The Bantama Market Social Capital Program presents many unique challenges and opportunities at the same time. Women’s Health to Wealth, the non-governmental organization which is active on site, emphasizes that good health is the first step in financially empowering and uplifting the women of the market. Since it is a commuter market, the women of Bantama Market are eager to grow their capital and find more efficient ways to handle their businesses.
The first step in enrolling new women to the Social Capital Program entails them visiting the market’s local clinic for a health screening. After that, they start gaining and spending credits from the Social Capital Menu Items. There are many ways to encourage healthy living after joining the Social Capital Program at the Bantama Market. For Example, every woman who recruits 10 women for the initial clinic screening gains 50 credits towards her SoCCs earnings.
One of the community credit advantages is having access to group loans and the result is the earned Social Capital Credits. In the first loan group, the women each collected a loan of 500GH in October 2014. The interest per month was 2.5% and payments started in November 2015 (the total interest on the 500Ghs for six months was 75Ghs). The end date for payments was April 2015. This group of women successfully reapplied for a new loan. As of May 2015, there are 125 active women in the loan program.
Many women indicated that the loan helped them in many ways such as providing capital for the purchases, expanding or diversifying existing stock, payment of school fees for their children and providing funds for health care and their children’s’ education.
Cecilia Afrifa is in the Nyame Ne Yen Ahoden loan group. She secured a loan facility for GHs 500 in October 2014 and now sells provisions in the Bantama Market. She used the loan to procure two new items (household items and child hygiene items) to expand her stock of items. She indicated that the loan has helped her increase her profit from 150GH a week to 200GH.
Cecilia is one of 125 great, hard-working women at the Bantama Market. Most of them are able to expand their businesses and help empower themselves and their families. While these loans are meant to be temporary, women are encouraged to start micro credit loans among themselves after learning how those loans are processed. This empowers them and allows them to learn more ways on how to handle and expand their capital in the future.
– Eiman Alsakha is an urban designer and a member of Asia Initiative.