We seeded a microfinance program last summer with James Kataliko overseeing the applications and financial management.

The take up has been modest but successful and worthwhile.  The first two loans have already been repaid in full with interest.

Masika is selling soap and she used her loan to increase her purchases and inventory.  This stimulated her sales and she tells us that the loan enabled her to buy a motorcycle which facilitates the transfer of soap to the markets.  School fees for her children have been paid up (a big deal!) and she handled an unexpected medical bill.  When James followed up with her, she indicated that she would like to have another loan.  With her track record, absolutely!

Kavugho produces and sells colourful hats, as noted in an earlier blog post.  This post was noticed by a reader in Canada who noticed that Kavugho was wearing a hat with the same colours as their university football team (the Guelph Gryphons).  After a flurry of messages, we found someone willing to bring a box of hats back with them to their home in Montreal, Quebec.  Still 600 kilometers to go, but shipping within Canada is vastly cheaper than from Congo!  Kavugho’s husband is unemployed after rebels looted the property of his employer, so the successful sale of hats is critical for her family.  She is now maintaining higher inventory levels and has also been able to pay the school fees for her two daughters.

It’s not a co-incidence that these stories both involve women as microfinance projects typically are predominantly female throughout Africa.  Visit a market and you’ll notice that a large majority in the stalls are women.  11822600_10207351351804639_7174739180485864536_n11237211_10207351351764638_5760385143816030591_n