Our goal with our widows’ project in the Upper West Region of Ghana, Africa has always been to empower women to support themselves and their dependent children. In addition to shea butter processing, bread baking, potable water sales, and dry season gardening, women now have the opportunity to receive a small loan that can assist them with an entrepreneurial endeavor of their choosing. In 2019, CWI made an initial investment into this loan program, and we are now seeing the positive outcomes.
In groups of between 6-10, women qualify for a loan and commit to the payment of the loans, plus interest, for the whole group. Once approved, women go through some basic training of what it means to have a loan and how to go about paying it back. If one women defaults, the others are responsible for paying back the principal and interest. This is made possible with a commitment and connection with a local bank, who gives these women loans at a lower rate than they would receive as an individual. It is a win-win. The bank has new account holders, women that would normally never have the ability to have a bank account, and the women receive loans at reduced rates. The interest money goes into an account, which can then be used to issue more loans to more women.
So far dozens and dozens of women have qualified, received, and paid off their loans. Loan amounts range from $40-$80. The women have taken the money and used it to create businesses where they purchase and sell products for a profit at market, grow and sell crops, and other small business type activities. We have been so excited to see how the initial investment has helped to change lives, and look forward to continuing to receive reports of the success stories of these new business owners.