Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel, recently visited MicroLoan Foundation giving them the opportunity to discuss how the Department for International Development (DFID) had helped the organisation to expand its reach and support over 6,000 of the poorest women in Southern Malawi.
The MicroLoan Foundation’s ‘Pathways from Poverty’ project began in April 2013 and ended in March 2016.
Its aim was to provide 6,300 women living in poverty in rural Malawi with loans and business training, to enable them to set up small businesses and pull themselves and their families out of poverty.
In order to do this, MicroLoan Foundation Malawi employed and trained Loan and Training Officers (LTOs) and provided them with motorbikes to reach remote rural areas where many of the most marginalised and poorest people live. The LTOs’ role was vital in identifying women with entrepreneurial potential and delivering tailored business training to provide them with the knowledge and skills to set up and run their own enterprises.
With the DFID funds, it became possible to hire 8 LTOs, as well as a project officer, and deliver the project from the 7 existing branches in Southern Malawi.
- the new LTOs enabled MicroLoan Foundation to extend its reach, meaning that 1000’s of impoverished rural women now have improved access to financial services, as well as greater monetary and business literacy
- a total of 6,409 marginalised women were economically empowered through the provision of loans and business training – over 100 more than initially projected
- the businesses they have set up have transformed the lives of their families
- the increase in household income has meant that they can now afford to buy food, send their children to school, and buy life-saving medicines
As well as the immediate increase in household income, the impact of the loans and training is long term. MicroLoan Foundation encouraged clients to save in order to build financial security and resilience. Through training and support, all of the women were able to start doing this. New clients were found to be saving 11% of the loan value, exceeding the target 10%.
The project achieved positive changes in the poverty statuses of its beneficiaries and exceeded the target number of household members who benefitted from the increase in living standards.
– DFID Project Closure Report, 2016
The impact of the loans and training has been felt by many more than just the women themselves.
A total of 37,085 people experienced a reduction in poverty as a result of the ‘Pathways from Poverty’ project.
If you want to read more about the work of MicroLoan Foundation, visit their website here (opens in a new tab)