A shared dream of 38 villages in rural Malawi to overcome poverty through their own community bank!
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Kapita is a region of 38 Villages (over 5,000 people) in rural Malawi, one of the poorest nations in the world. Last year, all these communities came together, with Empower's assistance, to forge plans for a self-reliant region. One able to tackle its own development challenges without dependence on aid by 2015.
We at Empower (empowerprojects.org) believe that this is very possible and that communities have the right and capability to be self sufficient.
The people of Kapita decided that a Community Bank was critical in that it would provide a source of local money for businesses and development projects while also rewarding a culture of saving. A Bank for the people by the people that did not need to rely on aid after being established.
We have been training the management committee led by Joyce Mwale as well as a team of front-line bank staff. The number of savings accounts have been growing and with Empower's investment, the bank has also offered 6 month energy loans to 50 households to purchase solar lighting units in March. A first of many innovative social financing solutions.
So what does a community bank mean for Kapita?
- Entrepreneurs will have access to start up capital and professional advice on their business plans. This creates additional income for families to improve their quality of life.
- Farmers are able to access funds to improve productivity and yields. They are no longer restricted by a lack of cash on hand to invest in seeds and equipment.
- Families are able to obtain energy loans to purchase solar lighting systems which are a cheaper, safer and environmentally sustainable alternative to kerosene lamps.
- Women's savings groups have a safe place to store money as well as get loans for cooperative businesses.
- An affordable and ethical source of funding for village level development projects.
- A regional collaboration that develops skills and creates employment in the medium to long-term. Staff are volunteers at this stage.
- Last but certainly not least, it builds the confidence and dignity of a people who are often marginalised and thought of as being backward and incapable. A shift in thinking to "I can!" with the results to prove it.
We need your help to invest in this bank so it can be stronger and have a capacity to cater to the region's growing financial needs. The intention is for Empower to cost-recover this principal investment by Dec 2015 upon Empower exiting the region. This sum will then be reinvested in another self-reliance project in Malawi.
$2,000 will be invested directly into the Bank to increase its asset base for loans. The community decided to adopt the national lending rate as the interest rate (20%) for microloans.
$1,000 will be invested towards training bank staff and setting up a business kiosk for advising local entrepreneurs prior to loan approval.This will be handled by our long-term project partners BEED.
Funds raised in excess of the tipping point will go towards the Earthship project. This involves the construction of a permanent space for the bank within a sustainably built community center in October 2013.
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