Income Generating Activities Ethiopia and Sierra Leonego Back
Income Generating Activities (IGAs) can be compared to micro loans. They are given out by our local partner NGOs to individuals, families or small groups in Sierra Leone and Ethiopia to help facilitate independent, steady incomes and more self-sufficient lives. In contrast to most micro credits handed out by other organizations, these loans do not need to be paid back with interest.
Many villagers in Sierra Leone and Ethiopia who live in poor conditions have great business ideas that are easy to implement and often require very little starting capital. Thanks to the work of our local partner NGOs, many communities in the regions where AIM and Nigat operate now have future prospects and can see the possibility of being able to turn their ideas into reality. Even elderly grandmothers in the remotest villages have come up with business ideas and created steady, growing incomes to support their families, from buying chickens and selling the eggs at markets to opening a small shop that can expand through its income and eventually allow the women to add a restaurant.
The majority of these IGAs have not only been successful in terms of generating income but also – and this has caused just as much of an impact on the overall lives of both young and old, if not more – increasing the self-confidence of the beneficiaries and their families. This in turn has a positive effect on the wellbeing of their children. Understanding how valuable their own ideas and actions are and demonstrating that they are able to create an income by themselves has dramatically changed the attitudes, especially of women, in a positive and sustainable way.
What sets these projects apart from the usual format of microcredit programs is a sense of community: the villagers decide collaboratively who in the community will be considered next to receive a credit. The amount must be repaid, without interest, after a certain period of time, so that other community members can profit through the revolving funds and be given the opportunity to turn their business ideas into reality. Over the past decade, PfefferminzGreen has witnessed how beneficiaries are always eager to pay back their loans, not just to prove the success of their own businesses, but also so that their fellow community members can have the opportunity to receive loans, too.
Some of the small business owners that have emerged from the project first took part in literacy programs offered by Nigat and AIM in order to learn the necessary skills such as reading, writing and calculation, which they needed to strengthen their businesses. Hundreds of families have already profited from IGAs and the literacy classes, and we look forward to seeing many more families benefit from this sustainable program.