Whole Planet Foundation, a non-profit run by Whole Foods Market, recently launched a new exciting initiative in the world of microfinancing. For the first time ever a donor can now give directly to specific projects around the globe which will give Whole Planet supporters an opportunity to choose exactly where their donation goes.
This month, Whole Planet is piloting a program in Tanzania where 68% of the population is lives on less than $1.25 a day. In Tanzania, Whole Planet has partnered with BRAC, Whole Planet will be able to empower micro entrepreneurs like Jackline to alleviate poverty in the region of Mbeya, where Theo Chocolate, sold in Whole Foods Market stores, is sourced. BRAC began working in Tanzania in 2006 by providing micro finance and small enterprise development programs in Tanzania to create opportunities for the poor in agriculture, livestock and poultry.
Jackline Chikusa is living proof of the way microloans can make a difference in people’s lives.
Now 22, Jackline is a hairdresser and a proud alumna of a club network that extends microloans to young women in Tanzania, called Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA).
“Before joining the club, I had no future plans. I did not know how to control my emotions, make decisions, solve problems and choose my friends. Through this club I received various kinds of information and also life skills training in beautification and salon operations,” she says.
Jackline took two loans, one of 150,000 Tanzanian schillings ($107) to start her salon business and a second of $179 to expand. She was quickly earning profits of more than $100 per month.
Microfinance is at the heart of BRAC’s integrated approach to economic empowerment, helping poor Tanzanian women and girls realize their potential.
Today Jackline is more than a business owner. She’s a role model for other girls in her community. Or in Jackline’s words, “Now I am aware of many things and I’m trying to make my friends aware as well.”
As of April 2013, BRAC Tanzania’s microfinance program reaches more than 776,733 people, with 112 branch offices are spread out across the country, with 136,269 microfinance village organization members of whom 112,271 are current or past borrowers.
Village organization members gather weekly in villages, towns and city neighborhoods to make repayments on their loans and apply for new ones. Through these organizations or through the ELA clubs, these loans can often lead to swift changes in the lives of women and girls. The average loan size is $301 for adults and $122 for adolescent girls.
I have been an avid lender for years and have thoroughly enjoyed the great way of giving back and helping others achieve a better life. For me, it is an easy, cost-effective way to give back and get big results.
Are you looking to make a difference this holiday season? How about considering making a micro finance load? Help Whole Plant reach their goal of raising $10,000 to make three to eight loans that will changes the lives of women and girls like Jackline. Donate today and help reach over 3,500 people, giving them the opportunity to change their own lives through entrepreneurship. $10 goes a long way in Tanzania, as the average first microloan starts at USD $163. 100% of your funds will be loaned and re-loaned again and again, staying in Tanzania and giving opportunity to more and more women there over time. If you prefer to support women across all of our projects, donate here.
Your donation will go to BRAC USA’s Livelihoods Fund, which supports BRAC programs for microfinance, agriculture/food security, enterpreneurship training and social enterprise development around the world. BRAC USA is a registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization in the United States created to raise awareness and mobilize resources in support of BRAC’s global mission to empower people in situations of poverty, illiteracy, disease and social injustice to bring about change in their own lives. BRAC USA receives four out of four stars on Charity Navigator.