We are Elizabeth and Charles Handy.
Elizabeth is a portrait photographer with a string of exhibitions and books to her name, while Charles is an author, with an international reputation for his books on management and the future shape of work.
We decided, therefore, to combine our skills to produce this short booklet as a record of what we saw and heard on our visit. [CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD BOOKLET]
Of course, in a short time we could not hope to do more than dip into the 21 branches and 25,000 clients that now make up the MicroLoan operation in Malawi, but we like to think that the sample we met is quite representative of the whole. We left very impressed with what had been achieved in ten years. An outline of that story is provided at the end of this booklet.
Malawi is still one of the poorest countries in Africa but, on this evidence, it does not lack for entrepreneurs amongst its women. The pride, and indeed the joy, that the women we met took in their businesses, was obvious. The training group that spontaneously broke into song and dance at the beginning and end of their study sessions was a delight to behold.
The next stage must be to see if some of these mini-businesses can become small or medium-sized enterprises, employing more than their owners. Catherine’s example, described in the MicroLoan Multiplier Effect, is an example of how it can happen. Small and medium-sized businesses, however, will eventually need more investment than micro loans if they are to grow. That will be the next challenge.