Poor children in the DRC experience a special type of malnutrition from eating only carbohydrates. This merry-go-round of 10 women supports 63 dependents by operating a dual-focused soya business. They supply soya to hospitals as well as make house calls in the slums to train families on malnutrition and its causes. The families are encouraged to purchase soya. These women hope to expand their business into contracts with larger hospitals. The FSI grant would provide the working capital needed to pursue this expansion.
Six seamstresses used FSI funding to purchase two electric sewing machines, fabric and supplies. They then secured a contract with a local mining company to make mine worker uniforms. This allowed expansion of their business designing and making clothes for the community and custom design uniforms for entities such as hospitals.
Baking Amazing Bread
A merry-go-round of 5 women who provide for 41 people had been preparing their dough manually and baking it in a wood stove. They recently secured a contract with a local mining company to provide 1,000 loaves per day for the mine’s workers. They needed FSI funding to purchase the electric oven and mixer and rent work space that made this possible.
Pharmacy, Hair Salon and Clothing
This merry-go-round of ten women have, by pooling their resources, financed each other’s businesses – a pharmacy, hair salon, and clothing store. Their FSI grant allowed additional investment in supplies and equipment to improve and scale up their individual businesses.
A group of ten women were running a makeshift restaurant in an open space in town where they sold the food they made. They started this business by pooling together their own funds. They used whatever they make on a daily basis to help support their business and their families. Our $2,500 grant then allowed them to rent a better space for the business, purchase restaurant supplies, purchase a refrigerator, and purchase a generator (needed for electricity). The improved restaurant space is enabling them to attract new customers and improve their sales. The women have just opened a new restaurant with profits generated by the first restaurant.
A group of 30 rural women who collectively own more than 50 acres of land were looking for ways to increase their yields. They farm cassava roots, soybeans, and various vegetable and nuts for domestic consumption and commercial purposes. They are in need of equipment as well as better seed for their farm. Our $1,000 grant was used to purchase seeds, a plow, and other farm equipment.
A group of ten women run a wholesale business buying cornmeal from Zambia and then sell it in bulk to other women in the community. This is a very lucrative business, and they are looking for ways to expand their business. Before they can expand, the women need to procure storage space for their products. They would also like to add another line of products to the current inventory, namely, soft drinks in bulk. Our $1,500 grant will be used to rent storage space and to purchase crates of soft drinks for sale.
A group of ten women have been raising an indigenous breed of pig from their village in Fungurume, DRC, 280 kilometers from Lubumbashi. The women were approached by a butcher in Lubumbashi to supply pork from a Zambian breed of pig. This Zambian breed produces quickly and well, nearly twice per year. Their objective is ultimately for each of the women to have their own pig farm. Our $4,500 grant is being used to purchase land, two male and two female pigs, feed, vaccines, and veterinary services.
Chicken Rearing Cooperative
A group of 20 rural women built a chicken rearing business with loans received from FSI when we operated as a microfinance agency. The women have continued in their business and more recently have requested a $3,000 grant for expansion purposes. Their goal is to become the main supplier for chickens and eggs for the mining companies in the area where they operate. The funds are being used to build more chicken coops to maintain their flocks.
The Grandmother Project
This existing merry-go-round of twenty grandmothers grew out of the need to take care of the many orphaned children in the Congo. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has wiped out much of the productive generation of many countries in Africa, leaving behind the very young and the old. These grandmothers, who once raised a generation, are now taking care of their own grandchildren as well as those of other families.
The grandmothers are creating opportunities for these orphans by passing on knowledge of farming and building businesses so that the orphaned children can one day carry on when the grandmothers are gone. The main focus of the project has been the establishment of a farm for the breeding of cows for milk production. The milk is used for consumption by the orphans and for commercial sale. Our $5,000 grant was used to purchase land, cattle, and farming equipment.