MicroLoan Foundation is a women’s empowerment and poverty alleviation charity that supports some of the poorest and most marginalised women in rural areas of Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. MicroLoan provides women with livelihoods training and small affordable loans so they can build their own business and take their first steps out of poverty.
Women living in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe face discrimination based on their gender. Women take on most of the household responsibilities making them much more likely to drop out of education.
Poverty is most severe in rural areas. There are a lack of jobs and most people survive through subsistence agriculture.
Rural women are more likely to be excluded from financial services, including loan products.
Voodoo Park Trust supports MicroLoan Foundation’s livelihoods programme across their three countries of operation.
MicroLoan provides their clients with a comprehensive training programme and ongoing mentoring throughout their loan cycle. This includes four weeks of financial literacy and core business concepts training to help these women flourish as entrepreneurs. Because many of MicroLoan’s clients have a low level of literacy, their training is delivered through song, dance and role play, making it accessible to all. With a stable, sustainable income, women that once faced hunger are now able to provide for their family’s daily needs.
It costs £120 to fully train, mentor and finance a female entrepreneur for one year. And with 97% of loans being repaid in full, MicroLoan can use this money again and again to help even more women.
We Give Hope, not Handouts.
Since their founding in 2002 MicroLoan has helped 280,000 women to start a business which has benefitted an estimated 1.12 million children who now have increased access to nutritious food, life-saving medicines, and education.
Friendship Bridge is a nonprofit social enterprise creating opportunities that empower Guatemalan women to build a better life.
Guatemala is one of the most gender-unequal countries in the World
Fifty-nine percent of the population lives in poverty
Fifty percent of Guatemalan children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition
More than 60% of indigenous Guatemalan women are illiterate
Guatemala is still recovering from a devastating 36-year civil war that ended in 1996
Friendship Bridge provides microfinance, education, and preventive health services to women in Guatemala to support them in building resilience and pursuing opportunities. They call this Microcredit Plus. The loan products they provide and the programs they facilitate are based on each client’s level of individual development.Their vision is empowered women choosing their own path.
Voodoo Park Trust supports Friendship Bridge’s Microcredit Plus program.
To borrow through Friendship Bridge’s Microcredit Plus program, women must first form groups of 7-25 members called Trust Banks. Each Trust Bank co-guarantees individual member’s loans and the women participate in non-formal education sessions that are part of every monthly repayment meeting.
This group lending model creates an empowering environment through the women’s support and encouragement of each other. In other words, they receive social capital in addition to the financial capital they receive through loans.
Friendship Bridge empowered over 22,000 women with $14 million in new loans in 2020. They provided nearly 10,000 women with telehealth services and offered distance learning to 62% of their clients.
Empowering Women of Nepal (EWN) is a non-profit company, based in Pokhara, which aims to improve the lives of Nepali women and girls through adventure sports and tourism. It was founded by three Nepali sisters, Lucky, Dicky and Nicky Chhetri, who were pioneers in the promotion of female trekking guides in the Himalayas. EWN was registered in 1999 under Nepal’s Social Organization Act 2034.
Girls and women in Nepal, and especially those living in rural areas, continue to face discrimination and violence due to the patriarchal culture and their lack of knowledge and skills, psychological support, and economic opportunities.
In Part 3 of the Constitution of Nepal, under Fundamental Rights and Duties, Article 18 refers to the “Right to Equality”. However, in practice this “right” is limited to the paper it is written on.
Despite significant efforts from the Government of Nepal (GoN), international agencies, non-governmental organizations and civil society organizations, Nepali girls and women continue to face major socio-economic discrimination.
Improving the World, One Woman at a Time
The Voodoo Park Trust supports EWN’s Female Trekking Guide Training Program.
The intensive four-week training is designed to extend educational, employment, and entrepreneurial opportunities to disadvantaged women from all over Nepal, and can be followed by a six-month paid apprenticeship scheme with 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking where apprentices earn wages equivalent to experienced male porters, and develop the skills needed to emerge as independent entrepreneurs.
The average age of training programme participants is 20 and the objective is to have participants from different regions of Nepal and especially disadvantaged women from rural areas (Karnali Region, Everest, and Langtang).
From 1999 to 2019 EWN trained over 2000 women from 52 districts of Nepal