Small Businesses

Small Business Programmes

Explaining the Micro-loan project

A small amount of credit can completely change a person’s circumstance in poor regions like West Africa. Money can be used to buy some equipment or something that is not readily available in the local community.  The original loan is repaid, but the profit is kept by the person who made it.  The profit can be used to support their family or re-invested back into the business to make it grow bigger.

 Case Study one – The “Dignity Project” in  Burkina Fasomicro-loan

When the ABC Children’s Aid school was first started in Bobo Dioulassou, Burkina Faso,  the “Dignity Project” was launched to help bring the parents out of the abject poverty in which they were living. The scheme was designed to empower women and to provide them with a way of earning money so that they could provide for their families.  Each woman was asked to think of a small business project that she could run, then, if the project as approved, they were loaned the equivalent of £30 for a period of 6 months. After that time, the women had to repay the loan.  They could keep the profit and then take a new loan if they needed it. The women meet together regularly to swap ideas, talk about ways to overcome their business problems together and to plan for the future.   This scheme has been remarkably successful and has helped to significantly change the economic situation in the local community.  There are currently 300 women taking part in the “Dignity Project”

 Case Study two – a subsistence farmer in Ghana

Tiyiibuzie Yasinta is the second wife of a subsistence farmer in the small village of Dapouri, near Wa in Northern Ghana.  She is 40 years old and has 6 children.  Yasinta was so poor that when one of her children died, she didn’t even have any nice clothes to wear for the funeral – something that was very shameful within her community.  She was farming rice and Bambara beans, like everyone else in the community, so her produce did not bring in very high prices in the market at harvest time.

Jacob’s Well gave her a small loan, which she was able to use to buy some basic equipment to start harvesting Shea butter from the Shea trees which grow wild in the bush.  Shea butter is used for cosmetic products and can be sold for a good price in the market.  A small loan, which was quickly repaid, enabled her to set up her own business and become financially self-sufficient.

Examples of the type of project that could be started with a micro-loan

  • Buying fruit from the whole-sale market and then selling it for a profit in another neighbourhood.
  • Buying some cooking equipment and setting up a road-side food stall.
  • Buying a sewing machine and cloth and setting up a clothes-making business
  • Buying young chickens, goats or pigs and fattening them up to sell at local festivals.
  • Buying groundnuts to sew in a field


micro-oanHow much money is loaned

£30 is enough to start

How could I help?

A gift of £30 will change the future of one family in Ghana, Kenya or Burkina Faso by enabling Jacob’s Well to enrol one more woman in a small business project.  When you make your gift, please specify which country you would like your micro-loan to be used in.