Micro-finance Loans for Women

In 2008, TMF partnered with an Ethiopian non-profit organization to start the Women’s Small Business Loan (WSBL) Program in Dinsho, Balé, headquarters of Bale Mountains National Park. There are now 90 women in the program.

 In 2010, sixty women who had previously received individual loans through the WSBL project formed two legal, registered associations through which to administer their own loan program.  Each association received $916 as seed money.  The two groups decided to open a small shop in Dinsho to sell food items; however, rent was so high they could not make a profit.  At the request of the Women’s Affairs Office, which is helping to oversee the associations, the Dinsho District Administration built a three-room shop and rented one of the rooms to the women.  The administration is charging them only a small amount of rent, so it is hoped they will be able to make a profit.

The program has been so successful—100% payback on the loans—that our partner in Ethiopia wants to expand the program to other communities.  We believe it has been successful for several reasons.  First, Karel and Bob Waltermire visit the women in Ethiopia so they have a personal connection with the donors.  Second, when a group is selected for the program, our partner in Ethiopia trains them in bookkeeping, good business practices, and gender equality.  Third, we employ a woman who, in addition to overseeing the bookkeeping of the program, meets with the women on a regular basis to share ideas and solve any problems. 

 Besides the economic benefits, there has been another incredible change in the women’s lives. Before, they could not take part in community events such as weddings and funerals because they could not afford to give even a handful of coffee beans to the families. “We hid in our kitchens in shame,” said one woman.  Now, not only can they afford to give the expected gifts, they have the confidence to speak out in community meetings and to know their opinions are respected.  Their children’s lives have also been profoundly affected: they can attend school and have the respect of their classmates. 

Never deprive one of hope; it may be all they have

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Updated: June 14, 2013 © 2011 All Rights Reserved
The Murulle Foundation P.O. Box 1442 Fort Collins, CO 80522 USA