Many communities and individuals in Ghana are benefiting immensely from microfinance support through the provision of microcredit for water and sanitation purposes, small business support, and farming. Walter Hughes Jnr and Rocky Mount VA Club, Bill Slicker(Rotary Club of Dallas), Carl Treleaven, Shel Douglas, Peter Veerbeck and many more Rotarians are leading the way on this project. A total of $150,000 from four different grants have been invested in microcredits since 2017. Stegenor Microfinance Ltd has also matched up with $30,000 to be recycled into lending to rural and deprived communities.

The program which was launched by the Kumasi Rotary club in partnership with Stegenor Microfinance Ltd is intended to create alternate means of livelihood and also support enhance the provision of water and construction of microflush toilets in deprived communities. The program was launched two years ago and has served 6,490 individuals in 23 communities in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.


**Launching of the microcredit scheme in Ghana. In attendance were community leaders , and key stakeholders,reps from environmental unit of the local assembly, and chiefs embraced the concept**

Water: Drilling new boreholes, mechanization of manual boreholes and repairs on broken once are the interventions this program covers. Loans are extended to individuals and communities with accountable WATSAN framework. The proceeds from the sale of water are used to repay the loans and the remaining held in a WATSAN account for future repairs. Some communities have been able to generate income from this intervention to support other amenities.

Sanitation: Microflush toilets are being constructed in Ghana with support from microcredit scheme at marginal interest rates. These toilets are affordable, environmentally friendly, easy to construct and uses a biological system to convert waste into compost which can be applied to back yard gardens and commercial farms. This technology was invented by Dr. Steve Mecca and its’ been adopted all over Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Haiti, India and other parts of the world. Over 300 households have been installed with microflush toilets. Some churches and schools have also had this toilet system. There are no scents, it is hygienic and environmentally friendly. Microflush toilets are cost effective and can be lasts longer than pit latrines. Our goal is to replace the old pit latrines with this organic invention.


Completed Microflush unit with urinal chamber for household/domestic use

Small Business support: Start-ups and women lending groups are receiving funds to improve their small trades and turn around. We have impacted 318 small businesses and counting. With support from Rotary Foundation, Stegenor Microfinance is able to organize economically active but poor women and lend funds to them in their diverse trades. Fish mongers, food retailers, shop keepers, grocery dealers, soap makers, food processors, beauticians are all receiving microcredit support from Rotary.


Elizabeth Anaman, a provision shop owner who has improved her business with Rotary support

Freda is a university graduate with support from Rotary to start-up her beautician dream

Farming: Vegetable and cereal growers in Obuasi are activiely being supported as well. In collaboration with the planting for food and jobs program, Stegenor reaches out to farmers by way of providing them with tools of trade and direct cash loans to improve their homes, pay their wards education, medical bills, support other income generating activities. Repayments are made after harvest, mostly three months of cropping.


Vegetable farmers sorting their harvest (cucumbers and garden eggs) for market. Seeds and cash loan support from Rotary

The success of this initiative has been pinned on a six-point empowerment model being adopted by the foundation to identify need based individuals and communities who can subsequently benefit from microcredits through reliable partners and local Rotary clubs. This project is being scaled up to reach many more communities in Ghana. Rotarians are making a huge impact with their works. Support from local leaders and the local government reps have also played a major role in making this project a success. Below are the various loan types administered so far;

Loan Type Total Amount % of Grant funds
WASH Loans$ 66,60037%
Microflush Toilet Loans$ 41,400 23%
Farm Loans$ 36,00020%
Business Loans$ 32,40018%
Group Loans$ 21,60012%
Total $ 180,000 100%

This program has installed 12 new boreholes, 11 mechanised systems, 6 repairs and continues to engage our local communities with clean portable source of water in Ghana.

One key fact of success is the ability of trained toilet makers to access the microflush loans and install for households. Water drilling agents are also gaining grounds with their business due to the link created to provide drilling services to needy communities/households. This has created jobs for many unemployed youths in Ghana who are now bread winners for their families. Many more continue to explore this opportunity as a means of living.


Toilet maker (Kwaku Boateng) being honored to begin business of installing microflush toilets with support from Rotary I the form of loans to the beneficiaries

Summary

This microcredit project has enshrined complete ownership of the social projects to individuals and the communities. Loans are given at relatively cheaper interests to construct toilets, drill boreholes, support small businesses, and also fund trader groups who pay back within 3, 6, 9 to 12 months. We have so far touched over 6,800 lives with this project in Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions. Our goal is to make sanitation a priority in 2020 and roll-out this initiative nationwide. Rotarians are making this change possible. This project is led by Walter Huges Jnr, Rotary Club of Rocky Mount, Virgina, USA.

Stegenor Microfinance Ltd has achieved several rounds of lending. We have so far impacted over 6,800 individuals, four churches and 3 schools. By end of year 2020, our goal is to install 800 microflush toilets in the two regions and also continue to introduce microflush toilets to the Volta and Oti regions of Ghana.

Our plan in the next 3-5 years is to change all pit latrines concepts to biofills using the microflush toilet models. This needs more toilet makers to be trained from all parts of the country to construct the toilets for homes and institutions.

We will be implementing a more eco-friendly approach towards new boreholes by way of introducing solar pumps and a reverse osmosis kit to handle filtrations better. This will make our borehole water compete with the bottled and packaged products in the Ghanaian markets.

Find below our video on microflush promotions in Ghana which is available on Youtube.

Credits:
Walter Huges Jnr; Project Lead
Nana Effah Mensah: Rotary Club Kumasi
Bill Slicker, Carl Treleaven, Peter Veerbeck, Shel Douglas and many Rotarians who donate in support of this project

Kwame Annor; FCIM I CIM-UK I MBA I ACCPA ; +233 243 163900