The ACF Missions’ Economic Empowerment Program has two components. The first is the microfinance project that provides loans to individuals to help them establish small businesses. This program is designed to train the needy and underprivileged in Africa on how to sustain themselves economically and how to help build their communities. It also helps to keep the youth away from the street and make them productive members of their communities. Through this program, ACF Missions gives hope to the needy children and the community in general.
The second component is business investments for the sustainability of the ACF Missions’ program. The focus includes large scale farming (crop production and poultry farming) and the construction and management of the school. With the expansion of the ACF Missions’ humanitarian programs which depend on donations, it is no longer sufficient to support our program. The desire to expand to other countries in Africa presents the need to become less dependent on external support. This effort is also designed to help provide employment and solve the problem of food scarcity in Africa. The sustainability of our programs in the country is vital for the expansion of our program into other countries.
Micro Finance Program
The Benin Republic’s Economic Empowerment Program was established to provide an interest-free loan to candidates who have viable small business ideas to start businesses. The beneficiaries of the loan are expected to pay back the loan within 12 to 24 months after it is issued. Thereafter, the loan is recycled to some other candidates.
We currently provide support to Pastors and church leaders. The long-term goal of the Benin Republic program is to expand to the larger community by using the pastors and church leaders program as a pilot. We look forward to working with the local leaders (Church leaders or Program Implementation Committee) to ensure that the program produces successful small business entrepreneurs.
The Uganda economic empowerment program focuses on the children graduating from the Child Sponsorship program. Due to the difficult economic situations in Africa, many students who graduated from college find it challenging to get jobs. Rather than watch the investments we made in the orphans who pass through our child sponsorship program go through the drains, ACF Missions provides a small loan to the graduates to help them set up businesses to support themselves and their families.
Selection Procedure and Guideline:
- Local leaders (Church leaders) and ACF Missions’ local Program Implementation Committee (PIC) identify core small businesses that could produce favorable economic results with potentials of revolving the interest-free loan within one to two years to other recipients.
- Local leaders and PIC identify individuals with business abilities and spiritual integrity as recipients of the loan.
- Each recipient turns in a one-page summary (Condensed Business Plan) describing (i) the nature of the business they plan to start, (ii) Why they thought they should receive the loan, (iii) what they should do to help them repay the loan in one to two years so that it can be extended to others, and (iv) a breakdown of the cost elements of the business.
- Three (3) months after the loan is issued, recipients shall make periodic (monthly) payments sufficient to pay the loan off in one to two years. The payments shall be made to the leader of the PIC for deposit into a recycling savings account.
- The PIC monitors the progress of the Economic Empowerment and provides ACF Missions with quarterly reports.
- The PIC forms an Accountability Team among the recipients to ensure that monthly repayment is consistently made and deposited into the recycling savings account.
- Record Keeping Requirements: The success of every venture is dependent on good business judgment and sound record keeping. Each recipient of the interest-free loan is required to keep records of goods, labor, or assets purchased, as well as sales made or services provided.
Investments for Program Sustainability
ACF Missions has 14 acres of land at our program site in Kigarama, Kabarole district in western Uganda. We currently have planted acres of banana (matoke), cassava, and tree (for construction) in the property.
We also have about one and a half acres of property in Kumi district in eastern Uganda for agricultural production. The PIC is currently farming the land to raise funds to support our program.
In Kampala Uganda, ACF Missions is currently building a nursery and primary school in a one-acre land purchased by ACF Missions. Based on projections, income from the schools will help ACF to pay the staff at the national office in Kampala and regional offices in Uganda. It will also help to pay staff in ACF clinics so that we can focus on providing free services in the clinic to poor people in the community. The schools will also provide employment to people in the community.
ACF Mission has also acquired land in the Benin Republic for piggery farming. Building construction is currently in progress and the operation of the piggery farm is projected to start by the end of 2019.
- Currently, we have eight people supported through the Benin Republic microfinance program. These individuals are doing well in their businesses and we have provided extra funding to some of them to expand their businesses.
- Some of the children who graduated from our child sponsorship program in Uganda have received support for their businesses. We bought sewing machines for three graduates who attended tailoring technical school. They are making good progress in their business. We also bought bicycles for four sponsored children who chose to farm to help facilitate their transportation to the farm and market to sell their products.
- The banana (matoke) plantation in Kigaram, Kabarole district provides job opportunities for the indigenes and the proceeds are re-invested to expand the production. We look forward to using the proceeds from the plantation to support our program in Uganda.
- The first batch of trees planted was harvested in 2018 and resources re-invested in the program. More trees have been planted on the 14 acres land in Kigarama, Uganda.
- ACF Missions is committed to the success of the economic empowerment program and anticipates a favorable outcome that will become an impetus for economic revitalization in the Republic of Benin and Uganda.
Should you have any questions regarding this program, please feel free to reach us.