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From dusty|muddy roads to successful small business: Looking for a micro-loan partner in Congo!

When Action Kivu’s team visited Congo, these roads were muddy, rutted, and dangerous. During the dry season, they’re dusty and dangerous.  Women walk them from Mumosho to Bukavu, their backs bearing loads of up to 50 kilograms of charcoal or wood, with the hopes but no guarantees of selling the goods in city’s markets.  Walking alongside trucks and often in the dark of dusk, they are constantly at risk.

Action Kivu’s partner ABFEK wants to keep them in their own villages, working in their own small businesses with the help of micro-loans.With the loans, the women could grown and sell fruits and vegetables, sell banana beer, woven baskets, fish, bread, palm oil, and more, at the Mumosho Peace Market.

A pilot micro-loan program ABFEK conducted with 50 women was a great success, and we want to find a long-term partnership to provide more micro-loans to the over 130 women who are interested in starting a business. 



From our partner:

Women in these villages are often the primary source of income for their families, and are the most affected by the ongoing conflict in the region, subjected to rape by gunmen and domestic violence. There are many widows, and many men have left the community for mining areas located far from the Mumosho district. Women have been confronting the legacy of rape for their entire lives in eastern Congo.

The women are extremely poor, with no sources of income. Many are war widows and many others suffer from domestic violence for no other reason than their gender.  They have children but cannot afford to send them to school, to feed them, clothe them, or give them a home, and in that context, there is no hope to save any money while trying to meet basic needs.

The women who will receive the micro-loans are already trained by ABFEK on micro-finance and worked previously with Resolve Network; they already know how to choose and manage an income generating activity, design a business plan and manage a loan. ABFEK organized a micro-loan pilot project in 2011 – 2012 in which 50 women received micro-loans after a two week training on general micro-finance basics. Their loans ranged between $30USD and $250USD based on their business plans and experience.

After 12 months, 99% of the women participants successfully repaid their loans, working in cooperatives of 10 women. A weekly meeting was held for the group members to share successes and failures in their businesses.

At the end of the pilot project, the women were able to make remarkable changes in their everyday lives which motivated so many others to join the program.

  • Some women were able to fix roofs of their homes, from grass roofs to tin roofs.
  • Some succeeded in providing a morning meal for their kids before sending them to school, which was never possible before the program.
  • Others bought domestic animals to raise, others learned to live together in peace, bridging the divide between the neighboring Rwandans and Congolese. There is a Rwandan woman living in Mumosho who joined the program and had the opportunity for integration, and felt accepted by the group members.
  • Other program participants gained value and respect in their daily family and community lives, as they could now contribute economically, and were able to take care of themselves, their kids, families and community.  Women were able to contribute whenever a community member needed help during social activities such as weddings, funerals, and baptisms.
  • After being abandoned by her husband, one participant was hopeless, as even her parents were about to stop supporting her on her and her four children. When she joined the program and started contributing, she was accepted and fully reintegrated into her family.  There are many more examples like this, and the women are eagerly waiting to begin again.

Do you have connections to a micro-loan program?  Please let us know how we might partner by emailing us at actionkivu@gmail.com.   And know that your donations go directly to the work on the ground, supporting women like those featured here in entrepreneurial trainings to prepare them to contribute to the community, creating a sustainable cycle of education and work!
Read more about the people with whom you partner through Action Kivu:

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