Deline’s Gift primarily operates in rural and post-conflict areas of Senegal. While illiteracy and poverty are staggering there, the women are hard-working and determined to create change.They face a complex set of circumstances: extreme poverty, disability and the effects of a prolonged conflict during which they were widowed, maimed by landmines or displaced.
They are also under-served: often deprived of formal education and lacking assets, they are less likely to be employed, generate income or gain access to support mechanisms. The informal sector and micro enterprise are often their only options to generate income and meet their basic needs. But microenterprise requires capital investment that they struggle to secure because banks and loaning institutions consider them too risky. As a result of this lack of opportunity and access, they are subject to social and financial barriers that can and should be removed.
We know that training, micro enterprise and livelihood development are sustainable methods of lessening challenges faced by disadvantaged women. Additionally, because women typically reinvest 90% of their gains from micro enterprise in their families—improving their nutrition, health care, education and quality of life—removing barriers to micro enterprise is an effective way to uplift communities and foster peace.
Recognizing this, we enroll marginalized women in a comprehensive program that provides them with skills and business training based on their expressed needs, collateral and interest-free micro loans to fund micro enterprises, and essential resources such as wheelchairs for the disabled and clothing for their infants. So far, 311 women and over 2247 derivatives (the women’s children, spouses, extended family and community members, buyers, suppliers, etc.) have benefited from our work. That is a total of 16 groups of women who have received loans ranging from $650 to $1700.
To foster community work and widespread impact, we only select women who are organized in registered groups and work together around a specific economic activity. To date, 100% of the loans have been repaid. This is because, with Deline’s Gift, a loan is not just money: It’s an entire system of trust, sisterhood, support, guidance, growth and accountability that our members truly appreciate and are protective of.
AND THAT IS ONLY THE FIRST STEP.
When groups are selected to work with Deline’s Gift, they join our two-year graduation program designed to help women receive incremental funding, plan for the future, and develop lucrative skills—all to ensure that their achievements are sustained and their goals of transformation attained.
Our graduation program combines interest-free microloans with participatory and innovative non-formal training, because our experience has shown that it takes more than a loan to eliminate poverty. With education and training on top of loan capital, women are able to start, expand, or diversify micro-businesses.
The benefits of our work include:
Our program offers a set of accompanying services designed to make women less vulnerable to crises and emergencies by helping them be better prepared for them. These services are savings, health and mobility support, and clothing for infants.
DESIRED PROGRAM OUTCOMES