In Partnership with
World Bank, Edify, Benson Hospital, and Habitat for Humanity and others
Today, FFW’s model is four pronged: Microfinance, Education, Healthcare and Housing. FFWL is working with extraordinary and collaborative partners. FFW is embarking on a new phase of growth, Strategic Plan 2022, which will grow the organization’s impact in Liberia to ensure broad – scale economic vitality across the country impacting nearly five million Liberians.
Microfinance Plan 2020: over the next three years, FFWL will expand the current portfolio size and impact, realizing the following benchmarks on the road to economic vitality in the entire country.
- Loan portfolio is expected to increase from L$140,000,000 to L$240,000,000 by 2021.
- 2,400 new borrowers will be added to the microloan program.
- Areas of operation will increase from 4 to 8.
- Repayments are expected to improve gradually after Covid effects.
Education / Plan 2022: FFW’s vibrant partnership with Edify is poised for significant growth in the next 3 years.
- The average size of school loans is expected to increase by 20%, owing to the percent of school proprietors to invest in major projects, including computer labs, expansion projects, playgrounds, etc.
- Plan 2022 will impact more than 75,000 students, bringing the total of students impacted through the school loan program to about 312,000, since 2013.
- Since 2013, more 646 loans of about L$296,118,780 have been disbursed to 340 partner schools through the FFWL/Edify School Loans Program. The Plan 2022 will add 200 loans at the cost of L$300,000,000.
Healthcare / Plan 2022: FFW has launched the program by providing business loans to over 50 health clinics with the aim of improving quality, expanding services, and investing in equipment and technology. Benson Hospital is a major Partner to the FFWL Healthcare Program; it has set standards for clinics to conform to best practices.
- In the years ahead, FFW will invest heavily in this important program expanding the loan portfolio from 72 to 125 clinic entrepreneurs, reaching over 50,000 patients annually with improved care quality.
Housing / 2022
- In 2019, FFW signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Habitat for Humanity International creating a partnership to get capital in the hands of Liberians to improve their housing situations. We plan to offer microfinance support to at least 75 families during this FFW 2022 plan.
THE FOUNDATION FOR WOMEN LIBERIA
The Foundation for Women Liberia (FFWL) has operated in Liberia as a Microcredit NGO since 2007, when the CEO/Founder, Deborah Lindholm, an American, from San Diego, CA and Emily Peal, a Liberian came to Liberia with a goal to assist postwar Liberia’s rebuilding program with a mission to uplift disenfranchised Liberians out of poverty, most especially poor Liberian women. The Foundation took its loan program to 14 of the 15 counties in 300 communities, providing microloans to more than 40,000 borrowers to enable them to engage in small and medium sized enterprises.
The Foundation for Women Liberia is currently noted as one of the best performing NGOs in the nation. The Central Bank of Liberia and Ministry of Finance, the two main stakeholders that the Foundation reports to monthly; played major roles in obtaining three loans totaling U$320,000 from the World Bank for the Foundation.
Because of the very excellent performance of FFWL, the Central Bank of Liberia and the Ministry of Finance selected FFWL for a World Bank Loan which has greatly helped FFWL in its outreach to many needy Liberians.
With US$600,000 of loans currently in the hands of predominantly market women, the impact is no doubt being broadly felt. Many of these borrowers credit the Foundation for keeping their kids in schools, providing the family daily meals, and keeping their businesses alive.
A fair estimate is that, so far, 200,000 households have been impacted by the Foundation for Women microloans program since 2007.
In addition to microfinance and the FFWL/Edify School Loans Program, in June 2018, the Foundation began providing loans to health clinics as its third pillar. To date, more than 50 health clinics has benefitted from the loan scheme, totaling U$80,000.
In July 2019, the Foundation for Women Liberia initiated its fourth pillar, Housing Loans, to enable low-income homeowners access to loans for carry out repair work of their homes. In collaboration with Habitat for Humanity International, the Foundation will begin providing loans by mid-2021.
MICROLOAN (INDIVIDUAL LOAN):
The Microloan otherwise known as the Individual Loan is the pioneer product of the Foundation for Women Liberia. It firstly started as a Penta Group Loan (Five persons making a group) before transforming to the Individual Loan. The loan is predominantly provided to poor market women who are not qualified to access loans from the formal financial sector. The Foundation for Women continued operations in the 14 out of the 15 areas until the outbreak of the Ebola Epidemic in 2014.
Many of our clients died, some forcibly relocated or were completely incapacitated by the Epidemic. This compelled the Foundation to institute a major Write Off and re-strategize its operations.
From lessons learned as a result of the Ebola Scourge and part of the Strategies adopted, the Foundation changed from the Group Loan ( A group of five persons) to Individual Loan Scheme and withdrew to Monrovia where it restarted operations. The strategy to change the loan scheme caused the client base to shrink and the operational areas also shrink to one place, Monrovia. FFWL is currently operating in Monrovia (Montserrado County), Kakata, Harbel (Margibi County) and Sanoyea (Bong County).
As at February 28, 2021,the Microloan Program had a Client Base of 2,333 clients in the areas named above with a Portfolio Outstanding Balance of L$42,606,67.00. (Conversion rate: 1 US$=170 L$).
The FFWL/Edify School Loans Product
In 2013, through the initiative of Deborah Lindholm, EDIFY, an NGO in San Diego, USA and the Foundation for Women reached a partnership agreement to provide loans to low fee independent schools (LFIS) in Liberia to be used as:
- Capital to expand facilities at affordable private schools, thereby increasing access to education for the poor.
- Curricula and other tools to strengthen school’s Christian message and training.
- Business and teacher training for proprietors and educators to improve education.
Under the agreement, Edify provides the funding as loans to FFWL at a low interest rate which FFWL in turn disbursed as loans to low fee privately owned schools.
Since 2013, the Program has scored some meaningful successes. Among which are the following statistics as of February 2021:
340 private schools have received loans to improve their infrastructures. Among them:
- 238 High Schools
- 68 Junior High Schools
- 30 Elementary Schools
- 3 Vocational Schools
- 1 All Girls Schools
646 total loans to Schools
- 346 schools received 1st cycle loans
- 156 schools received two cycle loans
- 91 schools received three cycle loans
- 53 schools received four cycle loans
- 212,039 students have been impacted.
Overall, enrollments in schools benefiting from the FFWL/Edify Loans Program have increased by 40%
Under the FFWL Supervision:
- 210 Schools Administrators, including Proprietors and Principals from schools received the latest research based educational training, administered by Professors from the University of San Diego’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SLES).
- 17 School Registrars or Business Managers received training in QuickBooks at a total cost of U$20,000 at the expense of Edify. Each Trainee received a computer with 8 months monitoring and evaluation, administered by QuickBooks training Technicians.
As at February 2021, Edify School Loans had revolved to the total of L$296,118,780.50. converted at a rate of 189 to US1.00 totaling (U$1,566,766).
- Lack of credit reference – in the absence of a National Credit Reference Authority, determining the credit worthiness of borrowers is time consuming and sometimes risky.
- Bank Account in School’s name – nearly 50% of the FFWL Schools are considered unbanked making it difficult to determine the financial status/cash flow capacity.
- Property Ownership – there are still disputes about ownership of properties on which schools are built; FFWL faces the challenge of verifying some of those.
The Clinic Loan is the third product inaugurated by the Foundation for Women. Firstly, this product provided L$38,823,000.00 in loan capital. It is difficult to actually state the number of persons who have truly benefited by the Clinic Loans but given that 35 person attended each of these clinics over each of the cycles of the 72 loans which is a very meager number, we estimate about 2,520 persons who have benefited by this program. Loans are given to clinics registered and accredited by the Ministry of Health under the Government of Liberia. This Product was officially inaugurated in June 2018. As at February 2021 the Clinic Loan Department had given 72 loans. The Portfolio Outstanding Balance is L$14,989,665.14
The Liberia Health Community Clinic is another side of the Clinic Program which provides services for students while attending school. The Liberia Community Health Clinic also provides services to Community Dwellers (Women and children are priorities) living in and around the school’s vicinity. Currently, the Heart of Grace School under the auspices of the Change Agent Network Liberia located in lower Johnsonville, Montserrado County is presently hosting this Clinic. The school has 450 students.
The Housing Loan is expected to be inaugurated by mid-2021. Habitat for Humanity International hired a Consulting Firm (Solstice Venture Consultancy) to do the Market Survey, Training of Trainers, and Product Validation Exercises which were are completed as we await the Pilot Testing.
The Pilot Testing is expected to be launched soon in one of Liberia’s biggest and rapidly developing Slum Communities called Peace Island. This community is located behind the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.
Recently, the Chairperson of the Board of Advisors, Foundation for Women Liberia, Dr. Angela Benson along with a team of senior Managers from FFWL and a Partner to FFWL from Save More Kids visited the Peace Island Community where they were taken on a guided tour of the Community by Mr. Mathew Ndote, Chief of Party, Liberia Country Program Habitat for Humanity International. Mathew has worked extremely hard with partners to transform Peace Island to a decent place to live.