Issifou is on her 12th microloan with Whole Planet Foundation’s microfinance partner Assilassimé in Togo, West Africa. She sells fried fish and kitchenware in her local marketplace. Issifou says that her business has literally been a lifesaver, as she recently faced a serious illness and it was her business savings that enabled her to get treatment. Her first microloan was 30,000 CFA (about $50 USD), which she used to start selling small batches of fish. From here, she grew her business and now sells higher value items like kitchenware.
Microfinance Partner: Assilassime Solidarite
Assilassimé Solidarité (“Hand in hand” in the local Ewé language) is a unique microfinance organization in Togo. It prioritizes vulnerable people: those living with HIV (PLHIV) or a disability, single mothers, widows, sex workers, etc.
The organization does not require any guarantee or collateral from borrowers. It takes into account their personal circumstances in order to accompany them along the road to self-sufficiency. The sense of cohesion which exists within borrower groups results in a very high repayment rate. There are now more than 3,000 people on their waiting list.
The services designed by Assilassimé Solidarité and Entrepreneurs du Monde for these vulnerable and barely literate families, include training, support and advice, loans and savings schemes. The support provided also benefits their families. Assilassimé Solidarité, which was set up by Entrepreneurs du Monde in 2012, is a community organisation under Togolese law, and is waiting for local authorities’ agreement before running microfinance activities by itself.
To ensure that it reaches the most vulnerable communities, Assilassimé Solidarité is working in collaboration with 18 local organisations: 6 supporting those affected by HIV, 4 helping people with disabilities and 8 working with widows, single mothers, women porters or sex workers and other vulnerable women.