The description of the PELLITAL project
Agnam-Goly (http://www.agnam-goly.org) is an ancient village bordering the Sahara desert in Senegal, West Africa. Its 3,143 inhabitants make a living from herding cattle and farming the banks of the Senegal river. The women of Agnam-Goly supplement their familes' incomes by running their own small enterprises. Most of them earn less than two dollars a day. That's what brings Julia (an American based volunteer) and I to think about how we could help the women of my village and we came about the idea to propose Facebook users to make micro loans to the entrepreneur women of Agnam-Goly:
Pellital (name of the project) means "commitment" in Fulani, the language spoken in Agnam-Goly. Pellital links the women of Agnam-Goly with the users of Facebook. Here's how it works:
1. We post entrepreneur profiles and loan applications from Agnam-Goly as Posted Items on the Pellital group page.
2. You can lend any amount to an entrepreneur of your choice with the ChipIn application. Other than PayPal and MoneyGram transfer fees, 100% of your loan is disbursed in local currency to the entrepreneur you selected.
4. The loans are repaid in six monthly installments. Once a loan is fully repaid, the lender may withdraw 100% of the original dollar amount lent. For the current pilot group of loans, we will assume responsibility for repayment if the borrower defaults.
5. Borrowers pay a flat interest fee of 10% of the principal. We are an all-volunteer nonprofit group and interest income is used only for money transfer fees and other necessary operating expenses.
6. During the lending period we keep lenders informed of the impact of their loans by posting updates on each borrower's group page.
Each entrepreneur has been carefully chosen as a Pellital participant because they have already proven that they have the spirit, determination and skill to undertake the challenge that is now ahead. They need your help to achieve their dreams of success and happiness.
The aspiring entrepreneurs who are participating in the Pellital Microfinance program are:
- Kadia Diop, fish seller
Kadia Diop is forty years old and the mother of four children. Kadia first began selling fresh fish in 1998. She buys the fish from a town called Richard-Toll which is located 250 miles (400 km) from Agnam-Goly.
The main limitation to her business is conserving the fish in the extreme temperatures of Agnam-Goly. The temperature can reach highs of 107-114 °F (40 - 45 °C). In this extreme heat her stock of fish can easily spoil if she does not manage to sell it within two days of purchase. When this happens it often causes her enormous financial losses. Kadia has been given a loan of $658 to buy a freezer. With a freezer, she can freeze the fish thereby preserving it. This will dramatically decrease the risk of loss due to spoilage while increasing the efficiency of the product to market processes and reducing the cost of fish to the residents of her village. Kadia hopes to achieve her goal of self sufficiency, reduce the cost of food and providing a better and healthier life for all in her village.
- Penda Fedior et Mari Diop, clothing sellers
Penda and Mari live in the same household. They are 25 years old and are each the mothers of two children. Penda and Mari have learned the traditional ways and styles and would open a small clothing shop that would sell the traditional clothing and accessories that they have produced like "boubou" dresses, undergarments, shoes, incense and perfumes. As you can see from the photo, Penda and Mari have the skills and talent to create the most beautiful garments and traditional clothing. They have been given a loan of $263 for sewing equipment as well as an inventory of cloth and other materials required to launch their business. This loan will assist Penda and Mari and ensure that the traditions of Senegal remain for future generations
- Fama Mbodji, seamstress
Fama Mbodji is forty-five years old and the mother of eight children. Fama is very well known as a skilled seamstress and her cloth items are in high demand. Fama specializes in the production of bed sheets, traditional men's robes and women's dresses. Fama has been given a loan of $132. She will use the funds to purchase a greater inventory of fabric and thread. Fama already knows she can increase her personal production if she had access to more inventory. She also knows her products are well respected and desired in her community. The small loan of $132 will make a significant difference to Fama's life. The skill of the seamstress and the beautiful colours of the cloth blend into outstanding finished products in Fama's hands.
- Dieynaba Sall, buttermilk seller
Dieynaba Sall is Forty-five years old and the mother of three children. Several months ago Dieynaba Sall started producing and selling buttermilk, a very popular traditional food treat in West Africa. Each day, Dieynaba turns 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of powdered milk into buttermilk but as buttermilk is so highly prized in Agnam-Goly she is never able to satisfy the client demand. Dieynaba's clientele has the potential to grow very rapidly and she would like to scale up her business by increasing her daily production of buttermilk. However, she lacks the capital funds she needs to increase her inventory of the main ingredient, powdered milk. Dieynaba has been given a loan of $132 for the purchase of a powdered milk inventory large enough to jump-start her business expansion. There is little doubt in Dieynaba's mind that the resultant increase in buttermilk production will be quickly be acknowledged with an equally quick increase in sales revenues. For a small loan of $132 Dieynaba could increase the supply of a popular food treat in her community as well as assist her family reach a more stable income.
- Maty Thioye, vegetable seller
Maty Thioye is fifty years old and the mother of eight children. Maty is a merchant who sells vegetables in the marketplace of Agnam-Goly. Maty knows she must work hard in order to supplement her family's income and she is successful on a small scale. Maty also knows that if she had more product she could sell more and in doing so increase the family income. Maty hasbeengiven a loanof $65 dollars in order to increase her stock of vegetables. There are many benefits to increasing Maty's business. If she has more to sell more people will buy her products. If she can sell more the producers must produce more. Maty understands that supply and demand work in any culture and in any place. The very small loan of $65 will assist Maty to help herself, her community and the regions food producers.
- Mariatou Sall, traditional hairstylist
Mariatou Sall is a highly respected, professional hairstylist. She specializes in the very elaborate braided hairstyles of West Africa. Her hair braiding business employs five other village women. Mariatou and her colleagues are in high demand by the brides of the region before their weddings. Mariatou specializes in the many traditional hairstyles which are an integral part of the weddings and of the costuming for village festivals and celebrations. Mariatou owns her own business and she vividly demonstrates that the local women can contribute siginificantly to the family income. But as importantly she is preserving Agnam-Goly's traditional braided hairstyles for future generations. To promote the business, Mariatou hasbeen givena loan of $65 for a local radio commercial. Radio is a very important technology in Agnam-Goly and one that all people respect and listen to. The message Mariatou wishes to give is that tradition is alive and well and it is preserved in her braiding techniques.
Please note that you may visit our website, www.pellital.org, for status updates, receipts and loan transaction documents, and financial records for the Pellital project.