Nearly 68% of Tanzania’s population struggles to survive on less than $1.25 USD a day. Poverty is a particularly severe and often tragic burden for Tanzanian girls and women, whose educational and employment opportunities are extremely limited. Early marriage, early pregnancies, polygamy and domestic violence frequently prevent girls and women from working their way out of poverty.
In response, W4’s field partner WEDTF is opening doors to economic empowerment and financial independence for women on the islands of Unguja and Pemba, Zanzibar through its microfinance program.
The solutions we're proposing
Following the Grameen Bank model, local women join forces to form small lending groups and then, together, participate in a compulsory, two-week pre-loan training course. Microloans ranging from USD 34 to USD 1,400 are then granted to these groups of women to enable them to establish their income-generating projects, which often take the form of agricultural or horticultural activities such as seaweed farming, livestock husbandry, or cottage industries. Alternatively, women also have access to entrepreneurship training sessions which equip them with the education and knowledge they need to open shops or kiosks to sell fruit, firewood, and charcoal and thereby create a sustainable income.
Importantly, the program also promotes a culture of savings mobilization as members are required to put a percentage of their earnings into a savings account, to which each woman has access once her loan is repaid. This system encourages long-term, sustainable financial (self-)support for these women.
The impact of giving
The positive effects of investing in women’s livelihood projects are manifold: the women’s small-scale businesses provide them and their families with steady and increased revenues; their businesses generate much-needed employment opportunities for other members of their communities; and, crucially, women benefit from increased self-respect and esteem from their peers and elders which, over time, will help to change attitudes and eradicate common prejudices.
With an investment of even 5 euros, you can offer these women the opportunity to earn a higher income and gain greater financial independence, enabling them to cover the costs of sending their children to school and provide their families with adequate healthcare and proper nutrition.