Exciting news from MicroLoan Foundation Australia
Autumn 2018 Edition
Our team has been super busy and I’m excited bring you lots of interesting news so please READ THIS NOW – or put it by to read very soon.
We couldn’t start the second quarter of 2018 without first thanking you for your continued support.
It continues to be an exciting journey and we’re truly humbled and indeed honored to have you with us as we push ahead with our boldest expansion plans yet with a vision to help even more women and families living in desperate poverty.
I make no excuses for the lengthy report as there’s so much for us to share. And please, please give me your feedback.
Annual accounts 2017
MicroLoan Foundation Australia (MLFA) is grateful for your generous support which has helped us develop and implement our successful social microfinance model in Malawi, Zambia and now Zimbabwe. Since our inception in 2002 (2009 in Australia) we have provided small loans,
Business training and mentoring to over 180,000 poor women in rural sub-Saharan Africa to empower them to work their own way out of poverty, and build better lives for themselves and their families and close to 1 million dependants. We hope that you will be inspired by the impact that your contribution has had on some of sub-Saharan Africa’s most impoverished communities.
Progress update on our goals
Over the course of the past year, MLF aimed to increase its outreach to provide more women with access to MicroLoan’s financial services. We also continued our efforts to improve our efficiency and implement new technologies to help our organisation reach financial sustainability. MLF’s goal is to support marginalized women in at least five countries by 2021, and we began our expansion into new countries in 2017 with the opening of a first branch in Zimbabwe. Two Loan & Training Officers were recruited who supported over 350 women in rural areas in the vicinity of Harare. To date we have 100% repayment of the loans, and we are planning on growing the number of women we support by recruiting more LTOs. MLF is adopting a cautious growth approach while the political situation is evolving, but we observe that the people in Zimbabwe are hopeful and optimistic about the future of their country’s economy.
MicroLoan in Zimbabwe
Last week CEO Clive Hughes and I spoke for an hour with global founder and chairman Peter Ryan upon his return from a two week visit to Zimbabwe. He had been closely assessing the current situation in the country and his bold decision to open there last year was immediately validated. The level of optimism and indeed investment is surprisingly high even at this early stage. Peter described his many conversations, speaking to people of influence in Harare and in rural areas as he travelled far and wide and throughout country and was delighted to discover such enthusiasm for MicroLoan projects. With all our borrowers having access to mobile banking and a simpler remodeled business model, it’s going to be far easier to implement loan branches than in the past.
With the high level of basic education in the country, with most speaking good English, and the pilot branches still achieving an astounding 100% repayment rate, the future prospects look really good.
Zimbabwe Appeal to fund loans to 200 women
We’re so grateful to the number of you who responded so generously to our announcement of our Zimbabwe Appeal to raise $35,000 in Australia by 30 June 2018, to provide loan funds for 200 women in Zimbabwe who are motivated to start their own micro businesses.
Clive Hughes has taken the initiative to create and manage the appeal and is focusing on contacting Zimbabwe-born Australians with whom he hopes this will strike a chord and help us reach our target.
If you know any Zimbabweans, or indeed others who may be interested please contact Clive on 0417 270 229 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founder Peter Ryan retires
At the end of February this year Peter Ryan resigned as CEO, 20 years after commencing his MicroLoan Foundation journey which started in 2002 when he famously launched in Malawi with one man and a bicycle.
Sad news but he will continue to play a role as Founder and Advisor as the charity moves forward and will remain on the African Boards.
I’m sure you will join with us and the one million beneficiaries of his genius and pure determination to wish him a very happy and healthy ‘retirement’. Words alone cannot express our heartfelt gratitude Peter. Thank you!
MLF is dedicated to rigorously monitoring its activities, its organizational performance on the ground, and its progress towards social and economic goals for its clients. Across Malawi and Zambia, the women’s average business profits per week are A$23. The women also make regular savings deposits averaging A$19 per client per month. The savings help them to become more resilient and better able to deal with unexpected events and financial shocks and allows them to save for larger expenses.
Our clients’ poverty status is measured using an adapted version of the Poverty Probability Index (PPI) questionnaire, an innovative tool which helps us assess if we are reaching those most in need and see if their poverty status is improving over time. After taking advantage of MLF’s services for more than three years, over 13% of our most vulnerable clients manage to move out of poverty (defined as no longer living below A$%1.60/day). But before reaching this crucial milestone, the women report many positive changes in their lives because of increased household incomes (see infographic later in this report).
Case studies Malawi January 2018
Annie Mehala is an extremely successful female entrepreneur from the Mulanje region in Malawi. The married mother of three adult children, Annie is financially responsible for 10 people. Caring for a household of this size is not an easy task, and Annie started a small business selling clothes in her village to provide for the daily needs of her family. Prior to joining a MicroLoan Foundation (MLF) loan group, Annie faced many challenges: clothing is expensive to purchase and transport, and some customers who took items out on loan were not able or willing to pay her.
Annie has now received 23 loans from our organisation. While her first loan was of MK 13,000 (A$23), her most recent loan application was for MK 400,000 (A$700). Since she started receiving loans and support from MLF, Annie’s business has grown and diversified, and her success has meant that her profits have increased nearly seventeen-fold. In addition to selling clothes, she now stocks kitchen utensils, fish and seasonal farm products such as beans and maize. Determined to create a better future for her family, Annie has also started a second business managing six houses which she rents out to local families. Through her success she has been able to build herself two houses and has purchased a plot of land on which she hopes to build a third house for renting out.
Annie reports that her favorite thing about being a part of an MLF group is the relationship between the women and the Loan and Training Officer, and that business planning is the most important thing that she learned in her training sessions. She is already planning for the future by getting her passport processed so that she might travel outside of Malawi to purchase a wider array of high-quality goods, making her shop even more attractive. As her business continues to grow, she also dreams of building homes for her children and their families.
Annie’s life has changed dramatically in the time that she has been with MLF, and through hard work and determination she has been able to provide her family with a brighter future. This has earned her the respect and admiration of her community, and she is now regarded as a role model and a living example of the success women can achieve when they become entrepreneurs. This has inspired many other women to join MLF and start their own businesses. Annie has become a leader in her community, and a symbol of hope.
The true power of MicroLoan
Together, we have the power to start something remarkable today.
MLF is proud of what our work can achieve beyond the life of one loan. We refer to this as the MLF multiplier effect. We often see local economy is stimulated as our clients’ growing businesses provide employment opportunities for both family members and others in the community. Based on studies, we know that 60% of the women’s husbands become involved in the business, and our data shows that 10% of our clients have one or more paid employees (not counting family members).
Microfinance does not only improve the women’s financial situation, but also their self-esteem, their decision-making power, and their position in the household and community. A 2017 study conducted by a student from the University of Edinburgh based on interviews with more than 200 of our female entrepreneurs in Malawi found that their ability to contribute financially to the household income (90% of those interviewed) increased their sense of self-worth. Being more self-reliant (93%) and being involved in household decisions (79%) also improved relationships within their households. Below are quotes from the women interviewed in this study:
“I feel more responsibility at home now, especially in my children’s education, in providing food, and in taking the initiative to budget and plan our expenses”.
“After I started getting loans, life is improving. I have a greater influence at home now and I am usually the one making all the decisions.”
“I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to manage a business. Now, I am not afraid and I can wish for a better life. I am more confident. I feel that I am more self-reliant.”
We continuously need to replace motorbikes – they last about 3-4 years and on average cost A$3,500 each.
- There are 30 bikes in the budget for this year.
- Zambia is in need of 2 car replacements at A$45,000 each.
- Malawi is looking for a 4×4 SUV crew cab and a used one is about A$35,000.
Unrestricted funds are always preferred, but if a funder or supporter has a particular interest in funding CAPEX items, then please keep this in mind.
And perhaps you know of any organizations which can donate cars or bikes?
The numbers which make a difference
Note: GBP66 = A$115 and
GBP5.4m = A$9.45m
The kind of businesses your women launch
|Business Types||% of total|
2 ways to show your support
Give and you can be part of the change today. By giving $45 you can fund the first loan for a woman to start changing her life.
Spread the word. Tell your colleagues and friends how Annie and our other clients changed their lives with MicroLoan and what a difference just A$10 makes and ask them to subscribe to our Newsletter. The box is at the bottom of the Home page of our website.
A big thank you to our major sponsors including:
Carol has now raised close to $25,000 for us – an amazing achievement – and her enthusiasm is such that one of her suppliers, the J. Renee brand from the US, are matching her donations to us.
Hats off to Carol.
Our honorary auditor
Corporate advice and documentation
Trade Mark registration
Where your money goes
As you know, we are a very small organisation lifting well above our weight with our 2016/2017 cost of administration and fundraising at 0.47% meaning your generous dollars go exactly where intended.
Currently no wages or salaries are paid to any of us involved in Australia and all operations are managed and funded by the Directors.
Our human instinct is to support those who support others.
That makes sense doesn’t it?
And it’s proven to help business – legitimately.
As a donor to MLFA, we’d like to see your business get the recognition you deserve, so email contact me and I’ll share more information on how together we can do this.
Where we go
While we continue to support our Mulanje branch, we are pleased to report that we now actively support MicroLoan Foundation activities in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia and later will do so in Lesotho, Swaziland and Natal.
Other ways to help
Here’s what your gift can do
Give as you earn (Payroll giving)
By setting up a regular contribution via your salary you can give to MicroLoan before tax. Many employers also match employee giving, so the impact can be doubled.
Currently, we have a facility with Good2Give and receive regular givings from them.
Speak to your HR department or visit the Charities Aid Foundation for more information.
Raise Our Profile
Know a celebrity? We desperately need high profile supporters and I’d love to speak to them about becoming an Ambassador – which is not onerous as it involves little more than the use of an endorsement from them.
Time on your hands – got talent not being utilized? Want do make difference? We’ve a need for committed people across all areas of our operation, from PR to board level.
If that might be you then let’s chat! Call me NOW on 0417 211 366.
Our Board of Directors
Australia – we’re blessed having Simon Tedeschi, world famous classical pianist and entertainer whose visible support and occasional fundraising concerts does so much to help our profile and credibility.
World-wide – who better than Sir Bob (Geldof). His recognisable voice and endorsement cis an important factor for us.
Our Ambassador at Large
Peter FitzSimons – bestselling author, sports journalist, broadcaster and former Wallaby whose endorsement in his columns occasionally is greatly appreciated. To you and your wife Lisa Wilkinson, thank you!
Our technical team
For all the help with websites, emails, videos and the myriad complicated technical items needed in our digital age, I’d like to acknowledge and thank our biggest supporter, my wife Prue, and our devoted helpers in the Philippines, Michael and Kevin, for all the help with websites, emails, videos etc.
Our team in Mulanje
Seen here with Carol Haffke and her mother, Ing, from The Shoe Garden.
We look after your data
With so much in the press right now about how charities use your information (and where they spend your money!), we thought we’d take this opportunity to assure you that we comply the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 (Amended) and that your personal information is never shared with anyone else. And your givings are not spent with fundraising companies or on our comforts!
Further details are available on our website.
If you have already provided personal information to MicroLoan Foundation Australia and wish to update it or if you no longer wish to be contacted by us then please contact me email@example.com.
Get in touch
If you have any questions about our work or you would like to get further involved with MicroLoan Foundation Australia please phone or SMS me 0417 211 366 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks again for all of your support in 2017 / 2018
And we look forward to continuing to work together to help the women of Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia build better futures for themselves and their families.