We provide low-interest microloans to individuals that cannot access other sources of credit. Providing support for those who have been unable to participate in the financial system helps lift entrepreneurs, especially women and their families, out of poverty.
In 2013, Project Ethiopia added microloan lending to our work supporting economic opportunities in the Dangla region. Project Ethiopia ’s investment of $5,000 was placed in fund for microloans for the very poor. To make it possible for rural farmers to get credit, Project Ethiopia founded a credit and savings association. Currently there are 560 members of the association (416 men, 144 women). Members can borrow up to six times the total they have in savings.
Project Ethiopia loans have a very low interest rate – 5% (of which 3% is returned to Project Ethiopia ’s account for growth of the loan fund) compared with 12% from larger savings associations and banks. To be eligible for a microloan, applicants must be a member of the savings and credit association and bring at least two witnesses to guarantee the loan. The loan period is for one year at which time the loan must be repaid in full.
And the system works! Since the fund was established in 2013, the loan repayment rate is 100% allowing our initial investment of $5,000 to increase by 11% over the years.
These small, but significant investments have been used for a variety of efforts such as:
- Purchasing coffee beans to roast and sell
- Producing local honey beer
- Fattening lambs to sell at festival time
- Opening a rural store
- Buying a cow to produce milk
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