Small Loans Association
The Small Loans Association (SLA), established in 2006, works to restore hope among the most vulnerable families in Kabwe, Zambia through the giving of micro-loans. Small but effective loans, ranging between $100-$200, provide many families the opportunity to climb the ladder of development out of abject poverty. They have set the long term goal of assisting 1,000 families by 2011, increasing household income through an integrated approach to poverty reduction.
Small Loans Project Brochure
Their method includes using the profits from the interest of micro loans to help not only the immediate borrower but to be given back with a cross cutting theme including: Educational support to community schools and Home-Based Care to the most vulnerable families by means of medical support, food rations, and medical attention.
The Small Loans Association is an evidence-based initiative that has long lasting solutions to poverty. The organization has grown and continues to learn what practices are best for sustainable solutions. One example is their change from emphasizing individual to group loans. Since inception, SLA was only giving loans to individuals. In 2008, 21 members were given individual loans. During the May 2009 committee meeting members reviewed the following: needs and assessment, community programs, and study of good practices. The committee gathered from the evaluation that initiating group loans would be a more effective practice. Therefore the group loan development initiative for economic livelihoods for women was initiated in 2009.
Together the group works to devise saving strategies and other rational decision-making skills necessary to run a successful project that can payback the loan. Groups range from 5-10 people and hold each-other responsible for paying back the loan given. Payments are made as a group and a fine is issued if the requirement is not met. Member meetings are held weekly, giving groups an opportunity to share successes and failures in order to learn from each-other.
"Without these loans, my life would have been an uphill battle. Putting food on the table and sending my children and grandchildren to school would have been almost impossible. The loans are small, and I know that I will be able to repay them back. The payback period is nice and acceptable compared to the mainstream banks and other lending institutions who may not even give you a loan because of your poor background. Since I have no husband to support us, acceptance is very tough. God is great for groups like Small Loans Association and African Millennium Foundation."