Microfinance Programme in Africa
The Hunger Project’s Microfinance Programme is a training, savings and credit programme that addresses a critical missing link for the end of hunger in Africa: the economic empowerment of the most important but least supported food producers on the continent – Africa’s women.
Since the inception of the Microfinance Programme in 1999, THP has grown the loan portfolio to approximately £1.8 million across Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal and Uganda. By the end of 2011, 45,000 partners had saved a total of £1.6 million! Perhaps most importantly, 28 Rural Banks have graduated to operate as their own independent, community-owned and women-led rural financial institutions.
By providing women food farmers easy access to credit, adequate training and instilling in them the importance of saving, The Hunger Project enables women to engage in income-generating activities to increase their incomes and invest in their businesses, pay their children’s school fees, construct pit latrines, purchase medicines, pay for health care, and make home improvements or build new homes.
Furthermore, through participation in the programme, women leaders develop self-confidence and assertiveness, gaining elevated status in their households and communities. They are creating a new future where women and men are equal partners in the development of the well-being of their families and their community.
To demonstrate our commitment to all members of the community, we also offer men the opportunity to participate in the Microfinance Programme, following the same principles and procedures. However, because the focus of the programme is on rural women, we allocate close to 90 percent of all loan funds to women.
Our Microfinance Programme was originally implemented as an independent programme in 1999 (under the title, the African Woman Food Farmer Initiative-AWFFI). In 2003, the programme was incorporated into our Epicentre Strategy in Africa, an integrated rural development approach that mobilises clusters of villages where women and men are mobilised to create and run their own programmes to meet basic needs.