Pastoral Women's Council PWC Tanzania
"I create awareness among women about microcredit, I train them about what it means and how they will benefit. The group organises for each member to give money and looks to NGO’s and the government for additional funds. The group decides at a general meeting which 8 or 9 members will borrow money this time. Once they start making a profit they start paying back the loan. For example, some members travel to buy maize, sugar or tea where it’s cheap, then sell it in a different area, or to hotels. No member has ever defaulted on her loan.
At the moment there are 371 women in our group from three communities. The challenge we have is that the number of members has increased but our capital is only 7 million shillings ($4,600) so we can only help a few women at a time."
"Three years ago the women in my area had a meeting and chose me to go and live at the Boma because I was so poor. My husband had two other wives and never helped me. I used to sell firewood to another village 10km away so I could afford cornflour to feed my children. My children were very skinny. Sometimes I had no food for my children so I divided them up and sent them to different relatives. I couldn’t afford pens or books so the two eldest dropped out of primary school.
I came to the Boma as a volunteer to look after the livestock. The Boma paid me a small amount with income that it generated. With that income I started buying goats, and selling them at a profit, then buying more. At the moment I have 33 goats. I also bought two chickens and now I have over 50. I’m the only person in the community who owns any and I sell chicken and eggs at the market every Saturday. I’m also cultivating half an acre of land, growing maize for my children. I’m planning to extend the plot.
My husband is now helping me with many things when before he gave me no support. He also volunteers at the Boma and helps me grow the maize. We’ve had another child together. With the money I’ve made I’m now buying materials to build my own house. Soon I will be leaving the boma as I can live independently and the community will choose a new woman to come in my place.
PWC is deep in my heart, I can’t describe how I feel. Everyone now respects me; they see how hard I’ve worked. My children are healthy and more confident. My three eldest are in school, I am now able to pay my school contributions. PWC is like a milking cow, I want it to survive forever."
Watch this video about PWC's 'Livelihoods through Livestock' project, which seeks to provide economic empowerment and to address poverty amongst marginalised Maasai women by providing opportunities to participate in income generating activities based on livestock.
Video by: Anne Oswald Moore