Women’s Microcredit and Savings Project
Read an update report on the Women’s Microcredit and Savings Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo
Democratic Republic of Congo
The Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo (CDCC) in what today is the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was founded in 1889 and has been connected to Global Ministries and its predecessor mission bodies since its inception. The church functions with 22 ecclesial regions located in the Equator, Bandundu, East Congo, Lower Congo, and Kinshasa regions. Its 358 congregations serve 650,000 members.
The communities where the congregations are located are confronted with many socio-economic problems. The formation of Microcredit and Savings Projects among the women of the CDCC, beginning in 2008, is a source of hope in an otherwise dim situation. The microcredit and savings projects, which now number 40, with an average of 25 members each, allow participants to generate resources for their families and communities.
The CDCC microcredit project offers two ways to affect change. The first is through offering loans to people in the community so that they can start a small business or make a needed investment. These loans are then paid back with interest. The interest then becomes income to women who have invested with the group (the second way that the project helps people financially). As individuals demonstrate their ability to repay the loans and interest, they are able to borrow again and subsequent loans may be larger because they have proven themselves trustworthy.
One Microcredit and Savings Project began with 20 women and grew to 43 participants of which 38 are women and 5 are men. People may borrow up to $200.00 at a time. Borrowers must repay their loan in a prescribed amount of time, usually up to six months. From the modest interest on the loans, participants are given money for immediate needs, and a portion is then put into a savings account for them. This particular group currently meets twice a month and is governed by one President, four Secretaries, and four Cashiers. They presently have $16,000 available for loans and $5,000 in savings.
One of the women in this group, a mother of eight children has made enough to build a house. Another woman used the loan to make and sell jams, cake, soap, and perfume. Her challenge now is acquiring the wrapping paper to package her wares for sale.
The members of the Microcredit and Savings Project are generating funds for the lives of their family and community by participating in the projects. The CDCC hopes to facilitate the formation of additional groups and projects.