As we celebrate our independence day this week, we should keep in mind the millions who are not lucky enough to live in stable and prosperous countries. While it might seem counter-intuitive to encourage independence through giving, our partners at Develop Africa have developed multiple programs whose goals are to create sustainable development and people entrepreneurial spirit rather than encourage reliance.
Develop Africa has several projects on the Universal Giving website, from providing computers and school lunches to elementary students, to donating mosquito nets to sub-Saharan families. Their microfinance program gives small, zero-interest loans to individuals who wouldn’t be able to secure a loan from a bank due to their lack of collateral.
The microfinance movement grew out of the social activism of the 1970’s, when social entrepreneurs were looking for ways to help the poor lift themselves out of poverty and develop sustainable economic solutions to traditional aid. The goal of microfinance is to provide disenfranchised groups with access to financial services like loans, savings, and insurance.
Develop Africa’s microcredit program gives loans of usually less than $200 to entrepreneurs in Gambia and Sierra Leone, two of Africa’s poorest nations. These loans target women and young people, the groups most affected by poverty. The nonprofit hopes that empowering one entrepreneur will have a ripple effect through their community, as their business expands and creates positive growth in the local economy.
If you’re interested in making a donation to their micro financing project, check out Develop Africa on the UniversalGiving website