It isn’t enough to provide food for one day. We must help families find ways to provide food for themselves for a lifetime. We teach adults the skills and knowledge necessary in business and financial management to provide for their families. It’s especially important that women are empowered to be leaders and have equal access to opportunities in their communities for them to make the important decisions that can affect their children.
Through our work, we hope that families will be self-reliant, financially stable, and able to support and strengthen their communities themselves.
Families are Determined to Help Themselves
Village Savings & Loan Groups
We encourage communities to form their own Village Savings and Loan groups. Together, they decide how to save money collectively and the terms for putting money in, taking money out, borrowing, and repaying. Through these groups, people see that they can generate savings on their own, and they can rely on the group to disburse loans. These local groups allow members to borrow money and start small businesses, or other income generating activities.
Before Pearson, a 31-year-old in Malawi, joined a Village Savings and Loan group in his community, he had no money to buy his kids clothes or send them to school. But, once he built up a savings, he took out a loan to invest in his fishing business and to buy clothes for his children. He invested most of the profits he made from fishing back into the business and made enough money to start a small shop with his wife. Later, Pearson planted crops and began paying others to cultivate. Before he started his businesses, Pearson’s three children rarely went to school and were always hungry. Now, they are healthy and receive training through helping with the family business.
Earning a Living
What does a poverty-ending, cycle-breaking livelihood look like? It can take many forms. And sometimes it’s a rooster.
The “chicken module” is an example of opportunity through livelihood development. It works like this:
- A generous donor purchases a rooster and 10 hens for a family.
- In-country staff identify a family to receive the chickens.
- The chickens provide the family with fresh eggs and meat.
- The family sells any excess production for household income.
- When the chickens have chicks, the family pays it forward by giving a set, or “module,” of birds to another family, who begin their own chicken-raising.
And on it goes. We see families pay it forward multiple times and even donate additional eggs for the school meals program!