ECHOPPE: Exchange for the Organization and the Promotion of Small Entrepreneurs
ECHOPPE is a non-profit US/French organization working in Africa in urban Togo, Bénin and the Central African Republic. 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
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.
ECHOPPE has worked for 25 years now proving that poverty is not a fatality. ECHOPPE was the first in Africa to begin and succeed with a small loans program that got women and families on their feet; not only by loaning money, but also by follow up with social services helping respond to the real problems that cause poverty. Women learn about their rights and their responsibilities. This work empowers them as members of society, to act toward change and become leaders in their own communities . For more information see "our story".
Over the past five years, ECHOPPE in Togo has begun working with small farmers in order to fight against the rural exodus and for the maintenance of the small farm. Women vendors from the city work with small farmers to sell the farm produce. Farmers are ensured of sales and have loans from the association to start their work, buy seed, etc. Women are given access to larger than usual loans in order to buy goods directly from farmers rather than the imported produce from the port.
More than one third of all the farmers participating in the town and country program are women. This in addition to the women market vendors, helps to create an economic exchange in the lives of these families that empowers women, but also tries to integrate men into the actions - respecting the rights of all.
In 2006, ECHOPPE supported the creation of the local Togolese association ECHOPPE-Togo and supported the participation of the women beneficiairies in the first ever savings and credit union 100% run by the women beneficiaries in 1997.
ECHOPPE promotes what is called the "social" economy by supporting programs both in France and in Africa supporting small farmers and fair trade.
ECHOPPE aims to promote a new economic paradigme capable of sustainably resolving base problems causing poverty.
For those who have PayPal accounts, you may make contributions to ECHOPPE via this site, rubrique: "take action"