International development - An Injection of Income, An Infusion of Hope
published on 28 Feb 2014
Micro-finance brings respect to women, because husbands now understand how much women can contribute to the household.
The room of full of brightly-clad women erupted in enthusiastic applause and affirming murmurs.
Encouraged, she continued, ‘Before joining this group, the situation at home with my husband was very bad, we were always fighting. Now we have peace because I am able to save for the whole month and not ask him for any money. I can support my family myself.’
We were sitting in a Salvation Army church building in western Tanzania in the isolated town of Tabora, holding a public discussion with women who had received loans through the Salvation Army’s micro-finance programme in Tanzania. These businesswomen were some of the poorest of the poor who had presented business plans and qualified for small loans through the programme.
The impact is tangible. As I visited their businesses, the borrowers proudly showed me how they had diversified their products and sought out new markets. They praised their groups as sources of encouragement and cooperation. Some groups had even pooled their loans to start cooperatives such as tailoring shops and chicken rearing businesses. Women also spoke of how they were now able to pay their children’s school fees and feed their families three times per day rather than just once.
Perhaps the largest impact of this work is the ‘infusion of hope’ that it gives to borrowers. Women are now confident in their business skills and empowered to take ownership over their livelihoods. They have gained power through solidarity and self-assurance through increased respect.
By living below the line for just 5 days, we can help other women like these in Tanzania to lift themselves above the poverty line and onto a better and more hopeful future.