This guest blog was written by Jess Broughton, fellow with Women’s Microfinance Initiative, one of our partner organizations.
As May came to a close we said our fond farewells to the lovely ladies who made up GWOCO’s (Ganako Women’s Community Organization) very first loan groups in Karatu. Over two separate graduation ceremonies we celebrated seven groups’ successful completion of their loan cycles, with the first ceremony at the end of April and second at the end of May.
Much to all of our members’ delight, the first ceremony was timed perfectly with a visit from MP Founder Judy Lane. She was able to attend as guest of honor, alongside Jaime Thomas and Kim La Reau, who have each contributed much time and effort into ensuring the success of the program.
Led in by their wonderful teacher Christina, our Girls Group kicked of the ceremony with a lovely selection of congratulatory song. The girls had been practicing their dance moves and learning lyrics as one of their class activities for several weeks during Girls Group sessions in preparation for the event.
Thrilled to have their years of effort recognized, the graduating ladies celebrated in great style. Having settled into the event with copious quantities of food, they sat listening to speeches given by the staff and other guest speakers providing a brief history of the program and congratulating the graduates.
The graduates responded to this with personalized songs dedicated to GWOCO and its sponsors along with joyous dancing participated in by all. As a gesture of recognition to their efforts during their time in the program, they received gifts and certificates of completion together with their personal savings.
The GWOCO staff were among those graduating and took the opportunity to thank all of the individuals from both the US and Tanzania who have helped and continue to help make these loans possible. Each of our dedicated staff members have managed, very successfully, to expand their businesses and through these expansions they have not only managed to improve their quality of life but also the lives of their families and friends.
All one hundred and twelve of our newly graduated members have worked very hard to develop their businesses over the past few years, and we have been extremely lucky to be witness to their success. While we are sad to see these ladies leave the program, we wish them continued success and look forward to seeing where the future takes them.
*A note from Maasai Partners
We loved this guest blog from Jess, and we love working with Jess. Keep an eye out for more news about this wonderful addition to the Tanzanian WMI hub in the future and for more guest blogs!