At the beginning of August, thirty-six women in Gwagwalada, Nigeria received interest-free loans of $150, $200, or $250 from Anawim Home. These women represented graduates of the Anawim skills building classes, former residents of Anawim Home, and local women in the community with a need to support their families. For many, this was their first ever opportunity to take control of their lives and to improve the future for their children.
In the months leading up to the loan distribution, these women worked with Franka Adah, the Anawim project lead, and other Anawim staff members to develop their business plans, choose their trusted ‘borrowing groups,’ determine the sum of money they would need to request, and plan their repayment schedule.
The women joined into four self-selected borrowing groups. Members of each group trust one another and have familiarized themselves with each other’s businesses plans. At the borrowing group meetings, in addition to providing their monthly repayment installments, group members discuss the challenges and triumphs of their businesses and provide thoughtful support to one another. The women are also encouraged to discuss their savings practices at these meetings and to continually plan for the future.
Thus far, each woman has completed her September 2015 repayment installment without a hitch. These ladies are expected to finish repaying their loan to Anawim in July of 2016. All funds will then be directly loaned out to the 2016/2017 group of Anawim Microloan recipients.
All funds for the Anawim Microloan Project were provided by the Hope for West Africa Foundation. Sara Kennedy, president of the HFWA board, provided project planning and oversight assistance.