Access to finance is a major challenge for some of the world’s poorest people, particularly single women. Traditional lending facilities may not be accessible to them, or may not offer the type of small loans many need to invest in their businesses and build a sustainable livelihood for themselves and their families. Microfinance projects are a mechanism for providing small loans to the most vulnerable people.
In Bangladesh, the Dhaka Ahsania Mission provides microloans to the rural poor, particularly single women. Since 2010, SGS has been supporting this work, providing funding to more than 250 people to invest in their business ventures, typically clothing manufacture and small-scale farming. In the first phase of the project SGS mainly supported villagers in the remote Gazipur district of Bangladesh. In 2014, this work has been extended to the community of Madhabdi in the Narsingdi district. The greater wealth these women now enjoy has enabled many to send their children to school, afford better nutrition and employ others in the community. The loan repayment rate of almost 95% bears testament to the sustainable nature of the businesses they have built.