Group A was started in 2011 when Shannan was seeking a pre-existing group of women to work with for a university project. By selecting pre-existing groups there was an assumption that some group dynamics or level of accountability would exist to make them stronger. They also needed to be interested in business training.
The group was sourced through Herieth Mganga, a local woman with a Masters in Microfinance. She found seven women in a sewing group in a rural area called Sanguo.
The group of seven received training in creating business plans and cash flow statements. They also received a grant to start up their new business. The funds came from Shannan’s friends and family in Canada.
After the training, a contingency fund was provided for the woman to access if family or the animals became sick.
Although one woman left the group, the remaining six are committed and active members today. As the project added in new groups of women, they assist with advice and guidance back to our leadership team as well as to the new women. They have also donated pigs and chickens to other women as a sign of thanks for all that they received. A way to pay it forward.
These women have gone on to borrow the funds to create a group line of credit. They can borrow as much as they need for as long as they want. They are repaying the line of credit over several years. Whatever interest they charge themselves is kept by the group. In a small way they have self-organized into a simple credit union model of membership and shared success.
Vicky, one of the members of Group A is now the Project Coordinator in Tanzania. She is a wonderful example of hard work. Although she is single, she has built a better life for herself and 19 adopted children plus her extended family. Vicky has also proven to be an excellent farmer with many innovative and creative solutions for advancing her business.