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Who are we? - Micro loans
|ECHOPPE is a non-profit US/French organization working in urban Togo, Bénin and Central Africa in Africa. It aims to break the cycles of poverty through supporting individual initiatives for economic improvement and social growth. Working primarily with women, ECHOPPE empowers individuals to support themselves and their families and encourages them to become citizens in a larger society.|
ECHOPPE is unique because it meets people where they are, helping them by supporting their ingenuity and determination. By providing loans and services to the extremely poor, it not only reaches people untouched by broader interventions, but also has the greatest impact for the resources invested.
How it works:
ECHOPPE issues a series of small cash loans to women to start up and build their tiny businesses ($0-40 to start). First loans are given without group guarantees or prior savings. Many of the ECHOPPE bénéficiaries are so poor that they don't want to guarantee loans of someone else, nor does anyone believe enough in them to guarantee a loans.
But,the loans ar key to helping individuals get on their feet and survive. Having cash-on-hand through ECHOPPE loans increases purchasing power and provides financial stability. Successive loans enable the women to expand their business aventures. Savings is integrated into the repayments and acts as an apprenticeship for long term self help.
Loans help build long-term projects in life beyond the search for one's daily bread.
In conjunction with the small loans program, social workers make home visits and provide educational opportunities in health care, food preparation or AIDS prevention and family planning.
Practical matters like writing one's own name, getting an identity card, and setting up a savings account may seem easy, but for a woman who has never held a pencil, such small steps bring about a complete change in self-worth and esteem from one's family.
ECHOPPE encourages monthly group neighborhood meetings where women learn from one another's experiences as well as from outside interventions. Here subjects such as one's rights and responsabilities are discussed: What happens in a time of divorce or death in a family? What's the importance of marriage? How does one report abuse? Talk with one's children? Paying taxes? etc... These meetings often begin with scenes acted out by the women themselves and lively discussions follow.
Building a future become building a future together.
After successfully completing several loan cycles, women can join ECHOPPE as part of the administration of this Mico-Finance Institution. This allows women to borrow money in larger sums and become part of the leadership and control of the financial work as in a cooperative banking institution. This provides the women with a forum for leadership growth and instills in them a sense of individual ownership and citizenship.
Creation date : 04/06/2007 @ 12h29
Last update : 17/02/2013 @ 12h07
Category : Who are we?
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