Monthly Archives: November 2020

Introduction of



Cameroon is a West African nation of 20 million where, according to the World Bank, over 40 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line.  Tragically, one in seven Cameroonian children die before age five. Today the plight of the poor in Cameroon is exacerbated by the spread of HIV/AIDS. In the last five years, approximately 1 percent of the population has died of AIDS (around 40,000 deaths per year). These deaths have left hundreds of thousands of orphans who have been forced to face the loss of their parents, the uncertainty of how they will be cared for, and likely poverty.

Program Description

WINHEEDCAM began work in 1997, co-founded by Dr. Munro Proctor, an American cardiologist who worked in Cameroon for many years, and Dr. Pius Tih, the Cameroonian Director of Health Services at Cameroon Baptist Convention in Bamenda. Through their work providing health care in the area, Munro and Pius saw the need to equip the local population to better support themselves, so launched a microenterprise development program. Targeting very poor women in the North West Region, the program has provided more than 20,000 micro loans, enabling women to use their skills and energies to establish very small income-generating enterprises.

Since 2009 has been working in partnership with WINHEEDCAM to continue to strengthen and expand this work that has already helped so many. The goal of the WINHEEDCAM program is to alleviate poverty in the North West Region. That goal is being attained through microenterprise development – serving very poor entrepreneurs by the provision of very small loans together with health, spiritual and general business training. The program uses a group lending methodology, where approved borrowers are organized into groups of 5 to 15, and are eligible for loans starting as small as US$10. All loan groups participate in a three month pre-loan training program and a viability review of business plans by both staff and fellow group members. As loans are repaid, larger loans are available, up to a maximum of US$400.




A history marked by slavery, war, famine, AIDS, and child soldiers has left much of Uganda in a state of underdevelopment and poverty. The national GDP per person stands at roughly $1.26 a day (2009) – sitting right on the poverty line set by the World Bank. While Uganda has made enormous progress in reducing poverty, from 56% of the population below the poverty line in 1992 to 24.5% in 2009, the absolute number of poor people has actually increased due to population growth. Poverty remains especially high in rural areas, where 84% of Ugandans live. About 27% of all rural people, approximately 8 million men, women, and children, still live below the national rural poverty line. Some of the poorest are small-scale farmers working in remote parts of the country, preventing them from benefiting from Uganda’s economic growth and dynamic modernization.

Access to basic health and social services is also limited, especially in rural areas. Rural women are especially disadvantaged because they tend to work longer hours than men, have limited access to resources, and have little control over what they produce. In addition to their job, they are typically the caretakers of the family, making sure that the household is fed, and that the sick, elderly, and orphaned children are cared for.

Uganda has dramatically reduced the incidence of HIV/AIDs since the 1990s, however prevalence has begun rising more recently. Based on 2014 estimates, there are 480,000 to 1.5 million young people (ages 0 to 17) orphaned due to AIDs.

endPoverty’s partner working in northern Uganda, CAFECC, faces some additional challenges. The West Nile District, Arua’s regional context, where CAFECC operates, is familiar with the difficulties of material progress and economic development. Although it now enjoys the blessings of peace and stability, it was an area only recently devoid of significant infrastructure and devastated by the Lord’s Resistance Army. It is still experiencing the effects of its past and the present corruption of the national government, with many water sanitation and power reliability issues.

Program Description

Assist Community Initiatives (ACI)
The microfinance program is focused on increasing access to financial services to the economically active rural and peri-urban poor, particularly women. ACI believes providing access contributes to their empowerment through the creation of income generating activities and the improvement of their livelihoods and communities. ACI visits rural communities to solicit interest in the program. After an orientation meeting, entrepreneurs form groups of their choice and agree on the income generating activity they would like to pursue. ACI field staff train group members on basic business development skills, and facilitate weekly group meetings with members. ACI also organizes and conducts various training programs and workshops for clients where they learn about topics including children’s education, health, nutrition, and sanitation.

ACI also organizes a child sponsorship program to help children who are orphaned and/or vulnerable due to HIV/AIDs, domestic violence, abuse, war, etc., receive a formal education. ACI’s health program also seeks to provide access to quality health care services at an affordable cost.

ACI has observed significant poverty reduction among women clients in their microfinance program. They have started to break social barriers by interacting with other people in society, using their collective strength to address village issues more openly; household incomes and the acquisition of assets has increased; and more children are attending school.

Christian Action for Empowering Church and Community (CAFECC)
CAFECC focuses on reaching materially poor people in northern Uganda that do not have access to traditional banks by offering microloans and value-added financial and business training, enabling microenterpreneurs to grow their businesses and improve their income generation. CAFECC also offers savings products that provide the long-term build-up of assets that many microentrepreneurs lack, either due to inadequate access to formal savings or inadequate understanding of the value of saving. Client trainings, microenterprise development built on biblical principles is central to their approach.

Undergirding CAFECC’s services is their mission, which is to address the spiritual poverty and disconnectedness from God in northern Uganda. Seeking both to bless communities with economic empowerment and point them to Christ, CAFECC focuses on relationships and ministry. Their loan officers personally visit and support every CAFECC client; and hold monthly fellowship gatherings of staff and clients. By sacrificing efficiency and revenue to make partnerships for real spiritual transformation, CAFECC hopes to strengthen existing ministries and bolster their clients to become agents of transformation themselves.


South Africa


Poverty is particularly widespread in the Northwest province of South Africa . According to the government, unemployment for the region stands at 30%.  What’s more, over 60% of the working age population is considered to be “not economically active”. As a result, household incomes, especially in the townships, are very low, producing dire shortfalls in nutrition, education, housing, access to health care and the overall quality of life. In addition to the dismal employment situation, South Africa is dealing with one of the world’s highest HIV/AIDS infection rates – UNAIDS puts the rate at 21.5% of adults.

As adults fall ill and die of AIDS, their deaths produce a second tragedy of millions of children who have lost their parents. These children then must be cared for by relatives, many of whom have few resources themselves, exacerbating a downward spiral of poverty.   Ikussasa’s program budget calls for $93,400 in outside funding to cover new loan capital and local operating expenditures.

With full funding, the program will expand outreach to over 400 families, empowering them to support themselves through their own businesses.


Program Description

Founded in 2004, the Ikussasa program equips the very poor to establish their own vibrant microenterprises, thereby serving their communities with needed goods and services while earning an income to support themselves and their families. In addition, these micro-entrepreneurs provide role models for the benefits of honest work in communities where such examples are sorely needed. Using both individual and group lending methodologies, coupled with basic training, the program offers access to essential lending and savings services. is working with Ikussasa to help parents, guardians and caregivers start and expand successful micro-businesses.





Despite Egypt’s significant economic growth in recent years, tens of millions there still live in desperately poor situations. Poverty manifests itself in the unsanitary, crowded and dangerous living conditions of poor rural communities and urban squatter settlements alike.  Families in these communities experience high infant mortality rates, and lack of access to health care, schooling, clean water, and sanitation.


These challenges are compounded by soaring rates of unemployment within these communities. Women and children are most affected by poverty. More than half the women in Egypt are illiterate, their education held back by cultural tradition, discrimination and poverty. In a country where even 10-year olds in many poor families must work so the family can survive, it is vitally important to improve the economic prospects of the adults so they can provide adequately for their children.


Program Description

CEOSS provides small loans to poor individuals so they can start and establish their own micro businesses. Program staff also provides ongoing support to each entrepreneur to ensure the success of his or her enterprise. Such support includes training, counseling, and marketing advice.





Bangladesh is a nation of 164 million people where, according to the World Bank, 41 percent live on less than $1 per day, and more than half of children under age five are malnourished. In the rural areas targeted by the program, most adults are farmers or work as hired laborers for other farmers. Because they farm only about six months of the year, they do not earn a steady enough income to support their families.


Although the majority of women are illiterate, many have skills and capabilities they could use to earn money. Their lack of literacy, exacerbated by religious and cultural traditions that block women from many forms of wage employment, makes self-employment one of their few options for earning money. Significant opportunity exists for these women to market products they make or buy to supplement their incomes. What they lack is access to credit to start a small business.


Program Description

The program provides seed capital to poor entrepreneurs, 86 percent of whom are women, for income-generating activities. These businesses include: puffed and pressed rice production, in which the entrepreneurs buy rice, the chief agricultural crop in Bangladesh, and make puffed and pressed rice in their homes to sell in the local markets; bamboo, cane-craft and mat-making, to meet the high demand for baskets, furniture, and mats; grocery shops, to sell staples, such as rice, flour, sugar, and spices; beef fattening, to purchase cattle, raise them to full growth, and sell; and vegetable and agriculture products retailing. Under the program, groups of five meet weekly to receive business training and orientation. After the training is completed, members receive small loans while they continue to meet for encouragement, accountability and to make loan payments. As the loans are repaid, the capital is lent again to other poor entrepreneurs, thereby multiplying the benefits of contributions to the loan fund. By extending credit to the poor to enable them to supplement their incomes, their families benefit from improved nutrition, health care, housing, and education. With an average family size of six members, more than 350,000 people are enjoying a better standard of living due to lending activity alone.





More than half the population of rural India, where CSS works, survive on less than 50 cents a day. An income that low means a family has little other than boiled lentil mash to eat, which by itself requires a large share of the family’s meager funds. Young children are usually denied the opportunity to attend school, because of a lack of money for school fees, and because they often join other family members in whatever they do to earn income. Formal employment opportunities are few. Those who do find work are often paid at a piece rate that does not provide a living wage, or they are forced to rent equipment from business owners, which siphons off most of their income. We are expanding into more villages on the north side of Calcutta to meet the great need.


Program Description

Now operating in more than 400 villages, the CSS program serves thousands of very poor Indians, 70 percent of whom are women, with business loans averaging less than $65 each. In addition to cash loans, CSS disburses loans in the form of assets. These include van rickshaws, sewing machines, and income-producing animals, such as cows, goats, and chickens. Most loans are repaid over a 10 month period, from revenue that the asset enabled the borrower to earn. Loans of goats are repaid by returning healthy offspring to the program, to be provided to another borrower.

Loans are disbursed to very poor entrepreneurs, equipping them to support their families and contribute to their communities in ways never before possible. In addition, the program maintained a 99 percent repayment rate and completely covered its operating costs through its own program revenues.  In addition to economic development efforts, the micro-lending work also supports a number of other outreach initiatives in the community.




Poverty is rampant in many communities across the Philippines. Sanitation, clean water, and adequate housing are in short supply. Many families are headed by women whose husbands have left them or return home only sporadically. In other families, the breadwinners cannot earn a stable income, leaving many poor and without hope.

Many poor women try to earn a living through street vending, food production, craft making, or other informal business activities. To keep these microbusinesses running, they sometimes have to take out loans from loan sharks, who charge exorbitant interest rates, leaving the women with little or no profit from their hard work. They are left earning barely enough to cover food for their families, with little hope of providing basic health care, decent housing, or education. With training, encouragement, and very small loans from CCT, these women are able to stabilize their businesses and support their children with dignity.


Program Description

The program targets the economically active poor. Nearly all the clients are women, whom CCT organizes into small “Covenant Groups.” Savings accounts are established for participants, who are required to save a small amount weekly for six weeks before becoming eligible for a loan. With the support and encouragement of fellow group members and training from CCT, each client prepares a brief business plan to start or expand her own small business. If fellow group members agree that the business is viable, first loans of approximately $60, with a repayment term of three months, are issued to members. With group accountability, the motivation to help each other succeed is high, and loan repayment rates often approach 100 percent.   Several covenant groups are brought together into “Fellowship Groups” of about 20 people. These groups meet weekly, and serve as the forum for further training, Bible study and prayer, loan payments, and encouragement.

The micro-lending work of CCT has been operationally self-sustaining for several years. This level of efficiency allows outside funding to go towards program growth rather than operating expense.




The Chalco Valley and the state of Chiapas, the poorest state in Mexico, are home to vast numbers of poor people with no fixed employment. Most scrape out a living through an informal family business or, in Chiapas, through seasonal farming. Business credit could enable the poor to start or expand their own very small businesses, but the only source of capital is from money lenders who charge exorbitant interest rates. Conventional banking sources are not interested in servicing very small loans, leaving the poor entrepreneur with no opportunity to put his or her dreams to work.

There is a tremendous need for increasing loan capital availability in order to expand outreach initiatives to offer access to business training, micro-lending and savings to more poor families in Chiapas, Mexico.


Program Description

AMEXTRA offers basic training, the opportunity to save, and very small loans to qualified poor borrowers. The lending methodology is based on “solidarity groups.” Those interested in participating must form a group of at least 5 people who agree to meet once a week, approve each other’s business proposals, and mutually guarantee the loans of fellow members. The weekly meeting is also a time to deposit savings, make loan payments, give advice, and encourage each other. When loans are repaid, the principal is lent again to another needy micro-entrepreneur, multiplying the effectiveness of each dollar invested. Borrowers who repay their loans are eligible for follow-on loans that increase in amount and term as their businesses expand. To develop financial discipline and to prepare themselves for financial emergencies, every participant saves at least $1 a week in interest-bearing accounts. Participants’ savings are available for withdrawal at any time throughout the year. Their savings provide greater financial security for their businesses and their families, thus laying a good foundation for future needs. The program has remained operationally self-sufficient over the past several years, a testament both to the credit-worthiness of our loan recipients and the hard work of the local staff.




The people in the Guatemala City dump community spend long days scavenging through the tons of garbage that are brought there each day. They search for anything of value – things they can sell, wear, or somehow use in their daily lives, and even scraps of food, since virtually all are malnourished and hungry. For the “best trash,” they compete with each other, dogs and vultures. Methane fumes, sharp objects, and medical waste, including used syringes, are some of the perils they contend with. Overpowering stench, disease, danger, and hopelessness pervade the entire neighborhood.The families served by Potter’s House’s microenterprise program live in squatter areas or in the very poor neighborhoods surrounding the dump, and struggle to make a living in a small, informal business. Because their businesses have no access to capital and cannot grow, many are forced to scavenge in the dump to make a living for themselves and their families. In their desperation, many of these families have found love and hope in the Potter’s House Association, an organization dedicated to serve and provide opportunities for the scavengers, whom they call “Treasures.”

Program Description and Potter’s House work together to enable the families surrounding the dump to leave scavenging and generate a stable, livable income from their own micro-businesses. Clients have a vocational skill, integrity, a work ethic, and a viable plan for how their micro-businesses will succeed. From the program, they receive training, small loans and ongoing encouragement to establish their businesses and promote success. Loan amounts average about $200, and are managed using a lending group methodology. Follow-on loans are based on satisfactory repayment of the first loan.