"If you want to feed a man for a day, give him a fish. If you want to feed him for a lifetime, teach him how to fish." That famous quote captures the essence of our economic empowerment work at Pamoza. We educate community members on ways in which they can earn an income for themselves.
We started by creating community businesses so that communities as a whole could make a profit from selling common household goods or services and use that profit to address needs in their own communities. We currently have two active community businesses: a "grocery" shop and a grinding mill.
We then expanded to village banks where groups of people could save together and loan to one another as a way to afford big-cost items like a bag of fertilizer. They have to pay back their loans with a hefty interest rate of 20%, but that interest goes back to the group and not to some commercial bank. At the end of the year, the group distributes the profit to every member of the "bank".
Our newest venture, the Pamoza Cooperative, offers community members the opportunity to sell produce from their farms as a collective, which allows them to benefit from banking and loan services as well as business contracts established for all members. The Co-op is an amazing and sustainable tool for raising the income of all active members.
Our economic empowerment efforts have the potential to transform entire communities. This year, we are targeting 500 community members, including many of the village bank members, to help them get into agribusiness primarily through our cooperative. It costs Pamoza $30 to provide business training and start-up capital for one community member.
Will you help us teach people how to fish so they can eat for an entire lifetime?