The Dogon women's initiative - Mali
Microcredit programme for women’s groups in Dogon country
In Africa, women are the linchpin in the chain of cultivating, processing and selling food. If things go well for the women, things go well for the family, the extended family and, finally, the entire community. Many women have the potential to run small-scale enterprises, but seldom have access to a formal financial network. Microcredit could help these women to start a small business to generate more income and thus strengthen both their economic and social position within the community.
The programme is aimed at 5,000 women in Mali’s Dogon country. The women are organised in small groups that have access to microcredit in order to develop small-scale enterprises, particularly those focused on the local market. The women use the microcredit to set up trade, to make products, grow crops and to sell their products. They organise themselves in a platform in which they work together, earn money, save money and take decisions. They realise their own initiatives and talk to one another primarily about their problems, which they learn to solve together.
With the income they earn, the women increase the family income, which means the family can eat healthier food, pay for medical care and education for the children and save money to get them through less prosperous times.The women feel strengthened through working together. They see increasing opportunity to improve their living circumstances and they collaborate to realise village projects.