Inspirational women in Tanzania
Recently, our CEO Jeremy Horner went to meet an inspirational group of women in Tanzania. emerge poverty free are working with the Sengerema Women’s Group to ensure a better life for themselves and their families.
The aim of the project is to empower vulnerable rural women in Mwanza, Tanzania by providing them with the skills to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. As part of this, the women were taught fish farming which has been a huge success. The group are proud of their achievements and rightly so. Profits from the fisheries are put into a shared bank account, from which the women can take out low cost loans to finance their small businesses or pay to support household costs. This low cost, community run savings and loan scheme has been highly successful for these women. Their poverty made access to other credit very difficult and too expensive.
Through emerge poverty free’s local partner SIDI (Sustainable Investments and Development Initiatives) and with matched funding from a national Tanzanian company, this scheme has transformed the lives of women like Alodia. She told us that she benefitted the most from the low cost loans as they have allowed her to expand her maize selling business. Before she joined the scheme, she struggled because the moneylenders used to eat up all her profits. Now, thanks to the project, she has been able to send 3 of her children to school and one to further education.
The group were pleased to show Jeremy that less than 1% of loans haven’t been paid back on time and that subsequent benefits have included planting 6,000 trees, sending 250 children to primary school and providing the members with a ration of fish at harvest. Such is the success, it has now been reported in several national newspapers including an article in the Tanzanian Guardian and the Tanzanian Citizen, (click on the link to read the article and find out more).
In less than a year the group has grown significantly. Just 15 women founded the group that now has over 250 members. However, there is still much work to be done. In the future, some of the group want to set up their own hatchery ponds so that their families can benefit even more. As a group, there are also plans to begin growing vegetables, start a hatchery pond and expand the number of ponds.
These plans will help to maximise the benefits of the project and influence more lives. With that in mind, emerge poverty free, with SIDI and our Tanzanian funding partner are also exploring how to expand the project in size and to another area, so that many more can take the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty.