Micro-Enterprise Loan Program
Name of Partnership: Micro-enterprise Loan Program–Tuungane Project
Name of Ministry: Bright Hope World
Type of partnership: Helping the Poor
Country/Region: Dem. Rep. of Congo/Africa
Project Overview: Bukavu is a city of around 1 million people in the East of the DR Congo. It is a centre around which there is a great deal of rebel activity. Many women are left as widows and they struggle to make ends meet and care for their children. ACLUP (Association Chretienne pour la Lutte Contre la Pauvrete – Christian Organization for the Fight Against Poverty) seeks to identify the poorest Christian women and assist them to establish and operate small businesses so they can become financially independent.
ACLUP was created from the vision of some members of the chaplaincy church at the Marine Military Base of Bukavu. They were concerned with how to address the poverty which was observed among the Christian community. The leaders of the chaplaincy church observed a large number of military and police wives and widows who were very poor and this became a burden for them. As a result, the pastor considered this an emergency and invited these people to meet. The first meeting was in mid-June 2015 and ACLUP was formed in January 2016 after consulting all the members who had shown a desire to be part of it. It was felt the church needed to be a place where people are assisted both spiritually and physically and so a way was formed to bring a sustainable solution to the poverty observed among the members.
45% of the children of urban members currently do not have access to education and 70% in the rural areas. This partnership will indirectly assist by reducing the rate of illiteracy in the families of the members.
Before ACLUP distributes loans to the members they are trained in regard to how to manage a loan and how to manage their business and repayments.
Initially the beneficiaries were only those from military backgrounds with many of the women being widows of military personnel. However, it has spread wider than this now with a number of groups involved.
Urban Women: Currently there are 240 women in this group and they are selected from the different areas where ACLUP operate. Primarily they are widows and those from the very poorest families, the majority being members of Christian churches. They must be experienced in running a business for over 3 years and deposit a weekly contribution to the loan program. This type of beneficiary is able to have different markets in which they can run their business easily.
Rural Women: These beneficiaries are those in areas some distance from a town and represent the largest number of members, currently there are 400 members in this group. They are poorer and find it more difficult to repay their loans as their markets are smaller and they are more exposed. The majority of these women are from poor families, widows and disabled.
Small Business Men: 110 men operate in urban centres and 50 men in rural areas.
Vision And Annual Strategy
The vision of ACLUP is to reduce the poverty of its members by lending money for the establishment and growth of small scale enterprises, particularly supporting vulnerable women and orphans.
ACLUP runs a loan program named Tuungane Project which has 800 members. Each member contributes a minimum of US$1 per week and the amount collected is distributed to other members who run small businesses. The maximum amount allowed for a loan is US$100 per person which means approximately 8 persons per week are able to receive loans. However, ACLUP receives at least 60 requests for loans per week which means many cannot be assisted.
Raising the amount of capital in this loan project will enable them to assist more people, have a greater impact and facilitate economic autonomy to more people in need. Increased capital will also make it possible for them to reduce the rate of interest the members are required to pay.
They expect that many of the families will be able to become self-sustaining.
Paulin Murhimanya Bashombana was born 1978 in the city of Bukavu. He holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration, and a Bachelor’s degree in Administrative and Economic Sciences. He is a lecturer at different universities in Burundi and DR Congo and a founding member of the ACLUP. Paulin is married with five children, two daughters and three boys.
Paulin has a good knowledge of the problems of the population of the Great Lakes (Burundi, Rwanda and DR Congo) and has conducted several trainings for vulnerable women in regard to loan programs in various organizations in Burundi and South Kivu. In particular, he was employed by HAWODI in Burundi as a part-time financial director from 2011 up to 2015.
As a member of ACLUP he is in charge of Administration and Finances (full time).
Annual Budget: $4,400–These funds will be used to boost the capital in the loan program to enable more people to obtain loans. This is for an initial period of three years.
Sponsoring Organization: Bright Hope World