The women of Akokan thrive with a savings and loan program
The Akokan women’s mentor group of Arlit first began in 2005. Since then, the members have come to know and trust each other, and have created a strong partnership with the local school, supporting themselves and their program with a herd of goats provided by RAIN. The next goal: achieve sustainability for the 16 mentors and 82 at-risk girls for the next two years.
When asked what new activity they would like to pursue to generate more funds, the women expressed that creating a group enterprise would be difficult, that they prefer a program that will allow them to work independently. And so the idea of a savings and loan program to support each member’s own enterprise was mutually proposed.
A savings credit of $200 was provided by RAIN in November of 2011 as a seed fund for the program. In order to grow their funds, each of the 16 mentors deposits 30 cents per week ($4.80 per week for the group). After the first four months, the funds saved totaled $275. Each mentor contributed, in addition to principal, 10% of the loan amount to the program.
The average loan amount is $50, repaid within three months. Income generating activities that these loans have supported include the practice of embouche (purchasing of a small goat that is then fattened to sell), making food products for sale at the local market, making and selling clothes, and augmenting the goat herds provided by RAIN. All members have reported a profit.
Encouraged by the Akokan women, RAIN hopes to initiate savings and loan programs in each of our partner communities to further support the development of livelihoods.
“With this activity, I acquired a knitting machine with a value of $160, from which I will continue to profit.”
– Fourera Alassane (at left), Akokan mentor with the knitting machine she purchased with income from the enterprise funded by her loan.
RAIN would like to thank the Segal Family Foundation and our individual supporters for making this program possible.