TEMBO’s micro-business program supports women in Longido District to develop income generating activities that lead to economic independence and enhanced quality of life for themselves and their families. Many of the women in the area live a very traditional lifestyle, while others have some education and/or varying degrees of basic business experience. We have learned that access to credit is only one factor in their achieving their goals. Accordingly, we have developed a number of strategies:
Currently, TEMBO provides microfinance loans to over 136 women. Based on the work of Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank, women work together in groups to support one another with business development and scheduled loan repayments. The women in the TEMBO microfinance loan program use the loan to operate businesses such as small restaurants and a pharmacy. Some women sell chickens and eggs or traditional fabrics, and others set up vegetable stands at the Saturday market.
Groups apply to participate in the program, and each borrower must have a ‘goal’. The ‘goal’ defines her objective and how she plans to achieve it; in other words, a simple business plan. All borrowers must attend regular periodic meetings (2-3 per year). After five years, TEMBO celebrates with the women as they graduate from the program. While many continue to operate their established small businesses, a few are able to secure larger loans from local financial institutions to expand their businesses.
Women’s Goat Program
Microfinance loans do not suit the situation of some of the very traditional women in Longido District given their limited access to markets and their lack of even a basic understanding of commerce. In response to this gap, TEMBO has developed a Women’s Goat Program in two villages: Kimokouwa and Oldorko. The program is loosely modeled on the work of Heifer International in that TEMBO works with existing women’s groups in the village to identify 15 women, each of whom receives 2 female, drought tolerant goats. As the goats mature and give birth, the first two female goat babies are passed on to other women in the village and the program expands. Initiated in 2011, the Kimokouwa Goat Project now includes over 50 women while the Oldorko program, initiated in 2015, includes 15 women.
The growth and stability of the goat project is a direct result of the involvement and commitment of our local staff. They have built into the program two key success factors: a two-day seminar conducted prior to the distribution of the goats where everyone, including the men in the households, acknowledges that the women own the goats; and the ongoing support of TEMBO Trust staff knowledgeable in animal husbandry.