Sixty percent of Zambia's population lives below the poverty line and 42% in extreme poverty. A high incidence of AIDS related deaths has orphaned 480,000 children. Many households are headed by grandmothers who are left with the responsibility of caring for five or more orphans. Most of these grandmothers have never been to school, have very few marketable skills, and no permanent source of income. These women need support, care, and training so that they can provide basic necessities such as food and medicines for the family and pay for school expenses for the children. The women and grandmothers caring for HIV+ children need a regular source of income.
The project location of Matero Compound, Lusaka, Zambia, characterized with a high incidence of HIV and unemployment rates over 60%.
The goals of this micro loans program are to 1) equip women with the tools they need to run a successful business, 2) create conditions for women to be socially empowered, and 3) enable women to gather enough capital and savings so they continue to operate a profitable business even after graduating from the program.
Program activities for 400 women:
business training to 100 women
weekly support/loan repayment meetings, three consecutive loans, and ongoing business mentoring and monitoring over 12 months.
Health improvement for 400 families
Increased in school attendance for children
Increase household income and savings
Women economically empowered; financially literate and on a path to self reliance.
Increase in community knowledge of better hygiene practices
Women enrolled in POL’s micro loans program receive business skills training and loans to launch a business. Earnings from these businesses enable women to pay for food, medicines, rent, and school expenses. Each woman is provided with three loans and by the end of the third loan cycle, most women have accumulated enough capital and experience to successful run businesses and to ensure a regular source of income.
The first step is to select beneficiaries. These are prioritized based on need and their ability and willingness to run a business. Participants are required to attend a 5-day business training, which includes basic business theory, market investigation, purchasing and selling goods training, and business promotion skills. On the last day of the training, participants submit a business plan and are then provided with their first loan. Loan recipients then meet weekly to make repayments and discuss and issues they are facing with running their business. Ongoing support is provided, such as business mentoring, refresher training, and field visits by the loan officers. Due to this ongoing support, loan repayments are around 90%.
Loan capital is revolving; once a woman has gone through all 3 loan cycles the funds are available to a new set of women.
About Power of Love
A World Centric partner since 2014.
POL funds and runs projects in Zambia and India targeted toward helping women and children infected/affected with HIV/AIDS. Their vision is a world where the AIDS epidemic is in continuous retreat, and people living with HIV have access to loving care and treatment in an environment free of stigma and discrimination.