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Sierra Leone News: 30 women benefit from Small Business Development fund loan project

Thirty Gender Model Family households have been provided with Small Business Development Loans in two Chiefdoms in Kenema District. The loans were from SEND Sierra Leone and Welthungerhilfe (WHH). The three beneficial villages are Gegbwema and Gorahun village in Tunkia Chiefdom, Sandaru town in Gaura Chiefdom. According to the Head of SLE 1056 project at (WHH), Santigie Kamanda Kanu, the Small Business Development Loan fund is taking the lead to develop business initiatives making available essential food communities to ease shortage and develop an economy. “The support will focus on experienced business people who need support to expand and provide basic commodities in community,” he said. The loan will be revolving within the community and recipients will pay minimal interest. The project is, “Linking Agriculture Natural Resources Management and Wash towards Nutrition Security (LAAN+)” and is a 3-year project implemented by SEND Sierra Leone in Kenema and Pujehun district with support from WHH and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. He disclosed the Small Business Development Fund is just one of the components of the project that also deals with agriculture explaining they are encouraging the beneficiaries to engage in personal savings to improve on their home WASH facilities. “Our target is to help 60 people and groups but at present we have succeeded in providing for 30 people,” he said. According to Paramount Chief, Moses Sama Bunduka III of Gaura Chiefdom, despite the various resources in the country the people are still suffering. The loan facility will definitely transform the lives of people and improve their living conditions. “With the available land across the country we can fight poverty,” he assured, explaining Sierra Leoneans are so lazy they cannot do things to transform their living conditions, citing the youths who spent hours discussing irrelevant issues in Ataya bases. He called on people to handle the loans with care while investing in business. He urged them to repay their loan in time to create opportunities for others. According to the representatives from the Ministry of Social Welfare in Kenema, Bah, the Ministry is aware of the fact that women are vulnerable as most of the cases in their office have to do with families being abandoned by husbands. According to one of the GMF Leaders, Abu Bakarr Mansaray, who stood as a guarantor for his wife, he has been supporting his wife doing small scale business while he engaged on farming through which they fund their children’s education and welfare. He said he will ensure the loans given to them are used by his wife to expand her business using the business techniques acquired during the short course given to them by SEND Sierra Leone, adding this is their first loan since he got married with his wife and will ensure they repay on time. Most of the beneficiaries said this is their first ever loan as they were not exposed to such facilities in their communities, explaining they are okay with the 15% and 20% interest rates to be paid in six and eight months respectively. Watta Brima, a mother of six, said she has run a cookery shop over 10 years and has been able to educate her children with savings from her business. She added that her husband is a poor farmer.

AMK/28/1/19

By Alhaji Manika Kamara

Tuesday January 29, 2019.

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