As we discussed in the Update this week, we spent Tuesday at a microcredit training administered by BCC. This was the first general training for all individuals who have received a microcredit loan through BCC. It is planned that BCC will administer this training for all individuals who receive microcredit loans through BCC at least every year. This training included the three cooperative groups, anyone from the first microcredit loan group who wanted to receive a second loan, and anyone who wanted to receive a new microcredit loan.
We also mentioned in the update that Johnson, a Tanzanian Intern who is working with BCC, organized the training. We have been working with him for the past couple of months to visit the cooperatives and to formalize the microcredit loan process. He has been great to work with! His two month internship ended on February 29; we were sad to see him go.
Johnson decided to divide the microcredit training topics among individuals in BCC who were willing to discuss a topic. The first topic was our topic. We discussed a simple and culturally- appropriate business plan that we developed with Johnson. To discuss the business plan, we decided it was best to go through a mock business plan with the individuals who were attending the training.
Instead of making up an idea and going through the business plan, we decided to divide the individuals attending the training into small groups so that they could create business ideas. We used their business ideas and they voted on the best idea to use for the business plan. Then, they went through the business plan, with us guiding the discussion, and using Johnson as an interpreter. It went very well and everyone learned a lot during the business plan section. Below are a few pictures of us during the training.
Johnson trained the next section. He talked about business marketing. He said that often people create a plan and do not market their business properly. He did a fantastic job with his section of the training and, though we did not understand everything he said because it was in Swahili, it seemed that everyone at the training enjoyed his section.
After his section, there was a lunch break. Once that was complete, Mary, the new social business developer, and Augusto, a member of the first bag cooperative, discussed the importance of documentation. This discussion included receipts, invoices, tracking income, and keeping track of the number of each product in stock. It was fun to watch one of the cooperative members use the knowledge he’s learned during his time working with the cooperative. We see so much potential for these groups! Below you will find a photo of Augusto teaching the group.
Following that section, Rich, our boss in Tanzania, discussed general microcredit loans. He began with a discussion about the Grameen Bank and a brief history of microcredit loans. He continued by talking about BCC’s microcredit program. He concluded with an explanation about social businesses and cooperatives. He explained how the bag cooperatives and beading cooperative can provide employment while financially sustaining BCC. Below is a photo of Rich and Johnson.
Johnson concluded the training by thanking everyone for coming and inviting Kaaya to speak on BCC’s behalf. We were so impressed with the microcredit training. It was something that was very necessary for the microcredit program at BCC to continue to be successful. We feel that, with this training and continued support from the social business developers, the microcredit program will be very successful at BCC.
Finally, we are very impressed with Johnson. He is a young leader and represents the future of Tanzania. With his ideas, energy, and enthusiasm he will surely be a leader for social change in Tanzania and all of East Africa. He is an inspiring individual and a good friend. We are glad to have met him and we hope to remain in contact with him after we leave Moshi.