The project is located in Siteki, a small town located in eastern Swaziland, and to the west of the Lebombo Mountains. The Project will run for 3-4 years starting in 2013, and involves providing a cutting edge Training program and micro-loans to graduates from within the Siteki community. This will enable them to start their own businesses. Entrust is working with Swaziland Life Trust Unit, a local organisation with key personnel having several years of experience in providing micro-loans in Swaziland.
WHAT WE LIKE ABOUT IT:
We have been there and seen it for ourselves! This Training & Funding will bring about long term economic change within the community of Siteki. It will enable it to develop in an economically sustainable way, provide jobs and alleviate widespread poverty. Through business entrepreneurship, employment opportunities and economic development, the community will be empowered to earn income to meet basic needs such as education for children, improved living conditions and health, and community infrastructure.
Siteki’s unemployment rate is approximately 40%, with 69% living below the poverty line (less then $1.25 per day). A large increase in the number and size of small/ medium size enterprises is needed to provide employment opportunities and income for families in Siteki. Problems such as over-grazing, soil depletion, drought, and floods have been major stumbling blocks for economic development, and lack of funds has prevented meaningful solutions to these problems.
Training the people who are involved in the Project and those who may qualify for micro-loans is an essential feature of the Project. Technical training will be directed at helping to screen potential borrowers, to help participants develop a viable business plan including marketing research and a financial plan (financial risks, start-up costs, capital required, and a loan repayment plan), and once the loan is made to make timely repayments, to keep proper records, and to sustain and grow the business while the loan is outstanding and after it is repaid. EPIC Solutions, an organisation that specialises in the provision of entrepreneurial training in Africa is assisting with the training required for the Project.