Posts Tagged :

Microfinance

Meet Giselle.

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This Christmas, we’re on a mission to provide 500 Microfinance Loans to women in Africa before the end of the year.

What does this enable for women in Africa? Meet Giselle from Benin. She received a microfinance loan and financial literacy training from The Hunger Project. She created her own thriving business, earns an income and is lifting her family out of hunger.

We developed, our assets grew, and with it our businesses grew too. Now we have the ability to take care of our children and we can send them to school and college.” – Giselle.

Hitting new milestones

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190+ people over the past five years have raised more than $2.1 million through participating in THP’s unique individual leadership immersion programs in Uganda, Malawi, Senegal, Ghana, India and Bangladesh. Breaking the $2 million mark for the first time is cause for celebration! This is an enormous collective effort, and these funds translate into real, tangible change for our village partners. The impact of that amount could look like this*:

 

From the everyday to the unfamiliar

The immersion programs lift participants out of their everyday lives and transplant them into an unfamiliar environment, full of new ideas and possibilities. No matter which country the program takes them to, participants meet THP village partners, and explore how they mobilise their rural communities to powerfully overcome the challenges of a lack of food, resources, healthcare and education.

Australian program participants are encouraged to discover the leadership distinctions demonstrated by our village partners, and apply those learnings to their own lives – often discovering in the process that we have a lot more in common with someone from a remote village in Uganda or India than you first may think.

Reflections

This is what three of the 190+ program participants had to say when reflecting on their own immersion experience:

“The experience I gained is to step forward, make a commitment and stand tall in what I believe in. I learnt these skills from the women within the group, the program facilitators, the women and men we met in the villages. It all showed me that anything is achievable with the right mindset.”
Melinda Webb

“The villagers – women, men and children – have taught me optimism and strength, resilience and vulnerability. Even on their different levels of reliance, the women showed courage in moving forward with what they had – and not what they wanted or needed. And instead of self-indulgence, they are quick to act and lead when opportunity presents itself.”
Evelyn Gibson

“Women who had little resources and extremely challenging living conditions were doing amazing things and living joyful and fulfilling lives, providing outstanding role models to others, and creating opportunities for their families and communities for many generations to come. This was extremely humbling and made me reflect deeply on my life and my fears.”
Jackie Howard

*Funds are applied to the area of greatest need.

Interested in knowing more about our immersion programs?

Meet Louise

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Louise is from a small village in Benin, West Africa. She lives with her six children and her husband, who works the land and grows corn.   

In the past, Louise wasn’t allowed to participate in decision-making, either in her own home or the community – simply for being a woman. Traditional cultural practices meant Louise didn’t have a voice of her own.  

When she participated in The Hunger Project‘s unique Vision, Commitment, Action workshop, Louise saw that she had vision for the future and that she could be the one to turn it into reality. Since then, she has gained confidence in her own capacity and leadership, and has become the leader of a microfinance group within her community. Her opinions, and her voice, are now respected.

“Before, my voice wasn’t heard when I brought something up for discussion. Now, I am part of the village council. I bring the local women together around microfinance, and I also share information I’ve learned about the importance of reading and writing, nutrition and hygiene,” Louise says.  

As a result of leading the small, local microfinance group, she has been able to expand her fruit, corn and peanut businesses to support her family – together with her husband. She now also advises other women on running their small businesses.  

When the microfinance group gathers, Louise also takes the opportunity to educate them on literacy, health and nutrition, so that the whole community flourishes. 

“It gives me a lot of joy when I see the results of my work. For example, many women are now supporting their families financially – and they know how to feed their children nutritious food. That makes me feel good. I will stand by these women to achieve what they want,” she says.  

There are many ways you can partner with people like Louise:

  1. Invest with a one-off or monthly gift 
  2. Share Louise’s story on social media and tag The Hunger Project Australia
  3. Read more about our work in Africa
  4. Learn about our leadership immersion programs to Africa, India and Bangladesh

 

Meet the Champiti community

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The Champiti community in Malawi used to live in chronic hunger and poverty.

Dennis is a member of Champiti and he said his entire community was suffering terribly. There were no roads and the nearest hospital was two days’ walk away.

“Pregnant women would attempt to walk to the hospital but go into labour on the way. Mothers and infants died. Those infants who survived were not vaccinated. The hospital was just too far away,” Dennis said. 

The Campiti thought there was no way out. They had no vision for their future.

“We thought this was our lot in life… we had no hope for our future,” Dennis said.  

The Hunger Project set up Vision, Commitment, Action workshops, as well as entrepreneurship training and microfinance loans in Champiti and now the locals have reached the historic milestone of self-reliance.

Thanks to investors like you 100% of the Champiti community have access to clean, safe water, 100% of births are attended to by a licensed professional, fewer than 1% are living in hunger, 95% of households have at least one literate person, and amazingly there has been a 680% increase in children attending secondary school.   

There are many ways you can partner with the people of Champiti:

  1. Invest with a one-off or monthly gift
  2. Share the story of the people from Champiti on social media and tag The Hunger Project Australia
  3. Read more about our work in Africa
  4. Learn about our leadership immersion programs to Africa, India and Bangladesh

Meet Amina

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Amina used to live in chronic hunger. She could not see any way out of the repetitive daily struggle to survive. She had no hope for the future.

Her life involved spending days gather wood, walking for hours to collect water, and back-breaking work in the fields to try and grow enough food to feed her family. Every day was the same for Amina.

“My children didn’t go to school. Why would they need to go to school just to work in the fields?” Amina said. 

Her life changed because someone like you invested in her. She attended one of The Hunger Project’s Vision, Commitment, Action workshops where Amina learned that she had the power to change her life. For the first time, she created a vision for her future, made a commitment to herself, and learned how to take action and achieve her new visions. 

“Now I have a successful soap making business, I have learned how to grow vegetables and make nutritious meals for my family and I have a beautiful vegetable garden. My children go to school and I work with my husband in his business. Together we make joint decisions about our children and our money,” Amina said. 

Finding her vision for her future, Amina is now committed to helping others in her village achieve their own vision and end their own hunger. Her entire village is being transformed thanks to the partnerships and investments from people like you. 

There are many ways you can partner with people like Amina:

  1. Invest with a one-off or monthly gift 
  2. Share Amina’s story on social media and tag The Hunger Project Australia
  3. Read more about our work in Africa
  4. Learn about our leadership immersion programs to Africa, India and Bangladesh

 

 

 

Meet Dennis

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Before The Hunger Project came to his community, Dennis was living in severe hunger.

“Sometimes I found small jobs to do in exchange for food. Sometimes I would have to beg for food. Sometimes I would have to steal from my neighbours. Often, I would have to fall asleep without eating. I nearly died of hunger,” Dennis said. 

His life was transformed because someone like you invested in him. Dennis attended farming technique workshops set up by The Hunger Project in his community of Champiti. By applying what he learned, he tripled the yield of his family’s farm. His family now have enough food for the entire year and even have some produce left over to sell locally.

Thanks to entrepreneurship training and a microfinance loan he received from The Hunger Project, Dennis and his wife Bernadette are now the proud owners of a grocery store.

“I am transformed… My three-year-old son Cheos eats three times a day, every day. He has never slept on an empty stomach,” Dennis said.

Right now, there are people who are living in severe hunger and urgently need your support. Please make a tax-deductible donation before June 30 and partner with people like Dennis. Your investment will make sure people, families and communities can achieve their vision of ending poverty and hunger.

 

 

 

Meet Emilienne

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Emilienne is from a small village in Benin; one of the poorest countries in the world where more than half of the population live on less than $1.90 per day. Debilitating hunger is widespread.

Emilienne didn’t go to school – her parents couldn’t afford the fees and they needed her to work on the family farm. Like many of her friends, she never learned to read or write. Before The Hunger Project came to her village, life was incredibly hard for Emilienne.

“I was working on the land. My earnings weren’t enough to feed my children.” Her children were malnourished. Every day was a struggle to survive and the future looked no different. “Saving money wasn’t possible. The thought of it didn’t even cross my mind.”

When we last visited Emilienne earlier this year, she was full of joy as she proudly showed us her thriving peanut cookie business. The eight women she employs were busy grilling peanuts, treating the peanut dough and frying cookies.

Emilienne was given an opportunity to change her life through The Hunger Project’s programs in her village. She received business skills training, literacy and numeracy education as well as a microfinance loan.

“I learned how to draw up a business plan and the importance of saving.”

She used the loan and skills she learned to start the peanut cookie business. Today, business is booming.

“I’m still applying the knowledge I gained in The Hunger Project’s entrepreneurship workshops” she says.

She has increased production and invested in new machinery to improve efficiency. When she first started, Emilienne was selling a small number of peanut cookies at the local markets.

“Now, I sell cookies in large quantities to other women who sell them individually. I also process 10 bags of 105 kg of peanuts a week, from which I make 5 large baskets of peanut butter and 250 litres of peanut oil.”

 

Emilienne is also determined to help others.

“I am a volunteer for the agricultural bank and I run leadership training in my community. I like to be active in my village. My children now attend school.”

Empower women like Emilienne today. 

Empowering women with financial freedom

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Microfinancing programs provide a powerful platform from our village partners can transform their lives. They are empowered with knowledge and training about effective savings and credit practices, before they’re given access to microfinance loans that traditional banking systems usually deny those living in developing areas.

With as little as $60, we can provide one woman, who is currently living in poverty, with a microfinance loan and financial literacy training that will change her life. With the money she borrows she could start a small business, earn an income and provide for her family.

Microfinance loans are critical to ending hunger and poverty, as they result in sustainable change that benefits the whole community. Through the loans, small trade businesses are created, farming and agricultural practices improve, crop levels and storage capacity increases and a sense of economic independence evolves. As the economy improves and communities head toward self-reliance – nutritional, educational and healthcare practices also improve. Families can eat more nutritious food, illnesses are treated and prevented and children are able to attend school to become confident leaders of future generations.

The Hunger Project places women at the centre of our microfinance programs, not only because they account for 70% of the worlds’ hungry, but because when women are empowered the whole community benefits. They focus on the important issues, share their knowledge and they look for solutions to the challenges that face them.

Pictured: Emilienne from Benin. Emilienne runs a successful peanut cookie business.

Photo credit:Johannes Odé

Laurinda’s Story

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Laurinda Fabião Ngovene is a resident of Djodjo village at Chokwe Epicentre in Mozambique. She has one daughter and has been invovled with The Hunger Project since 2006. She joined The Hunger Project during her first Vision, Commitment and Action workshop in her community.

Laurinda moved into leadership roles in the community, serving as the head of the microcredit bank where she was in charge of distributing loans. She has also taken on the task of being a leader at the Epicentre’s Water and Environmental Sanitation program. She even served as a board member of the Rural Bank in Chokwe.

Laurinda says The Hunger Project’s programs have helped her empower her community to become sustainable. She has benefited from the Agriculture Loan Revolving Fund where local farmers access seed and fertilizer loans at the start of the planting season. She uses the fund to produce corn, beans and vegetables at the association’s farm.

The income from her agricultural activity has made significant improvements in her life. With the first credit she received, she bought a cow. Six years later she now has five cows that she uses for plowing in her business.

Laurinda also sees the benefits of the Epicentre’s health center that helps keep farmers healthy and thereby increases productivity. She still recognizes several challenges, such as a lack of transportation methods. As a result, she is striving to help her community acquire bicycles to facilitate carrying out mobilization activities, and a truck to carry products from the farm to market.

Post courtesy of The Hunger Project Global Office

How Louise’s life has changed in five years

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When we first met Louise five years ago, she shared with us how The Hunger Project had given her the confidence to be a leader in her community. Thanks to a microfinance loan, she had just started a business selling fruit, corn and peanuts and had big dreams for the future.

Five years on, when we arrive in the village of Dotan, Louise is waiting for us with her women’s group. They are dancing and singing when they meet us.

“I have become much more independent. My life has expanded, with the support of The Hunger Project. Before, I mainly traded in corn, now I also have a shop with homewares and clothes.”

Louise is also a volunteer health leader for her community. If residents have concerns about their treatment at the health post, they talk to Louise. She makes sure that their concerns are addressed.

“I give advice on the importance of family planning. I help deliver polio vaccines provided by the government. I’m also active in a committee that monitors the work of the public health post.”

Louise’s incredible work doesn’t stop there. She has taught more than 80 women in her village to read and write, to ensure that everyone can become socially independent like she is.

“I teach a small group of women to read and write. I would love to help all these women to achieve what they want, to realise their dreams. In this way our community advances.”

“In five more years I hope to be living with my children in a new, bigger house… I want to expand my business even more. I am also going to buy additional farmland to farm maize with the help of seasonal workers. The income from this will be my retirement plan, for the future when I can not work anymore.”

Story from Mariken Stolk.

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