This week's update comes from Iringa Hope, a micro-finance organization affiliated with Bega Kwa Bega. One of their board members is currently in Tanzania visiting with leaders and members of local SACCOS (Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies) like those in Isimani - partnered with Holy Trinity in Newington, NH.
Today we had a shorter ride. Isimani is just one hour from Iringa on a good road. We met with 13 of the members at the Village Hall because the new IDC (Integrated Development Center) at Isimani is just being built... Isimani is a busy village. While we were hearing Neema and Lafaili's stories we noticed a group of mamas and children waiting to meet.
The Isimani SACCOS is called "Twitange" a Kihehe word that means, "helping others." It's a perfect name for this group, which is thriving. They have almost TSH 50,000,000 ($22,460) in assets. The average amount of the loans for this SACCOS is TSH900, 000 (about $400) so they are very healthy. The chairperson of the group mentioned that she has been receiving calls from other SACCOS who want to partner with them. Peter (an Iringa Hope employee) warned them not to be taken in by people from organizations who only want to make money for themselves and not to work on behalf of the SACCOS members.
Although some individuals are already registered, Isimani is about to register their AMCOS (Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Society). Isimani is a farming community that was heavily impacted by last year's drought so they are thinking that having a place to store their harvest and to bargain for a better price will benefit the entire village...
(Later) the SACCOS chairperson gave us a tour of their new IDC, which will house offices for the Isimani SACCOS and AMCOS, have a meeting room and a storage facility for seeds, fertilizer, herbicide, and after harvest, crops. The funds for this building along with six others were donated by the Peter J. King Family Foundation
. The officers told us that they would move into the building in one week. The construction workers were putting the finishing touches on the beautiful new building.
- Iringa Hope, 29 March 2017