Microfinance Savings Strategy Grows Small Business
Abaynesh Legasse pours a thin stream of injera batter on to the sizzling metal disk. Her wrist circles gently as she forms the large fermented flatbread. The Ethiopian staple is stacked like hotcakes beside her on a large plate 2 ½ feet wide. Over the course of four hours Abaynesh will prepare 100 injera along with a variety of spicy sauces for sale in her small restaurant. In the past year, Abaynesh has seen her business grow five-fold thanks to a small-loan and the business skills she's acquired through the Savings and Internal Lending Community (SILC) she joined.
No access to money before SILC microfinance
SILC is a Catholic Relief Services approach to microfinance that teaches people financial literacy and shows them how to pool their money and how to make funds available in the form of small loans to group members. SILC was first introduced in Beben Village by CRS partner Meki Catholic Secratariat with generous funding from the American people through the U.S. Agency for International Development's Food For Peace program. Abaynesh joined the group in March of 2013 and immediately began saving $1-$2.50 a week. With 18 other SILC participants in her group the savings quickly added up and were made available as small loans to group members.
Abaynesh took out her first loan three months after joining SILC. "Previously I had no idea how to save money," says Abaynesh. "Now I know how to save. Ho
Understanding money empowers women
It's almost noon and Abaynesh's daughter Tarikua, 8, busies herself washing glasses and taking a wet rag to the vinyl tablecloths in restaurant's dining room. Music from the nearby market plays loudly as Tarkiua works. As the mother of four daughters, Abaynesh worries about their future. She was forced to marry young and abandon her studies. She wants more for her daughters. "I tell my daughters to get an education," says Abaynesh. "Women are vulnerable to forced marriage and early pregnancies. When you learn, you will change your thinking. You protect yourself with learning."
Learning how money works has given Abaynesh more of a voice in her marriage. Her husband appreciates the money that she brings to the family. She's used her earnings to help purchase an additional 100 pounds of fertilizer to use on the family farm and is now saving for Tarikua's schooling. "Previously women had no ability to speak up," says Abaynesh of being financially dependent on her spouse. "We were just at home. But now we have a voice and we can explain how we are feeling. We can make decisions in our group."
SILC microfinance earn macro benefits
"I want to expand this business more," Abaynesh says. "I want to add to my menu, maybe hire another worker and have a staff. I will begin selling meat. People ask me to add to my menu. There is a demand. I sell out every day. I never have leftovers."