The Development Marketplace (DM) is a competitive World Bank program implemented in Cameroon by the World Bank Country Office and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to recognize innovative projects in the field of Education, Health and Forestry. Visit the site at http://www.cameroondm.org/en/homepage.html
The marketplace of ideas for development is in competition for innovative projects and original submitted by the Associations, NGOs and common initiative groups working in the national territory of Cameroon.
Women Empowerment Project developed for Goodness and Mercy Mission has qualified for CDM and here is the summary that was submitted on 1st June 2011. hope the best for this project.
Name of the Project: Children Education through Women Empowerment.
Area of intervention chosen: Education
Project summary: A self sustainable project combined with saving and lending model to enable women gather money for their children’s education at the same time earn regular monthly income and a monthly access to cheap loan. Women group will buy Palm Oil every month in bulk and will distribute it to the members at discounted rate for first 4 months and at cost price for following months. Members will sell oil and meet again next month to pool their savings to form S&L kitty which will be available for lending to group members. Each month the pool will grow owing to new contribution and earnings so that at the end of 1 year they will be able to gather a sum to support education cost of 30 children each group. Project will be entirely managed by group members maintaining minimal administrative cost. GMM will facilitate group formation to ensure homogeneity and transparency; will provide all accounting and reporting formats and training to group leaders to increase operational efficiency. Peer pressure will motivate members to save more, repay on time and adhere to groups norms. Regular monitoring of key factors at group and member level will ensure success in meeting the goals.
Number of expected direct and indirect beneficiaries: Direct beneficiary 150 children and indirect beneficiary 50 women.
Objectives of the project: To build a capital base of 1200 USD per group at the end of the Project so as to cover the Education cost of 30 children each group before school reopens, To enable women to have an access to hassle free short term credit each month. Projected average loan disbursement is $655 per month per group; To provide them a steady flow of monthly income each month, projected monthly income is $26.5 per month per member. Regular income will enable them maintain a regular saving and investment to S&L kitty. To help women develop a disciplined saving and investing habit and help them understand the power of systematic investment and mobilization of resources. To inculcate entrepreneurial and leadership skills. As women will manage activities by themselves they will gain much needed knowledge and experience to run small enterprise. Women will get an exposure to lending & accounting system which will help them understand basics of Micro lending and Banking. As women will take their own decision and will manage day to day activities of this project they will gain confidence in leader ship and decision making skills.
Main project activities: Women whose primary goal is to arrange for their children’s education will be selected and homogenous group will be formed to ensure better transparency and ease of operation. There will be 10 women in 1 group. Selection of leader Group Leader– will buy oil and will keep accounts related to Buying and selling of Oil in the designated format. Saving and Lending Kitty leader– will keep a record of savings pooled by each member every month in the given format & will collect repayment from the borrower with interest and will close her account in books. At the end of the Project will redistribute the Accumulated Capital. Meetings 1st Month– Distribution of Oil to the members and handing over a communication about -Cost of Oil for the coming months, Asking to keep a Provision for next month’s buying, Expectations regarding Saving, Lending Norms and condition and other Code of conduct. Meeting closes 2nd Month– Pooling of saving and keeping the records regarding each member’s contribution. Asking the nominations for borrowing of Accumulated savings and taking group’s consensus, open the borrower account and handing over the sum. Distributing the Oil at stipulated price and closing the meeting. 3rd to 12th Month– Collecting the loan Repayment from the borrower (Principal + 2.5% Interest) hereby called “Earning from S&L Kitty” & Closing her account in books. Pooling of saving and asking the nominations for borrowing of Accumulated sum (Contribution + Earning). Distributing the Oil at stipulated price and closing the meeting. On 13th Month the Accumulated Sum in S&L kitty is redistributed to the members; amount is redistributed in the same proportion as it is contributed. If group decides to continue, sum at member level will be carry forwarded else equally distributed if decided to dissolve.
Strategic partners to implement the project: Though at this stage we haven’t got any confirmation from organisations we are approaching for partnership. But owing to the structure of this project there is a great scope of partnering with Palm Oil marketing Companies or Agents, Microfinance institutions or civil societies having interest in Belo rural community.
- The Project reaches self sufficiency within the 4th month of operation; don’t need instilling any capital after this month. This is owing to the model which ensures that capital remains within the Group: interest paid on loan adds up to the saving contribution, and earnings gets compounded building the cash assets of the members. Though grant money covers the first 4 months cost women don’t get it for free rather they get the subsidy which helps in keeping a healthy financial position at group level.
- Transparent, Democratic and flexible: Members determine their own rules and decisions are made through consensus.
- Opportunity for increased Economic activity: If the group decides they can link to formal financial system to seek access to more formal and wider array of financial services.
- Build Institutional Linkages: The group can leverage their social capital and organisational capacity to link into agricultural development efforts, health and education.
Results expected from the project: Projected amount available at S&L kitty for disbursement is approx. $1200 per group, and $250 at Group level. Projected average loan disbursement is $655 per month per group and projected average income per month per member is $26.5.
Impact of the project within the community: This project aims to empower women with financial stability and decision making ability to facilitate education to end generational cycles of poverty and disease and provides a foundation for sustainable development. Women will have regular income and access to short term loan which makes them financial self sustainable thus command respect in family and society. They will gain entrepreneurial and money management skill and can engage themselves in any other income generative enterprise parallel to this. Main goal of this project together with its fall outs will help in formation of a more transparent and productive community as a whole.
Project replication: This model can be easily replicated anywhere as the need of physical resources is minimal. Women can use any public community hall for meetings. Reporting and accounting formats are easy to understand and women with little education can manage well. Entire activities are managed by group members and thus there is transparency and flexibility. Women groups are homogenous with members sharing similar interest thus a peer pressure will help women reach goal of savings, repayment and reinvestment. There is no technical requirement for reselling thus women can easily achieve the targeted margin.Thus any community where women with a common desire to support and ensure their children education can come together & replicate this project with any other business model.
Elements that ensure the sustainability: Though input cost for first 4 months are covered by the grant money, women will get it at discounted rates to ensure a healthy financial status at group level. Interest earned on repayment of loan will grow principle amount and more interest is generated, money will grow at projected rate of 20%. Democratic way of forming lending norms and peer pressure will help in reducing defaults and ensuring timely payments. Administrative cost is maintained to be minimal. Women group can leverage on their social capital to form linkages with formal lending institutions, civil societies and agricultural agencies for further diversification.
Strategies for effective implementation of the project:
Norms and code of conduct regarding Financial and Social values will be agreed upon and followed by members to create a more supportive and productive environment. Terms and Conditions for loan repayments will be formulated and approved by the members. Loan will be disbursed subject to member’s majority approval. Leaders and GMM official will monitor the activities and ensure that all accounting adhere to the provided formats and that there is not much deviation in the figures from projected financial statement. This will ensure healthy numbers both at Group and Member level. Members can change the rules provided majority of women agree for it thus making it more flexible. Group size is small and is homogenous, women sharing the same vision and having commonality like staying in similar locality, having children studying in same school, etc are encouraged to be in same group, this will ensure a better implementation and transparency. Peer pressure will motivate women to save, invest more and repay on time. GMM will form a complaint cell comprising senior coordinators for this project where women can register their complaints if any in a designated format. And GMM will form a system in place for resolving the complaint.
Monitoring the implementation of the project to ensure the failure or success of the project: GMM’s Women Group Coordinator will work towards successful implementation of this project, she will facilitate election of leaders; will help the Group leader in price negotiation with suppliers, will organise training for Women leaders in book keeping, will closely monitor the meetings so as to see that the records are kept properly and loan is disbursed in designated format, will prepare bimonthly reports on Financial and social progress, support it with members testimonials and pictures, will monitor the final settlement and will ensure no disagreements happen, will check the records every month to ensure there is no mismanagement or digression from the main objective. GMM will provide donors timely reports about the projects progress including its social and financial achievements. Evaluation of the project activities will be conducted on regular intervals by GMM’s senior coordinators.
Success elements of the project?tools you use to measure success? Sustainability is the key success element in this model which is ensured if surplus at group level is more or equal to $102 per month, and saving contribution for first 4 months is more or equal to $109 and for next 8 months is more or equal to $52. From the Donors perspective investment of $964 per group will result in education fund build up of $1200 and a surplus of $250 at group level which concludes a ROI of 50%. In this model women can take hassle free cheap loans at easy terms and conditions from their own pooled savings. Interest paid by them add up in the pool thus gets compounded. According to the projected financial summary S&L kitty will grow at a rate of 20%. (Summation of monthly saving for 12 months will be approx. $1000 whereas Cumulative monthly Earnings (Principle + interest) will be $1200).