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Helping families increase their income

Plan trains women's savings and loan groups to improve their effectiveness.
Plan trains women's savings and loan groups to improve their effectiveness.

Plan demonstrates that increasing access to financial services can help improve household income and security.

Catherine had been tying, dyeing and making batiks for years. She knew all the methods, the best types of inks and dyes, the best materials and the most popular patterns. She had the will and the skill.

However, Catherine only earned enough to feed her children one meal a day. No matter how hard she worked, she could not save or borrow enough to expand her business. This was three years ago.

Today, Catherine has increased her weekly revenue 10 times. She can now afford to feed her family at least two meals a day. She's also been able to repair her house, take better care of her aging parents, and even start a new business selling secondhand clothing.

How did Catherine increase her income?

Catherine joined a savings and loan program supported by Plan Tanzania and implemented by the Youth Self Employment Foundation, a local microfinance institution, to help increase the income of those living in poverty. Through the program, Catherine:

  • Joined a local savings group and attended meetings
  • Participated in pre-loan, technical and business training
  • Borrowed with realistic expectancies
  • Used the loan to purchase more material in order to increase her business output
  • Repaid her loans as quickly as possible
  • Learned to save

Catherine repaid her first loan of 50,000 TZS (37 USD) within three months and has continued to use the program for borrowing and saving. At the time of her interview, Catherine had increased her weekly revenue 10 times and was able to save 90,000 TZS (67 USD). She told us that, at the age of 55, she now feels economically independent and capable of supporting her extended family.

What did we learn from the project?

Tanzania is one of many countries where access to credit, savings and loan services — especially for people living in poverty — is extremely limited.

The savings and loan program in Tanzania has so far successfully reached out to over 2,500 clients, focusing on giving them new technical skills and enhancing their entrepreneurial skills and business acumen in order to help them improve their household income and security.

  • Loans given to savings and loan members have helped improve the income of households from an average of 6,000 TZS (4.50 USD) per week to more than 20,000 TZS (15 USD) per week;
  • The majority of clients reinvested their profits in their businesses, used the extra income to pay house bills and school fees, or deposited the money into a savings account;
  • In addition to increasing their savings, women were also able to raise their status and identity inside and outside their homes;
  • Like Catherine, 95 percent of the project clients had no prior access to microfinance services;
  • 67 percent of the clients participating in the program were women.

How can you help women like Catherine?


Donate today!Your one-time gift will help provide families in Tanzania with the support and services they need to improve their household income and ensure their economic security.



Plan is committed to providing microfinance services for people living in poverty, with special emphasis on women. We partner with local microfinance service providers as well as with organizations that help communities organize their own savings and credit associations. Our aim is to establish and support lending and saving programs that can eventually become financially self-sufficient.