You made a difference! Your donation to FoTZC was an investment in Maasai women in Northern Tanzania. That investment is paying dividends, literally. Through our Community Conservation Banking (COCOBA) program, 120 Maasai women, many of whom are not able to read or write Swahili, have launched what is affectionately referred to as the “Sukenya Stock Exchange.”
Women in the COCOBA program are starting their own businesses, increasing their family income, and improving their lives. One woman is raising chickens and selling the eggs at market, others are beekeeping and expect to sell the honey at the local market. Some have started greywater gardening programs that have allowed them to not only sell their produce, but also add vegetables to their children’s diets. This is very exciting! Word is out about COCOBA’s benefits and other women in Enashiva are eager to participate in a training program. In fact, husbands are encouraging their wives to participate! The women are blooming. The community is grateful.
Our inaugural cohort of women have learned basic entrepreneurial skills through a series of workshops, and formed a coop where each week they can buy shares. Loans can then be made with group approval and necessary cosigners, borrowing up to the collective amount of the borrower and cosigners’ capital accounts. Interest and a small insurance premium are collected to allow for natural disasters such as fire or death, with profits eventually shared as a dividend in proportion to one’s stock ownership. Truly, some of the most basic forms of investment and capitalism are being taught to the groups, including banking and accounting skills, the importance of group accountability, and checks and balances.
Over the next three years, we will be replicating our COCOBA model with three more communities in Northern Tanzania. This means 360 additional Maasai women enrolled in workshops learning how to run a community conservation bank within their village, and ultimately opening and operating their own environmentally-friendly businesses.
We hope you will continue your financial support.