such a critical need always.  We are working with other partners to help meet the ongoing water needs which contributes to improved health, ability to spend hours on more productive outcomes than spending hours a day in some cases, fetching water.  This project was actually partnered with Empowering 300 Women in order to make the investments have higher pay offs…empowering the women and children through better education opportunities.  If food or water deprivation exists, it normally would have long term impact on health and productivity/ability to provide livelihood in long run.

Empowering women entrepreneurs has helped increase the loan size and grow businesses which have increasing chances to add employees and provide employment—spreading the opportunity and contributing to economic development.  In addition, more children go to and stay in school, more and more nourishing meals are possible, some new housing is emerging, possibly some of these children benefiting from this will be able to go to college...all this helps stress the importance of education and literacy and training.  That has been combined with increased training to help make the businesses more productive.  Donors have helped out to the tune of almost $12,000 which has been a huge help.  Our audacious goal has $20,000 remaining.  That amount is needed to begin to meet the larger infusions for loans to grow businesses of the 80 active borrowers in Mwaani and the 80 in Suswa. The training that has been going on has been made available to 75 in Suswa alone who want to be part of the program but aren’t able to participate due to the loan fund needing expansion.

The Village Net has determined an excellent way to leverage our donors’ investments of time and money and work toward sustainable program to meet our goals “To empower women and girls in Sub-Saharan Africa through microloans, education and healthcare to break out of poverty to secure thriving, sustainable futures for themselves, their families and their villages” is to join forces with Lift Up Africa. Lift Up Africa will be TVN’s fiscal sponsor which will free us to concentrate on building the program and securing more funding.  LUA’s model is working well in Kenya where our programs are focused now.

We were able to build a sustainable model in Ofankor, Ghana by transitioning the program to LUMANA who has demonstrated in the year and a half since transition that that was a win-win move for the program participants and all involved.  Our donors can see that their initial donations continue to grow in a sustainable program.  We feel we have the good fortune to have a route to achieving a sustainable program in Kenya now with Lift Up Africa.  LUA relationship will open many more avenues of raising funds—building the loan fund and get more engaged in being able to work with other partners and resources to help in the whole process.  How this plays out with Global Giving, Lift Up Africa will apply to be on Global Giving specifically with one of its funding projects to be the TVN program.  We are hopeful that this can continue the Empowering 300.  We’ll let you know how to find us to continue following what a difference your support is making. 

We are committed to empowering women to sustain their family’s ability to survive and thrive. Huge thanks for your continued support and dedication.  It does take a global village and YOU to make this happen.

Existing and potential future beneficiaries of GG
Existing and potential future beneficiaries of GG


Teacher and children at school - beneficiaries
Teacher and children at school - beneficiaries

The Village Net thanks all of our supporters who have hit that donate button and started or enhanced  a process of growth and empowerment for highly motivated underserved microentrepreneurs --women living on less than $1.25 a day when they first start with the program.

Empowering women entrepreneurs project has been a big help to increasing the loan fund for the women which allows the loans to be increased in size and number.  We find that empowering though is a long term concept to achieve sustainable thriving increase in living standards as one works her way out of poverty. In our villages annual drought is an almost given now which makes the loan program very challenged.  Food supply is threatened.  Health is threatened with lack of clean water.  Hours and hours are spent getting water which is often not clean.  Or money is not available to buy water or must run competition with paying loans back.  The time spent cuts into effectively being able to run businesses.

TVN is partnering with others to help secure water solutions in Suswa and Mwaani.  For example one partnership was able to provide water tanks on a school that is being built in a Maasai village of about 9,600 residents.  The school's intended enrollment is half children from village families and half orphans. There are now two grades functioning--the first graders were able to move into the facility that is being built...They graduated and are sharing space as the next room is being constructed. There was no water on the school grounds.  We were able to help the school secure two  water tanks which will help provide water for the school and TVN borrowers.  Water will be collected when it rains and will be able to provide water for the school while charging a small fee to be able to pay for the water and maintenance during the drought season.  This will also serve as space and market for coops which will be able to synergistically provide for the needs of the school and planned orphanage.  The women should be able to spend time more productively on their businesses and the availability of water during drought should increase people's ability to continue economic activity helping the borrowers pay their loans back and helping provide food during drought season. 

Your support has helped to increase loan size and grow businesses.  It has enabled women to put food on the table, pay for schooling for their children (which often includes orphans), secure clean water, help strategically to work through the drought times, help secure water catchment and tank means as the loan size is increased.

We are committed to empowering women to sustain their family's ability to survive and thrive.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication.  It does take a global village and YOU to make this happen.

Pelete Parkire and family outside dung house
Pelete Parkire and family outside dung house

Since our initial donor group of 49 partnered with Global Giving in April, 2011, generous donors have contributed over $5,000 to The Village Net’s African programs.  This is a significant part of the funding required for initial microloans or increasing loans to over 150 women business owners.   Specifically, $1,000 to one village allowed
the loan program to accept 20 new borrowers, and the additional interest raised from those loans moved 3 current borrowers to the Entrepreneur Club level.  This level includes women who receive advanced business training and are qualified to receive loans of up to $500.

Our borrowers typically support their families on less than $2 per day,  and a starting loan of $50 has an immediate positive impact on their ability to provide for basic needs.  Women typically start putting more food on their tables, or serving more meals in a day.  They can afford uniforms and school supplies needed to send more children to school,  and they can barter for better market prices for their products with the additional cash, increasing their profit margins.

A particular indicator of progress in Kenya has been that women save over time to repair their homes or build new ones.  Pelete Parkire has taken 5 loans from TVN.  Through these 5 loan cycles, she was able to
procure the materials to build a new home. She has now relocated her family from their manyatta house (made of cow dung) to her newly built and furnished dream home.  Pelete's before and after photos are below.

Sawoina Meyoki works as a charcoal vendor, a physically challenging job, in order to support her family.   When Sawoina took out her second loan from TVN, she became so ill that TVN was worried about her recovery and ability to repay her loan.  The team was considering writing off the loan.  Happily, Sawoina did recover and worked out a repayment plan with TVN that allowed her to continue her business.  When she moved to her 3rd loan level, she began assembling the materials she needed to build a semi-permanent house.  She and her family now live in that new furnished home.

Our Global Giving donors have made a direct impact on the lives of women in our villages.  Your support has
enabled them to improve the standard of living for their families in so many ways, and allowed them to not only continue working in their businesses, but to grow their businesses.  You have helped build a foundation from which the women can continue to pull themselves and their families out of poverty, and you have given them the ability to achieve more for themselves than was ever anticipated.  We are all so grateful for your concern and support!

Pelete and her new dream home
Pelete and her new dream home

The Village Net thanks all of our supporters for your continued involvement or recently joining us in the Empowering 300 Women project as well as those of you who picked up the challenge to help out with the emergency food distribution program.  

Your support came at a critical time for the villages in Kenya.  An anonymous donor added to the emergency food distribution program to enable distribution of emergency food to over 50 individuals most of whom represented a sole provider in the family. 

The increase in loans enabled the women to make it through the drought and be able to be ready for increased activity which is now resulting from rainy season kicking in…finally.

In both Kenyan villages going forward the loans are strategically going to support water co-ops to help prepare for and prevent  the ravages of the droughts while providing sustainable business opportunities for our borrowers.  Your partnership in this is critical.

We are committed to empowering women to sustain their family’s ability to survive and thrive.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication.  It does take a global village and YOU to make this happen. 

The Village Net thanks all of our supporters for your continued involvement in this project. The impact we are having is tangible and we are really making a difference in the lives of many women and their families. We could not do this without your help.

Our borrowers continue to set and achieve their business goals and are realizing them every day. With the small additional amount they are able to save they are able to help their families through the seasonal hardships that are a constant factor in their lives. But they still need our help. The drought in East Africa that lasted several months this summer was one of the worst in recent years. Though the rains have finally come, many of the women have been unable to recover. So many of their businesses are agriculture, and even those that are not have lost customers who whose businesses were decimated. 

We began an emergency food distribution program in the 2 villages in Kenya we are in to help the most needy in each village be able to feed their families during the drought. This project is still ongoing and is helping keep our borrowers in business.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication, we wouldn't be where we are today without you.


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Organization Information

The Village Net

Location: Seattle, Wa - USA
Website: http:/​/​thevillagenet.org/​
Project Leader:
Harriet Stephenson
Seattle, Wa United States

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