In Guyana, the life of a single parent is difficult and has many challenges, and Government in its programme for the social sector, has continuously paid attention to single parent women, whose limited household income and scope of responsibility for the upbringing of a child or children make them especially in need of targeted interventions and financial support.
Public or Social assistance is one option available to single parent women. However, over 75% of the women who have been placed on Public assistance are still receiving after 4 yrs. Social Workers complain of the women’s reluctance or lack of motivation to attend training programs or maintain employment.
The Women of Worth Microfinance program is a Public/Private Partnership between the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security and the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry Ltd (GBTI).
It was established with the fundamental aims of: Removing the barriers single parent women face, enhance their self esteem, empower them to take advantage of the economic opportunities around them and Heighten their participation in society.
GBTI has provided G$500 million dollars and the Government of Guyana will provide G$50 million dollars per annum to administer this project. Financing, from a minimum of $100,000 to a maximum of $250,000, is offered on an unsecured basis to individuals. The interest rate applicable to the loan is 6% per annum, not exceeding twenty-four (24) months; inclusive of a moratorium of three (3) to six (6) months as necessary.
To improve the socioeconomic status of women in Guyana, promote their active participation and integration in national development and contribute towards poverty reduction; thereby stimulating micro and macro economic growth.
Provide access to financial resources and business development intervention to female single parents desirous of pursuing small business ventures.
Act as a catalyst in creating an enabling environment (via Community Development Programmes) which allows people at community levels to take advantage of economic opportunities.
Increase women’s mobility, security, self esteem and participation in decision making process at a micro and macro levels.
Must be over 18 years but under 60 years of age Must be a single parent Must have some level of training and/or skills Must not be earning more than G$35,000.00 (US$175) per month
Minimum Loan Amount - $100,000.00 (500 usd) Maximum Loan Amount - $250,000.00 (1250 usd) 2 year repayment period
Clothing/garment manufacturing Poultry rearing Grocery shops Catering Cosmetology Packaged spices Bakery Leather/general craft Retail Clothes vending Natural Fruit Juices Ground seasoning Pre-school/Day Care Newspaper vending Phone cards retailing Beverage retailing
Psychosocial support is critical to the success of micro financed businesses, Basic money management training must be a pre-requisite for financing, Constant monitoring and guidance during the first six (6) months can determining the success or failure of a venture, Identification of potential markets Applicants must understand that Capital should not be used to satisfy physiological needs
Collateral requirement greatly reduces rate of defaulters Moratoriums also improves the repayment rate of beneficiaries Not everyone has the drive and discipline to be an entrepreneur.
A saving component should be mandatory.
Over 1200 households, 2000 female single parents and 5000 children have benefitted from program.
72 second time borrowers, 23 third time borrowers and 11 fourth time borrowers in the 30 months since the program was launch More than 300 persons have been employed by the beneficiaries.