Frequently asked questions
Why Micro Loans?
Microloans are a hand-up, not a handout; they give the poor dignity and choice and provide a means to a sustainable income. Worldwide, they are repaid at a rate of 98% and loaned out repeatedly; they are reusable and efficient capital. The core reasons for poverty are lack of regular income, food supply, and educational opportunities. Microloans create sustainable gains.
Why are micro-entrepreneurs not ideal clients for banks?
In the eyes of traditional bankers, these micro-entrepreneurs lack the collateral, steady employment, and credit history required by conventional lenders; they stay in rural villages with no basic infrastructure and system to support the administration of lending, and they are, in fact, far from ideal clients: Their loans are too small to justify the time and expense needed to administer them. So, they are un-bankable.
Who are we?
Volunteer Action Network is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2005 by a volunteer seeking a balanced and open society where women and girls participate effectively in development. It is committed to being a leading Organization for women's empowerment in Uganda, enabling women and girls to live productive lives with respect and dignity. We support women and girls with tools and resources to alleviate poverty and amplify their voices.
What other services do you provide to borrowers?
We build for our clients to help them develop their businesses so they can earn more and become part of the larger marketplace. In addition to providing them with working capital, we train them in good business practices, business management, accounting, budgeting, and, most importantly, savings practices to help them weather crises such as illnesses, pandemics, or deaths in the family or natural disasters.
What is a microloan?
Minimal loans ($50-$300) that help poor women start a small business to create a sustainable income. Salaries or wage-paying jobs are scarce in many developing countries. Up to 80% of such populations derive their revenues from self-employment. To survive, they must create jobs by starting tiny businesses or micro-enterprises. However, in many instances, entrepreneurs need more capital to initiate or grow their businesses. Microcredit loans can provide that money. These loans are utilized to start a business or "micro-enterprise" to support their families' basic needs. These "micro-entrepreneurs" make food, sew clothes, raise and sell cattle, and sell vegetables and fruit in the street or local marketplace—anything to put food on the table.
What are the benefits of microloans?
Women borrowers of microloans have reported that money from their increased earnings is used first for improving their children's nutrition, health, and education and then for home improvements. In addition, when women begin creating a sustainable income and increasing the standard of living for the family, their status increases. They are no longer abused or regarded as second-class citizens and gain much more respect from their husbands.
How many loans can you make with a donation?
On average, each donation results in two to three loans within the first year. Each borrower repays the loan within four to six months. Each loan provides start-up capital that supports a family that averages five people.
How does the program work?
Neighbors come together in financial support groups called loan groups. Individuals borrow start-ups or working capital for their micro-enterprises. Because they have little to offer for collateral, the group guarantees those loans.