Friday, April 9, 2010

Beatha's Big Change

Check out Beatha from Rwanda's story of how her Savings for Life group has impacted her!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Field Note: Hekima Microfinance DR Congo

by Gareth Evans, Deputy Director of Economic Development, World Relief

I am currently in Goma, Eastern DR Congo with Hekima, World Relief's microfinance institution (click here for their Kiva profile)

Hekima was started in 2003 and has grown to be the most successful microfinance institution in the area. They are currently in the processing of adding new innovative products and services such as Teacher and Agricultural loans.

The Teacher loans will help teachers spend more time in the class room teaching, rather than supplementing their (sporadic and meager) incomes by working elsewhere. It will also mean that they are less dependent on parents paying their school fees in a lump sum, which will give parents a longer time period to pay the fees and will stop their children from being sent home for non-payment.

The agricultural loans will help farmers improve their incomes by providing access to finance for improved (expensive) seeds and fertilizer, which will improve yields giving them more crops to sell. Access to finance will also mean that farmers should be able to hold on to their stock for longer and not need to accept a low price for their crop, therefore further improving their income.

These two new products that are being developed are a small example of the work that Hekima is doing to support the poor in eastern DR Congo. The areas in which Hekima operates are extremely fragile and suffer from instability and have been drastically affected by volcanic activity. Yet, by helping to improve the livelihoods of the vulnerable, Hekima is improving the stability of the region.

Helping to alleviate poverty is a huge task, and Hekima is only able to do this thanks to the contributions donors make to World Relief. Thank you for your ongoing support.