Friday, February 6, 2009

Return to new capital

A few months ago I mentioned a woman I met in Apac, Margaret. She's a recipient of a sewing machine and training from NUSAF, but did not have money for materials after the program ended. Thus, she had to rely on customers bringing materials to her to sew, so her profit margine was very low.

She was barely making enough to get by with her 2 kids and her husband had left long ago. I was very struck by her situation, especially since, during the 10 days of pre-testing my latest questionnaire on enterprise profits, she was the only person who correctly knew what 10% of 100 is. Sensing a possibly high (social and economic) return to a cash grant, I gave her 60,000 USH (about $30), a ledger to keep records of her sales and costs, made her promise to make growing her business the priority for the money, and told her I would return one day to see how she is doing.

I came by unnanounced today to find her doing very well. After a long, spirited prayer, she showed me her ledger. Even though she, sadly, only recorded purchases and not sales, its clear the money had a huge impact. Here's her with some of her raw materials:

All told she has over 200,000 USH worth of raw materials, all grown from the 60,000 USH I gave her 3 months ago. Thats a return of 50% per month. I wish all grants (or loans) could get that kind of return...

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