Board of Directors
Board of Advisors
Events & Campaigns
News & Events
| "Sustainable access to microfinance helps alleviate poverty by generating income, creating jobs, allowing children to go to school, enabling families to obtain health care, and empowering people to make the choices that best serve their needs. Together, we can and must build inclusive financial sectors that allow people to improve their lives." --- Kofi Annan, Former UN Secretary-General
The Townships Project was created in 1999 with the objective of alleviating extreme poverty in South Africa by lending small amounts of money to poor individuals to enable them to start or expand micro-businesses, to provide basic business skills training to the borrowing individuals and to engage in a broad fundraising program to solicit donations in Canada from Canadians to support its microfinance activities in South Africa.
Borrowers operate a range of small businesses including home-based grocery, candy and snack shops, fruit and vegetable stands, dressmaking, second hand clothing and school lunch businesses. The object is to enable borrowers to become self-sustaining and to break the cycle of poverty.
The Townships Project works through local microfinance institutions (MFIs) in South Africa, which make repayable, interest-bearing loans to entrepreneurs, primarily women. Nearly all the costs of these loan programs are spent within the target community. All MFIs are expected to demonstrate a clear pathway to self-sustainability within 5 years of first funding. Additional funds are available for the expansion of successful MFIs.
Tetla Financial Solutions, the only Grameen-style MFI operating in the township areas around Cape Town, is now the main beneficiary of our support. Tetla was started by Yvonne Radinku, a Soweto-born South African, and is on the path to becoming self-sustaining by December 2010. Tetla provides detailed monthly financial reports as well as periodic pictures and stories of its clients.
The Townships Project is exploring evidence that microloans can be made even more effective when combined with asset-based community development and micro-franchising. Please see Our Work in South Africa for more details. During 2009, we took steps to develop informal partnerships in both these areas of interest. We anticipate these partnerships will be strengthened in 2010 and beyond, as South Africa searches for ways to rapidly scale business ownership amongst the 20 million or 40% of its population subsisting on $2 a day.
The Townships Project is a registered charity in Canada and is authorized to issue charitable donation receipts for income tax purposes. #86418 8420 RR0001
"Microfinance is much more than simply an income generation tool. By directly empowering poor people, particularly women, it has become one of the key driving mechanisms towards meeting...the overarching target of halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015." ---March Malloch Brown, Administrator, UNDP