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MICROFINANCE at MAPINDUZI

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In 2003 the women of Mapinduzi Mothers' Union told us some of their problems.

We decided to start a micro-finance scheme.

Crippled by polio at an early age, Joyce sells sweets and ice-cream outside the school. Her freezer was broken - she now has a new one. This girl learnt to sew at the Mapinduzi sewing classes and now has a small business making items such as cushion covers. She bought more ribbons and embroidery thread.


The mothers were all willing to work, but with no money and little education they did not know how to start. Their husbands sometimes had jobs, but local culture does not encourage them to contribute to housekeeping expenses. A few already had small businesses which were struggling for existence. With a little capital they could develop into larger businesses.


Fifty women had four days' business training then were lent the equivalent of £20 each. This was to be repaid either weekly or monthly over six months, with £2 interest. When repaid, they were eligible for a larger loan on similar terms.

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Some of the women sell firewood or charcoal. This is the fuel used for cooking in most households in this area. One lady keeps a sow. She used the money to repair the roof of her pigpen and to buy porcine medicines and food.
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Some of the women bring their repayments to church on Sundays. There is a good demand for underskirts. This girl used the money to buy material.



Nearly seventy women have now taken up loans. Some have repaid in half the required time, most have repaid on time and a few are struggling.
This is one of the best ways, we think, of helping families to help themselves.