With the launch of the global goals, women’s empowerment and financial inclusion have increasingly become hot issues in global development. At FXB, our model has always recognized that investing in women is the key to building stable, sustainable communities.
“We believe that investing in women is investing in the future peace of the world,” said Albina du Boisrouvay, FXB’s founder and president emerita.
In Gatabi, Rwanda, 43% of FXBVillage households had Income Generating Activities run by women. One of those women, Mukama Zimpaka Dancilla, a mother with eight children, was struggling to lift her family out of the deep poverty that plagued many households in Gatabi. In addition to Mukama’s daily household responsibilities, she took on childcare duties for her two grandchildren so her daughters could stay in school. Mukama’s husband was imprisoned over a decade ago, and feeling burdened by so many obligations with no support system, Mukama grew incredibly lonely and depressed.
In 2012, when Mukama and her family enrolled in the FXBVillage program, the first thing she did was meet with a counselor. With FXB’s support, she was able to pay the school fees so her older daughters could finish high school and find employment. This was a huge accomplishment because, in Gatabi, the cost of school fees is so unaffordable that many families are forced to pull their children out of school.
After ensuring her daughters would be able to receive a proper education, Mukama began working on a business plan. With the money she received from a startup loan, she built a small farming business to raise turkeys and pigs, as well as grow a small plantation of cooking banana trees.
Mukama also received additional income from her savings and lending group of seven women who collectively worked on small manufacturing projects. More than just a financial collective, this group provided the sense of community that Mukama so desperately desired. All the women in the collective had husbands who were in prison and, together, they supported and empowered each other. It was this community support, paired with the business training that FXB provided, that allowed Mukama to transform into a talented and effective businesswoman.
Providing a loan is not enough. The education, training and ongoing support are critical elements to making a microloan model successful. Thanks to finding community support and a stable source of income, Mukama now feels like a different person.
“The varied trainings on hygiene, health and respect of child rights have made me another mother confident and full of energy,” said Mukama.