This is a group loan request submitted by the twenty-four members of the women’s tontine Balindite, represented by Jacqueline D.. Founded over ten years ago in the southern village of Mlomp, the Balindite group engages in a variety of commercial activities, including:
- Transportation and sale of produce grown in their household gardens as far away as the bordering countries of Gambia and Guinea-Bissau
- Traditional local crafts: soap making, batik cloth-dying, and mat and basket weaving
The loan requested by the group would be invested in materials and supplies for their gardening and craft activities, and the transportation of the finished goods to market.
BackgroundSenegal is one of the world’s poorest countries, yet its solid democratic tradition and highly developed associational life distinguish it from other countries in its income group. Especially remarkable are Senegal’s networks of rotating savings and credit associations, known as tontines. Commonly organized by groups of twenty to thirty housewives who live in the same village, the tontines provide poor women throughout the country with small loans to finance modest income-generating activities. Repayment rates within these associations are excellent, because they are based on local reputation and personal trust between the members. However, their financial resources are limited to the contributions of their members, frequently subsistence farmers with very little disposable income. This has prevented the traditional tontines from meeting the demand for rural microenterprise loans and restricted their impact on the economic development of their communities. Senegal Ecovillage Microfinance (SEM) works with our partner organization CRESP to bridge this gap by linking traditional village credit associations with outside sources of finance.
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