Despite the great successes of microfinance and other poverty reduction tools, severe poverty remains a scourge within the human family. Reaching the poorest aims to find ways to reach even further down to the very poorest who struggle for basic survival. This FINCA + project will combine financial with non-financial services.
Our first pilot program launched in Tanzania in 2013 and provides women, too poor to take on a loan, with a $100 stabilization grant that they can use to best meet their needs, which could be to start a small business, pay for daily living expenses, access needed healthcare services or pay school fees, for example. Grants are disbursed using M-pesa mobile money technology, allowing for safety and better financial management.
Each mother records her income and expenses and any key life events during a six month period, often with the help of one of her children, since most are illiterate.
Our first sets of results are very promising as we’ve learned that 50 percent of the women who received these small grants started new businesses.
FINCA will continue to look at new ways to expand new and innovative services to even more of the world’s poorest through FINCA + Reaching the Poorest.