Foundation for Women
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Issues: Human Services, International, Philanthropy, Economic Development, Microfinance
Location: PO Box 2786 La Jolla CA 92038 USA
The mission of the Foundation for Women (FFW) is to serve impoverished women locally and globally by funding and creating microcredit programs. Following the classic Grameen Bank microcredit methodology developed by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, FFW funds very small loans to impoverished women, making it possible for borrowers to start and build businesses that provide income to support themselves and their families with a sustainable wage. The grassroots FFW microcredit effort has resulted in two programs where FFW is the registered operator – in San Diego and Liberia. In addition, FFW collaborates with existing non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) to support lending programs in India and in the African countries of Niger and Zambia. On its own and in conjunction with its collaborating organizations, FFW has touched more than 250,000 women in poverty since its founding in 1997. It is estimated that each borrower positively impacts five other people with her improved circumstances, meaning that more than 1.25 million people have been reached in some way by the Foundation for Women.
Programs: Shortly after the election of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the end of a protracted civil war in Liberia, the Foundation for Women had the opportunity to establish the Liberian Microcredit Program, headed by a Liberian who found refuge in the US during the war. In a country whose economy was decimated by war, this program has been extraordinarily successful. On a daily basis women come to groups, eagerly awaiting their opportunity to receive a loan.
The program offers women a combination of services and resources including access to capital, product distribution and savings opportunities. Through their borrowing groups, participants receive financial and business training and access to other services. Beginning with a loan of $100, women start or build their businesses, either alone or in a group of other participants. Their efforts are acknowledged as contributing to the rebuilding of the economy of Liberia, in addition to improving the lives of every borrower and her extended family.
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