The Church Of The Holy Rood -- Wool, Dorset, U.K.
The Five Talents team is motivated by faith and we often work with others of like mind. This leads us to honour and serve all peoples, irrespective of tribe or religion. The global network of Anglican churches provides an excellent springboard, and supervisor, for microfinance programmes, being respectful of local culture and trusted by their communities.
In sub-Saharan Africa the church is often the primary, or indeed only, trusted organisation in many marginalised communities which have been neglected by other organisations. Five Talents always works with and through the local Church, but our actual programme delivery is through local partners who are separate legal entities, registered independently from the local Diocese.
Five Talents is founded on Christian teachings, but we never discriminate against potential clients of other faiths, or clients who identify as agnostic or atheist. We serve people of all faiths and none. We donít have a list of values framed on the wall of our office, but those who encounter us see that we strive to be impactful, faithful and transparent in our work.
How we work
Five Talents UK provides savings schemes, small loans, and business training for those in need in rural Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. We believe in the innate talent of individuals, and with the help of our supporters we strive to unlock that talent.
We make use of a modern form of savings based microfinance that relies of local partners, enterprising clients, and an innovative use of technology. This page provides an outline of our model, and you can dive into more detail via the links on the left.
One of the most important things you need to know is that all of our programmes operate through experienced local partners. These are the people who understand the needs and aspirations of their clients, and are trusted intimately within their local communities. We see this is one of the central reasons for our growth over the past decade.
In Kenya we operate through independent Community Development Trusts (microfinance can be a bit jargon heavy, so we've put together this glossary to help): Thika CDT, Embu CDT and Nakuru CDT. In Tanzania our partner is the Mama Bahati Foundation. In Uganda our principle partner is FIve Talents Uganda.
All Five Talents' programmes have a strong emphasis on business training and encouraging people to save. Each programme is adapted to the local needs and context, but two basic models are in operation:
Credit-led microfinance: This is where the loan fund is provided from external capital by Five Talents (as per the programmes in Uganda and Tanzania).
Savings-led microfinance: This is where the loan fund is made up of the accumulated savings of the group members themselves (as per the programme in Kenya). We link our savings-led microfinance programmes with business & financial literacy training and, increasingly, our mature programme partners offer consultancy to help new programmes replicate successfully.
In both credit-led and savings-led models, when group members apply for loans they are jointly responsible for repayment.
Local banks cannot afford to lend small sums of money to many entrepreneurs who have little or no collateral. The risks are too high. They also find it difficult to provide affordable and convenient savings services for people at the bottom of the economic ladder.
But group saving and lending is a proven methodology of micro-enterprise development.
Groups are normally formed of 5-10 people who self-select each other.
Each member of the group encourages savings and co-guarantees the loans of the others. This peer pressure ensures transparency and - for the loans - high repayment rates, averaging 90-100%.
The group method also provides a great platform for training and reduces the costs of administration, monitoring and follow-up.
Who we help
Our clients are farmers, hairdressers, cafe owners, clothes sellers, car washers, market traders and countless trades in between. Some are located in towns, most are found in rural areas and many of them are women. Few clients had a safe place to save or borrow money until Five Talents arrived. Now they are growing their business or saving for their child's education in one of our savings schemes.
Nearly all our clients are members of small support groups - friends from the village who provide accountability, mutual support and co-guarantee each other's loans. They meet regularly together to save, borrow and receive business training from our local partners.
Five Talents Uganda
This programme works with over 3,000 clients across 5 branches spread throughout the country:
Each branch has its own branch manager with Loan Officers and an Accountant to support the work. Loan officers deliver business training and financial/credit-literacy training to groups of at least 5 members who come together to deposit their savings, take loans and receive training and mentoring. Each group opens a bank account in the name of the group. This has two benefits; first, it means that members enter the formal financial system often for the first time; secondly, it means that Five Talents can pay loans and receive repayments directly into the bank accounts, reducing the risks of carrying cash. Repayments are monthly and once all members of a group have successfully repaid the full balance and interest, the group can take a larger loan. After several cycles, successful clients can graduate to taking individual loans.
Five Talents UK has most recently focused its support on the newest branches of Five Talents Uganda: Kisoro and Kitgum. Both are areas of significant exclusion and need. Kisoro borders Rwanda and DRC; Kitgum borders South Sudan and covers 4 districts which were devastated by the 20-year civil war with the Lord's Resistance Army.
Even today, recovery is slow and the need for small loans to help clients re-start businesses they lost in the war is huge.
See the Five Talents website: www.fivetalents.org.uk
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