Mamas of Microcredit

A large dugout canoe expands income generating activities
for the “Mamas of Microcredit”
-By Natana Weteto (Disciples Information Bulletin)
Note: The Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo (CDCC) is a project partner of HandUp Congo. It is located in what today is the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), formerly known as Zaire, and was founded in 1889. The church has been affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States since its inception. The church functions with 26 ecclesial regions located in the provinces of Equateur, Bandundu, East Congo, Lower Congo and Kinshasa regions. Its 358 congregations serve 650,000 members. The church has 6 general hospitals, 9 maternity centers and 42 functioning health centers.

The women (called “mamas”) of Lotumbe have been working in two microcredit groups (25 and 31 members) in recent years. They have income-generating activities that allow them to save every fortnight and to borrow from these savings the money that allows them to increase their activities.

Some of the mamas celebrating the delivery of their own sales canoe.

They have just acquired a large dugout canoe that will allow them to go to markets around Boyela, Nkasa, Bompondo or even Boteka and to some extent to organize trips to Mbandaka (the provincial capital) in order to stock up on goods.

Here are some success stories:
The widow Mpongo makes handmade soap. She buys caustic soda and palm oil and thanks to her equipment purchased by credit obtained in her microcredit group, she manufactures handmade soap that she sells on the spot in Lotumbe or in the surrounding markets.

The widow Iyango goes into the forest to pick up fibrous leaves used in the kitchen to cook dishes without using pans. These sheets are very sought after because no home in Lotumbe can do without. The profits she makes enable her to meet her daily needs, but the surplus has enabled her to save money through her micro-credit group as well as to buy salt that she resells to increase her income and take charge of her grandchildren, who live with her.
Ms. Nyabitumba is a nurse at the General Reference Hospital of Lotumbe. The money she contributed to her microcredit group is being saved, and she lives only on her salary. This made it possible for her to receive credit that allowed her to buy fuel that she sells to the shops in Lotumbe. Her activity enabled her to buy a dugout canoe (in which she sits) and which she leases to individuals who go to the riverside markets in the area. This investment has allowed her to substantially increase her income and live more or less at ease.

These three examples that we wanted to share with you show that we only need to have the will to succeed.

The Supervising Pastor of Lotumbe, Rev Boyaba, enjoys geography and drew this map of the Lotumbe area. The village is accessible only by dugout canoe. It is located in the world’s second largest rainforest.

HandUp Congo Goal: to raise USD 3,500 to buy the microcredit group a Yamaha motor, to access riverside markets and sell their wares. Donations can be made online to, Project 20 2013-14, “Lotumbe Community Development” (designate “motor”). Australians receive tax deductibility.