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. The vast majority of women in the area follow a pastoralist way of life, lack basic education and human rights. TEMBO works to support this group of marginalized women by providing them with access to micro-finance loans or goats.
Currently, TEMBO provides microfinance loans to over 100 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.
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Microfinance loans do not suit the situation of some of the very traditional women living in remote villages given their limited access to markets. In response to this gap, TEMBO has developed a Women’s Goat Program in three villages: Kimokouwa, Oldorko and Mayaka. 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.
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 staff knowledgeable in animal husbandry.