Monday, August 28, 2006

New Program Launch

On August 25th ASAP Africa was proud to welcome the acting Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr. Goran Engstrand (pictured here with Alpha Chapendama of SIDA and ASAP Country Director Willie Dhlandhlara) and the CARE Zimbabwe Country Director Mr. Steve Gwynne-Vaughan, to the launch of ASAP’s new village savings and lending project (VS&L) held at Nyamahumba Primary School.

Funded by The McKnight Foundation, the “Kufusa Mari Two” rural microfinance project will work to strengthen and expand ASAP’s existing savings-led microfinance program for rural women in Nyanga District in eastern Zimbabwe. The project will improve the income and self reliance of over 6,000 women over the next two years.

The McKnight Foundation also funded ASAP Africa’s first VS&L project in the same area from 2001-2003. The first activity of the newly funded project has been to conduct a sustainability survey, to assess exactly how many savings clubs that were active in 2003 continue to operate today. Preliminary findings are that 78% of the groups are still functioning after over two years. Considering the current hardships that people have been enduring in Zimbabwe since 2003 – this is a phenomenal result! The final sustainability report will be posted on the ASAP Africa web site next month.

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