These past few days have been the busiest yet for me in Farende. I’ve been reading budget proposals from eighteen youth aspiring to start small businesses – everything from buying and reselling petrol to selling baked goods in the market – and trying to come up with an adequate scheme for a microfinance program that will provide them with the funds needed to launch their businesses as well as the incentive needed to repay these loans. Before these funds can be allocated, however, the budgets that have been submitted will need to be revised. As I’ve read through them, I’ve noticed many mathematical errors, and observed that most lack a strong description and plan for the project. So just today, Mackenzie, Charlie, and I brainstormed and have decided to hold a workshop this Friday to help propsective microfinance clients to come up with a business plan and budget that is thorough and accurate. The hope is that then, when people then resubmit their budgets this Sunday, they may feel better prepared to start the small business they have dreamt up. After the budgets have been resubmitted, Charlie, Mackenzie, Cyril and I will be conducting follow up interviews with the youth who have applied to receive a loan, and ideally through these conversations, decide on about five “clients” to grant loans to for this first loan term. Ideally, eventually all young adults who have written budget proposals will have the chance to receive funds…We’re hoping to set up the microfinance scheme so new “clients” have a chance to apply and reapply to be a part of the program every few months. They will just have to edit and improve their business strategies in order to show they will be able to repay the loan after its term is up.
It is exciting, needless to say, to see this project getting underway.