Bernadet Bijsterbosch is ambassador of Microcredit for mothers
‘OUR VISION INSPIRES AND OUR APPROACH WORKS!’
IN EMERGING MARKETS, WOMEN ARE STILL THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND THE ECONOMY, DUE TO THE NEW MICRO BUSINESSES THEY START.
Economically independent women have more influence on their income, procreation and their children’s development. Their extra income is also an investment in the next generation and is therefore a multiplier effect for the whole community. Women have already made enormous progress in emerging markets. The wide success stimulates us to contribute even more, as women are still the driving force in these areas. This is shown by the following proven facts:
– The poorest families still depend on the woman’s income.
– The woman’s income benefits not only herself, but her entire family.
– Women, more than men, invest the money they make in health, education and the welfare of their family.
Stimulating female entrepreneurship
We believe in female entrepreneurs and leaders at the poorest levels. We help the poorest mothers in Asia who have no other access to financial means to start a business and who are not accepted by financial institutions. Stimulating the economic activity of exactly these women leads to sustainable development for them as well as their families. Female entrepreneurship consists of three pillars, each crucial for the poorest women in Asia to reach the maximum level of autonomy.
A microcredit, saving and professional training: an average loan of € 85 to start their own business in, for instance, chickens, textile or candles. But the women also need to save money for unexpected situations, such as disease, marriage and education. Moreover, we want to invest in these women’s knowledge and skills by training them on business management, marketing and technical product details. We believe that it is precisely this combination that makes the women’s development sustainable.
Sustainable product loan: female entrepreneurship is also developed by giving the women access to non-financial products. A small loan can be used to buy a solar light, which will lengthen the working day by 25%.
Healthy life: the financial and non-financial elements alike contribute to the female entrepreneurs’ consciousness about leading a healthy life. Their living conditions improve (from a loam house to a brick house), their health improve (the lamp prevents kerosene fumes etc), and of course the women are no longer afraid to stand up for themselves and take control of their role in the family.
‘One motivation for women’s empowerment is basic fairness and decency. Young girls should have the exact same opportunities that boys do to lead full and productive lives. But second, the empowerment of women is smart economics. (…) In fact studies show that investments in women yield large social and economic returns.’ Robert B. Zoellick | President | the World Bank Group
How do we know that it works?
The field of microcredits is developing quickly. Messages such as ‘microcredit as a potential macro debt’ reach us too. They mainly turn up at commercial parties and banks, where microcredits have led to economic return over social benefits. Consequence: target groups that were defined initially are not reached; new debts are taken on to pay off old debts; entrepreneurial potential remains unachieved; overhead is high; and thus a lot of money sticks to organisations’ fingers.
We, at Microcredit for Mothers, choose a different route!
– We don’t make any profit through our Asian partners; we lend the donations received in the Netherlands at 0% interest rate, ensuring every euro donated enables as many women as possible to start a business.
– We hardly have any costs in the Netherlands; almost 100% of every euro donated goes to our mothers directly. We work together with many International organisations / volunteers on a win-win basis, with them showing their involvement either in kind, financially or by bringing new business.
– We carefully select our partners based on their mission and values; social benefits of giving the poorest women a chance at their own business are our prime concern. Together with them, we define a reasonable interest rate.
– We look at development as a whole. Microcredit leads to development through economic activity, which in return results in autonomy and independence; however, it always needs to be combined with essentials like education, care and infrastructure.
– Of each of the women, we know their business plan and what they invest in, enabling us to track the impact.
Do you believe that a small contribution can have a large effect, just like us? With an average loan of only € 85 per year, our female entrepreneurs in Asia can start a small business, but they also receive training to do just that. You can contribute in different ways:
– Donate money
– Set up a fundraiser, with which we are happy to help
– In kind, by offering your expertise as an entrepreneur
– Volunteer or help the foundation in a specific task
CEO EuropeanLife Media S.L.