News

Beauty Therapy in the “Last Mile:” A story from rural Liberia

MicroLead partners are expanding credit and savings services throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. In Liberia, the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and the Trust Savings Credit Union (TSCU) are increasing outreach to women. Here’s their story in their own words.

Since the Ebola epidemic ended in May 2015, TSCU has made tremendous progress in the growth and development of the WOCCU MicroLead: The Credit Union Revitalization Programme in Liberia.

New members are registering with TSCU daily. In April 2015, TSCU had the total membership of 714. Since then, membership has increased 77.6 percent to 1,306 as of this writing. In April 2015, TSCU had a loan portfolio of L$ 200,000.00. Currently, the TSCU loan portfolio stands at over L$ 900,000.00.  Member feedback is overwhelmingly positive. 

Madam McCoy owns and runs a beauty salon called the ‘Faith Institute of Beauty Therapy’ located in the Ganta General markets. The salon provides regular beauty care for women, including hair-braiding, manicures and pedicures.  Madam McCoy is now a beneficiary of a second-term loan extension of L$ 100,000.00, having benefited from the first loan of L$ 50,000.00, which was repaid in full.

 “[The loan] has empowered me to improve my business that is running fully well today,” Madam McCoy said. “With the help of the two loans I got form the credit union, I was able to buy more goods and products for the smooth running of my shop… Today, I am able to send my children to school, despite being a single mother and also cater to my personal affairs as a woman and that of my children. I love Trust Savings Credit Union and will always be with this credit union. I will make sure to train my children into credit union practice as they grow up.”

About MicroLead

MicroLead is a UNCDF-managed global initiative supporting the development and roll-out of deposit services by regulated FSPs, seeking to respond to the rural vacuum of services. With the generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The MasterCard Foundation and the LIFT Fund in Myanmar, MicroLead works with a variety of FSPs and technical service providers to reach rural markets with demand-driven, responsibly priced products offered via alternative delivery channels. This is combined with financial education, so customers not only have access but can effectively use quality services.

The programme enables its partners to strengthen their deposit offerings and reach into previously untapped rural markets. With an emphasis on savings, women, rural markets, and technology, MicroLead is a performance-based program that builds the capacity of financial institutions to pilot and roll out sustainable financial services, particularly savings. Over two million additional small-balance depositors, a majority of whom are women and rural dwellers, will be reached by 2016.