This is a group loan to be shared by the ten members of the women’s tontine Ayidjidjo, represented by Madeleine D.. Based in the village of Oussouye on the banks of the Casamance River in southern Senegal, the Ayidjidjo group engages in long-distance trade, transporting goods produced in Oussouye to distant markets where the demand for them is high and returning with products that are in short supply in Oussouye. Typical products of Oussouye exported by the members of Ayidjidjo include:
- Brooms made from palm fronds
- Palm oil (used in traditional cooking throughout West Africa)
- Millet oil (used by traditional healers to treat bone fractures)
- Soap made from crushed oil palm nuts
Madeleine and her associates have requested a loan to scale up their inter-regional trade activities by purchasing greater quantities of locally produced goods and investing in their transportation to the markets of other regions.
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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