Women’s Microcredit Project United Church of Christ in Mozambique
Read the report of the Women’s Microcredit Project in Mozambique.
2011 – 2012 Update Report
The partnership between the United Church of Christ in Mozambique (UCCM) and Global Ministries has its roots in the 1870s when the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mission (ABCFM) began working in Mozambique. Today, the mission of the United Church of Christ in Mozambique is to serve God and bring people to a progressive religious experience inspired by Jesus Christ through worship, preaching, and the sacraments.
The United Church of Christ in Mozambique has a Microcredit program which was started by the church’s Department of Family Development. The program is a source of hope for women and their families. The project was initially started with no outside investment and grew to additional communities. At that point, Global Ministries provided financial support for the effort. In order to participate, women first go through training sessions on how and why one must save. Once women start to save, they are placed within a savings group. Each group numbers 25 women or fewer and the group commits to saving for six months at a time. Women in the group can borrow funds and must re-pay with ten percent interest. Non-members also can borrow but they must have a co-signer who is a member of the group. Women who borrow funds may use them to start a business or may use them for needed home repairs or other projects. Some savings groups are using some of their income to contribute to the construction of churches. The interest paid by borrowers becomes interest income earned by women who have invested in the savings group.
The UCCM Women’s Microcredit project is experiencing very rapid development because the women are dedicating themselves fully to this project. They feel that they are creating and managing their own money without the interference of third parties. They are the contributors and decision-makers; therefore, they feel totally comfortable in the transparency necessary to run the project. These women in the project were considered poor in the community and now they can generate their own small incomes by selling products in the market as a result of the savings they get from the microcredit project. Widows and those who have husbands who do not have jobs are able to support the school needs for their children. Christian women are able to participate in their church conferences in large numbers supporting their own transportation costs and contributions. As an added bonus, some non-Christians are converting to the church.
The growth of the project has gone beyond the original projections where it was expected to take a gradual growth. It has now spread to additional provinces and communities. Men are becoming interested in joining this project and some men are backing up their wives in the savings contributions.
Global Ministries continues to welcome gifts for this effort.