In April I travelled to Togo to visit WAGES, our local microfinance partner, and a number of the micro-entrepreneurs we have supported through lendwithcare.org. It was a particularly interesting trip for me because when I first started working for CARE International back in 1997, the “Women & Associations for Gains both Economic and Social” (WAGES) project was in the process of moving away from its origins as a small-scale group lending programme set-up by CARE and was transforming into an independent Microfinance Institution (MFI). I remember how CARE’s end of project evaluation had concluded that the WAGES project was having such a positive impact on the lives of poor women and in order to help the many more thousands of people who could benefit from micro-loans, WAGES should became an independent entity. This is why when we set up our lendwithcare.org initiative in 2010, WAGES was an obvious choice to be one of our very first partners.
Sixteen years on and WAGES has grown into an incredibly successful and committed MFI - reaching more rural clients than any other microfinance provider in Togo and helping these clients (predominantly women) create better and sustainable livelihoods for themselves
Clients like Abla and Bawana (both market traders) who told me, as women, that it was impossible for them to get fair and affordable credit before they became members of WAGES:
Or Kokou (a farmer) and Kossiwa (a market trader) who said formal banks would never lend money to people like them
By Tracey Horner, Head of Lendwithcare.org
Read part two and three of Tracey's video blog from Togo!