Women living in rural poverty must overcome numerous hardships to earn money and feed their children. Many live on $1/day or less, have suffered malnutrition their entire lives, and cannot read or write. Yet they do their best with what they have. And what they have in abundance is determination.
When a woman joins a Credit with Education program in her village, she links arms with other women she probably knows well. Together, the women receive loans and jointly guarantee repayment. Each woman saves a little money each week. They support and encourage one another to do their best.
At regular meetings, the women's group gathers to make repayments and deposit their savings. The women also participate in a lively and joyful learning session led by a local staff person who speaks their language and knows their culture and customs.
Freedom from Hunger created a curriculum for Credit with Education that directly addresses women's most pressing needs. The learning sessions are dialogue-based, incorporating new information with the knowledge and experience of the group members. The women don't need to read or write to learn. In story, role-play, demonstration, discussion and song, they explore new ideas, share what they know, and help each other find the courage to try new things that improve their lives.
Confident of the positive impacts of Credit with Education, Freedom from Hunger has developed a strategy of working with and through in-country partners to reach greater numbers of the one billion chronically hungry people in the world. In the past year, our staff of fewer than 50 professionals has worked with dozens of local financial service organizations (microfinance institutions, credit unions and rural banks) in 14 countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America to offer Credit with Education to hundreds of thousands of women of poor, mostly rural families. The women engage in education on a variety of topics, including:
Freedom from Hunger and its partners in developing countries have shown over the past 20 years that Credit with Education is an effective, practical and financially self-sustaining way for financial service organizations to provide value-added microfinance that supports the self-help efforts of poor women and families, even those so poor they are chronically hungry.