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United nations microfinance

united nations microfinance

Microfinance for Poverty Reduction

NUNV Maluba H. Wakung'uma at Chongwe village with group of women from the microfinance project during the DATA visit of Erin Thornton and Tom Hart. With beneficiary Ether and NUNV D. Lutangu. (Photo: UNV/Jean Baptiste Avril) Basic loan passbook of the 'Microfinance for Poverty Reduction' project in Chongwe, Zambia. (Photo: UNV) Mr Taulo, tailor at the market place, beneficiary of the Microfinance for Poverty Reduction project in Chongwe, Zambia. (Photo: UNV/Jean Baptiste Avril)

23 August 2007

People living with or affected by HIV/AIDS are faced with a multitude of challenges: they must deal not only with medical problems, but also with social discrimination and economic difficulties. In Zambia, the Microfinance for Poverty Reduction project made financial services accessible to poor people, largely women, living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.

Working together with two local NGOs, Micro Bankers Trust and the Institute of Cultural Affairs in Zambia, and with the technical support of the Grameen Trust of Bangladesh, 14 UNV volunteers developed an effective microfinance model. Micro-loans totalling US$160,788 were given to 2,400 people. One year on, a 100% loan recovery rate has been recorded.

Cecilia Mwansakilwa has

7 children ranging from 1-18 years old. She got a loan of K300,000 ($62) and bought a sack of peanuts and some bottles. She ground the peanuts to make peanut butter and in 2 weeks, she had made a profit of K50,000 ($13). Her weekly repayment is K15,800 ($4), so she is able to spend the rest on her children and household needs. “The project people are now my family,” she says, “they have helped me so much”.

The project contributes to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals of eradicating poverty and hunger, ensuring gender equality and the empowerment of women, and combating HIV/AIDS.

According to UNV Programme Officer Robert Palmer, “Beneficiaries were able to work together in groups and support each other economically, socially and emotionally. Women’s access to and to a large extent control over money strengthened the marital relationship, thus gender power relations were also positively impacted.”

Various training workshops were held for borrowers to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, volunteerism as a driving force for development, as well as to strengthen leadership capacities. At the same time, the project mobilized and sensitized the community, enhancing the concept of solidarity and mutual aid.

Category: Payday loans

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