Given some of the cultural restrictions on Gambian women in terms of property ownership, especially rural women, finding collateral for loans is very difficult and impossible for some.
Our credit system brings loans to our beneficiaries, many of who are graduates from our Functional Literacy project. As such these women, already armed with basic business and financial knowledge and skills, are able to set up successful small-scale businesses including bakeries, tailoring shops, fruit and vegetable retailing, mini-markets, food and beverage processing, and agro-related activities such as farming and horticulture.
They are also encouraged to open individual or group savings accounts to tackle the identified priority health problems faced by individuals, families and the community.
Among many benefits, this scheme provides women the opportunity to be financially independent so that they are in a position to negotiate their rights as well as meet their personal needs and that of their children.
A strategy to prevent the spread of HIV is to enrol target women in our Economic Development, IGA and Micro-credit scheme which helps them become independent financially therefore putting them in a better position to negotiate for their reproductive rights and a change of attitude of their men-folk towards sexuality.
To provide business women a clean, safe and conducive outlet for their commodities, we piloted the establishment of a concrete floor, iron-roofed market with concrete display slabs in Mandinaba village for the use of our beneficiaries, community members and retailers from neighbouring villages. The market has running water supply to promote good hygiene.