Microloans and training to empower women in rural Malawi and Zambia
MicroLoan Foundation UK (MLF) is a London-based charity mobilizing funds, governance advice and management expertise to provide microloans, basic business training and ongoing assistance to groups of women in Malawi and Zambia. In 2014, it had a network of 26 branches serving almost 27,000 women with small (group) loans.
The formal financial sectors in Malawi and Zambia are small, and limited in terms of outreach. With its predominantly rural economy and population (80%) Malawi's microfinance market mainly focuses on seasonal agricultural activities. MLF is the only service provider in Malawi that exclusively focuses on women on very low incomes.
In Zambia, economic growth has not translated into significant poverty reduction. In 2014, 64% of the population still lived below the poverty line, with 37% considered to be very poor. The Zambian financial sector struggles to reach out to rural areas, owing to problems with the country’s infrastructure.
Oikocredit chose to invest in MicroLoan Foundation UK because of its focus on disadvantaged women in rural areas. Oikocredit supports the organization's efforts in the field of social performance management (SPM) and its social outreach.
The loan from Oikocredit will benefit MLF's existing clients in Malawi and Zambia and an estimated 3,000 new clients in the coming years. MicroLoan has been an Oikocredit partner since 2014.
Category: Payday loans