A local foundation, dedicated to empowering women through micro-loans, has disclosed that at least 5000 Liberian women have benefited from its micro-credit loan program.
The Liberia chapter of the Foundation for Women (FFW) is of the strongest conviction that once a woman is empowered, a family is pulled out of poverty and a solid foundation for sustainable peace and prosperity in a nation is forged.
Madam Emily Peal heads the group as its CEO. In remarks during a recent interaction with reporters in Monrovia, Mrs. Peal said the lives of the beneficiaries were gradually transformed through the organization's non-collateral, low-interest loans, which aim to help impoverished women start and grow their own businesses.
According to her, women who have benefited from FFW's micro-loans have also been able to increase their income; better providing for their families and sending their children to school.
“Some of these women have also emerged as leaders in their communities and have become advocates of peace. A nation like Liberia, still dusting off the ashes of a devastating 14-year civil war in which women were among the most victimized, the empowerment of women is playing no small role in helping the country forge a path to sustainable peace,” Mrs. Peal said recently
Regarding her organization's micro-loan program, Mrs. Peal said the program was a unique one in that “We do not only provide money for women to do business. We also teach them through workshops and our adult literacy program, how to manage their businesses including opening their own savings accounts at various banks.”
The Foundation for Women-Liberia was established in Liberia in 2007. A startup micro-loan of US$100 is obtained from the Foundation at 10% to 12% interest, over the course of eight months. A loan of US$1500 can also be obtained at the same interest rate and the same length of time. The Foundation operates in 13 of Liberia's 15 counties.
“Among the many examples of our achievements in women's empowerment in Liberia through our microcredit program which has helped women rise up from the obscurity of their poverty, we can boast of producing Liberia's first female grass-root Independence Day Orator, Madam Garmai Estella Korboi. Mrs. Korboi delivered the 2010 Independence Day Oration in Lofa County. Since then, she has gone on to open a water plant in Voinjaima and now supplies electricity to residents in Voinjaima,” Madam Peal said.
She stated that another Liberian woman, Maalu Dahn, who benefited from FFW, used the money to attend a midwifery school.
“Since her training, she has opened one of the only clinics for child delivery in the Peace Island Community in Congo Town, which is one of the poorest communities in Monrovia,” she added.
She indicated that the underlying model that guides their program was one driven by a deep passion and quest to create opportunities for their members to succeed and take their destinies in their own hands.