Sometimes it takes a bit of independence for someone, or something, to fully reach its potential. Such was the case with our women’s microloan program.
After years of working closely with the strong females at the head of this initiative to teach them basic financial, business and microloan principles, as well as helping them establish an organized and authentic operation. Ganako Women’s Community Organization (GWOCO,) is the local branch we support through one of our partner organizations, WMII (women’s microfinance initiative.)
During the past year, we decided it was time for us to step back from our role so the GWOCO women could take ownership of the program financially and operationally.
We were overjoyed during last month’s visit, therefore, to learn program participants and leaders had so quickly taken a slow and sometimes imperfect project and transformed it into a smoothly and beautifully functioning microloan and skill-building program. Women are not only empowered on an individual and community-wide level, but they better the lives of their families and neighbors as they improve their homes, businesses and the local economy as a whole.
They also give back to the community with various initiatives, such as providing clean water to area schools. To build the program itself, the women are growing maize to generate income and plan to build a cultural boma, or traditional homestead where they can give tours and sell beadwork.
And in order to help the women continue taking their program to the next level, we helped secure a professional accountant for them to continue to teach them about and track the loans. Through their own trials and errors and through working with this intelligent and honest young man, the women have made relevant changes to ensure smoother operations.
We are so proud and impressed by these women, who made something very successful, which will improve more and more lives as its benefits ripple throughout the community. We cannot wait to see new individuals and program-wide growth in the coming year.