Help a Woman Start a Business in Mulanje to Lift Her Family Out of Poverty

Charity: MicroLoan Foundation
Location: Malawi
Genre: Income Generation
MicroLoan Foundation is providing women facing poverty with entrepreneurship training and access to small loans to invest in businesses.

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Many of the poorest families in Malawi are going hungry for several months of the year. The poorest people live in rural areas and women are more likely to be poor than men.

Women in these communities are often financially excluded and do not have the same access to education and training to help them to build businesses. Women also do 75% of unpaid work in the household which means they have less time to dedicate to their businesses to earn an income to support their family.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all. This project contributes directly to the goals No Poverty, Zero Hunger and Gender Equality. The impact of our work also addresses the goals on Quality Education, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Climate Action, Life on Land and Partnerships for the Goals.

Women running business - MicroLoan_ credit PeterCaton

How MicroLoan’s project addresses this problem:

MicroLoan Foundation is providing women facing poverty with business skills and financial literacy training and small loans to invest in businesses. As they build a successful, profitable business they generate a steady income to provide for their families.



The training is essential to set women up for success. It focuses on business and financial literacy skills such as market research, reinvesting profits, budgeting and making savings. The training is taught through song, dance and role play so that women who are unable to read and write are included.


Group photo - MicroLoan
Sewing - MicroLoan

The training is delivered in person by our well-trained Loan & Training Officers (LTOs), local individuals who travel to rural communities by motorbike. The training programme sets women entrepreneurs up for success, so that they grow their businesses, and grow their profits.

25 women entrepreneurs in Mulanje, 5 groups of 5 women, will take part in financial literacy training, business skills training, and get access to small, affordable loans.

As they succeed in generating a steady income, they can provide for their families. The women have on average of four children each and as household income increases, the women can afford to feed their families a nutritious diet, pay for healthcare and send their children to school.

When one woman prospers, a whole community can be positively impacted. MicroLoan’s data also shows that as women grow their businesses, they create employment opportunities for family members and others in the community.

Women with children_credit PeterCaton

More Information

How it works: Theory of change

Step one: Our Loan & Training Officers (LTOs) travel on motorbikes or bicycles to rural areas to meet with community leaders.

Step two: They identify the women who are most in need and have the potential, and the desire to run a business.

Step three: These women then form groups of five members. They attend eight training sessions to learn about business principles, like how to budget and make a modest profit.

Step four: Afterwards, the women in the groups receive their loans. We help them to open a bank account where they can put their savings.

Step five: The women start trading in their new businesses. These might include selling vegetables, trading second hand clothes, or making tea and fritters.

Step six: Every two weeks the groups have training on financial literacy and business skills which is delivered through song, dance and role play. They also pay back their loans in small instalments.

Step seven: After four months (on average) the women have repaid their loans and are earning a regular income. As a result they can then apply for another loan to help grow their business.

Step eight: With a repayment rate consistently above 97%, we reuse the money to help even more women start a business. This means that a small investment can have a positive impact for years to come.

Visit Website: MicroLoan Foundation