April 2008: Update to the Global Board (AWFFI)

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Introduction

Since the last Board update, the African Woman Food Farmer Initiative (AWFFI) microfinance program continues to expand its creditservices in the eight Hunger Project African countries. At this time, I am pleased to report that by the end of December 2007, the cumulative loan amount reached $5,702,226 disbursed to 95,326 partners, with the average loan size of $60.

Summary of 2007 Direct Credit Program

In 2007, the AWFFI credit program disbursed $904,260 to 11,818 partners. Compared to the previous year, the loan disbursements reflect an increase of $170,975, where $733,285 was disbursed to 12,523 partners in 2006. In 2007, the average loan size across all our program countries was $92.5. With an overall repayment rate of 88.9%, the total savings deposited by partners at the end of the year totaled $25,580.

The following table provides a summary of loan disbursement during the year 2007. It is necessary to note that loans disbursed from the 17 government-recognized rural financial institutions are not included in this table, as those institutions are independent of the AWFFI direct credit lending program.

Country

Value of Loans Disbursed

Number of Partners Who Received Loans in 2007

Average Loan Size

Cumulative Repayment Rate at End of Q4 2007

Cumulative Savings at End of Q4 2007

Benin

$243,296

3,178

$77

90.84%

$38,305

Burkina Faso

$210,658

3,144

$67

86.86%

$53,220

Ethiopia

$61,052

989

$62

100.64%

$6,799

Ghana

$96,343

1,198

$81

89.46%

$15,366

Malawi

$13,488

204

$66

80.00%

$1,652

Mozambique

$131,318

614

$214

81.98%

$14,582

Senegal

$83,950

1,989

$45

84.35%

$57,635

Uganda

$64,155

502

$128

96.59%

$17,081

TOTAL

$904,260

11,818

$92.50

88.9%

$25,580

AWFFI Country Update

Benin

By the end of the fourth quarter, a cumulative total of $852,140 has been disbursed to a total of 15,051 AWFFI partners. During the fourth quarter alone, 255 partners accessed a total credit amount of $23,751. In Benin, the AWFFI cumulative repayment rate remains at 90.84%. In terms of savings, during the fourth quarter alone, a total of $637 was deposited by partners while the total average savings per person among The Hunger Project-Benin AWFFI partners is $60. Reestablishing the importance of capacity building, partners attended workshops that focused on literacy, health and savings mobilization in the following epicenters: Wawata, Kpinnou and Avlame Rural Bank. The Hunger Project has established two government-recognized financial institutions in Benin: Avlame (December 2005) and Dekpo (April 2007).

Burkina Faso

To date, a cumulative total of $972,974 has been disbursed in Burkina Faso to 14,785 partners. The cumulative repayment rate for the year stood at 86.86%. From 2006, when 2,869 partners were served, in 2007, 3,144 partners accessed credit, reflecting an increase of 8.8% from the previous year. In regards to savings, the cumulative savings is $53,220 and the average savings per person stands at $10.23. In Burkina Faso, The Hunger Project has thus far established five government-recognized rural financial institutions: Nagreongo (May 2002), Zincko (May 2002), Loaga (December 2004), Toulfe (December 2004) and Nongfaire (December 2004).

Ethiopia

In February,the third epicenter in Ethiopia, Mesqan, was inaugurated. Currently,the AWFFI program in Mesqan has provided credit in the amount of $15,525 to 371 partners.

In 2007 alone, a total of $61,052 was disbursed to 989 partners in the three epicenters: Jaldu, Debre Libanos and Mesqan. This year’s disbursement reflects an increase of 52% from the previous year’s disbursement of $29,346. In 2007, the number of partners who have accessed credit has also increased by 36.5%, from 626 partners in 2006 to 989 partners in 2007. The AWFFI program in Ethiopia continues to demonstrate the highest repayment rate to date: 100.64%, with partners continuing to repay their loans ahead of scheduled repayment dates. AWFFI partners also continue to mobilize savings—the cumulative savings deposited has reached $6,799, with an average savings of approximately $6.37 per person.

Ghana

By the end of the fourth quarter, a total of $96,343 was disbursed to 1,195 partners in 171 groups. From 2006, when the total disbursement was $62,632 to 858 partners, this year’s cumulative disbursement reflects an increase of 35% in the total loan disbursement and a 28% increase in the total number of partners who have accessed credit. To date, a total of $972,974 has been disbursed to 14,785 AWFFI partners, with an average loan size of $68 The cumulative savings by partners has reached $15,366.

In Ghana, The Hunger Project has established three government-recognized financial institutions: Atuobikrom (May 2005), Nsuta-Aweregya (May 2005) and Matsekope (December 2006).

Malawi

During 2007, a total of $13,488 was disbursed to 204 partners in the four epicenters. The average repayment rate in Malawi stands at 80%. Partners continue to mobilize savings, adding to the cumulative savings of $1,652, with the average savings per person at $12.05. The AWFFI activities for the last quarter focused on partner training for improving loan repayments and savings mobilization. During the fourth quarter, the AWFFI program in Malawi witnessed a significant improvement in the repayment rate from the previous quarter where the repayment rate was 88.13%; it had increased to 100.6% by the end of the fourth quarter. The Hunger Project has established one recognized rural financial institution in Malawi: Nsondole (November 2005).

Mozambique

By the end of the fourth quarter, a total of $131,318 was disbursed to 614 partners over the course of the year. The 2007 total disbursement reflects a tremendous increase from the previous year where only $95,392 was accessed by 414 partners by the end of 2006. With an average loan size of $214, the cumulative repayment rate in 2007 remained at 81.9%. In regards to savings, AWFFI partners to date have deposited a total of $14,582. Among the various Vision, Commitment and Action workshops and other trainings on leaders ip enhancement and saving mobilization, AWFFI activities in the last quarter also focused on recovery of outstanding loans in the former areas of intervention.

Senegal

In 2007, a total of $83,950 was disbursed to 1,989 AWFFI partners. The 2007 disbursement reflects an increase of 15.6% in the total value amount from the previous year. Due to the high cost of living in Senegal, the average loan size increased from $24 to $45, while partners continue to maintain a strong repayment rate of 84.3%. At the end of the fourth quarter, the cumulative savings deposited reached $57,635. In Senegal, The Hunger Project has established three government-recognized financial institutions: Mpal (October 2000), Dahra (September 2001) and Coki (D cember 2005).

Uganda

While The Hunger Project has established three government-recognized rural financial institutions: Wakiso (July 2004), Mpigi (January 2006) and Kiboga (January 2007), the AWFFI program continues to be implemented as a direct credit program in five epicenters: Iganga, Kirigente, Kiruhura, Mbale and Mbarara. At the end of the fourth quarter, a total of $64,155 was disbursed to 502 partners. With an average loan size of $128, the repayment rate in Uganda remains high at 96.6%. To date, AWFFI partners have mobilized a cumulative savings of $17,081.

AWFFI Impact on Partners

Partner # 1: Hannah Effah

My name is Hannah Effah. I am 50 years old, a married woman with six children. I am from the Kyempo community in the Kyempo Epicenter in Ghana. There was no credit facility due to remoteness of our area I never dreamt of acquiring loans before the intervention of The Hunger Project-Ghana. Though I was trading, it was with just GH50 in addition to my subsistent level of farming.

My first cycle loan was used to increase my working capital and to start an acre of farming. The land was acquired from the forestry commission. I have taken three loans in less than two years. I invest in the expansion of my farm and trade. As I wait for my farm produce to be harvested, I would be doing my trading which is booming. I no longer buy on credit from the market women who inflated the prices of things bought on credit. I have a regular savings and my total savings is now GH100. I have increased my acreage to two and my working capital is now GH200 apart from the loan amount given to me this year.

I am grateful to THP-Ghana because, not only has my status improved, but also my family is living comfortably with my children learning trades.

Partner # 2: Mina Adu-Taah

My name is Mina Adu-Taah from Bompata, in the Adomfe Epicenter in the Asante Akyem South District, Ghana. I am a 60 year old woman, divorcee of six children. Before I came into contact with The Hunger Project-Ghana, I could hardly stand in front of people. After sensitization from The Hunger Project-Ghana, I was elected to be a treasurer in the Adomfe AWFFI Epicenter Loan Committee. I have taken my second loan and mobilized four groups in my communityto receive loans, which are being repaid. Not only has my financial status improved, but mystatus in the area has also improved significantly. This is because I stoodfor last year's elections as an assembly member and won as the first female assembly member in the area. This feat is attributed to the sensitizationsgiven to me by the credit team, especially the encouragement of women to beleaders even if they may not have any formal education. I have a change of mindset towards womanhood. I now know that women can also do even better than their male counterparts.

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