Stella is a successful business women and inspiring Deki entrepreneur. To date, she has successfully repaid two Deki loans, which were used to build and grow her business selling Gonja (cooked, ripe bananas usually eaten with beans or vegetables), at the Mbondwe Lhubiriha Town Council local market.
Betty loves fashion. In late 2014, the incredibly energetic, funny and theatrical entrepreneur received a crowdfunded Deki loan of £250. With it she purchased a bundle of clothing that included t-shirts, skirts, and dress shirts. She sorted through the bundle, picking out her favourite items and set up her own clothing stall.
Betty Yona was living in poverty with 5 children. As a refugee living in exile in Palabek Kal she had no access to finance or resources to support her. She was also responsible for caring for her elderly father which was another financial burden on her family. She couldn't afford schooling or regular meals for her children and was fearful for her family's future.
Recently we have received an update from Betty and we're excited to tell you that in just one year Betty has doubled her profit. Talking with Betty she told us that she can now pay for her four youngest children's school fees and will have money left to invest in home improvements.
Have you ever wondered what happens to all those pieces of clothing donated each year to local charity shops? While some clothing stays local and is resold, a considerable amount is shipped abroad, to places like Uganda, where local entrepreneurs buy huge bundles and sell on individual pieces within their community.
By the time Betty sells all of her clothes, she has doubled her capital and is able to invest in more bundles of clothes. Over the course of Betty’s one year loan, she can use her loan capital and some of her profits to reinvest in her business. We calculated that this means her business is profitable enough to cover her family’s monthly costs (around £115) and pay school fees for her 4 youngest children (around £450 for the year). Best of all once Betty has repaid her loan, the capital she has available for her business will be around £750! From one loan of £250, Deki lenders can feel confident that Betty’s life has been changed for ever.
Betty's eldest daughter is now enrolled in university and Betty can even afford to pay for her accommodation. She’s still growing her business and working towards her goals of educating all of her children and building a new house with a nice waterproof iron roof.
Nasaah Benecita, 54, lives in Karni, a village in the Upper West Region of Ghana.
She is a single mother with three young children and provides for her family by farming the land.
Nasaah had previously struggled with her farming business due to unfortunate unavoidable circumstances. There were high incidences of pests and diseases in her crops, and her crops were often destroyed by stray animals.
This meant Nasaah's farm was producing low yields and she was failing each month to generate an income that was sufficient to provide for all her family's needs. She was unable to afford to feed her children three meals a day. Life was tough for Nasaah, who also faces daily challenges due to her disability.
During the 2012/2013 production season, Nasaah was introduced to iDE and St. Joseph’s Cooperative Credit Union, two partners that Deki works closely with in Ghana. She applied for a loan to purchase a chain link fence, which would protect her farm from destruction from animals such as sheep and cattle. This meant Nasaah no longer had to wake up worrying about the state of her crops. This, combined with agricultural training through iDE to increase her knowledge on the prevention of pests and diseases, improved her farming business dramatically.
As her farm was now free from pests and diseases, Nasaah could look forward into expanding the land and introducing new crops and vegetables. A second Deki loan of GS700, around US$170, was invested in buying tomatoes, peppers and onion seeds to grow, as well as fertilizer. This increased both the quality and quantity of her yields.
The boost in productivity meant that Nasaah was quickly able to afford to pay back her loan. With the extra income generated she could now pay for all her children’s school fees for the whole year, which is considerable money for a single mother in Ghana.
Nasaah has additionally bought a mobile phone with her income which enables her to communicate regularly with the iDE officer for her area, giving her easy access to their technical assistance. This means Nasaah will no longer face the same difficulties that caused many of the original problems with on her land, due to their advice and expertise. Loans through Deki have completely changed her life as she can now support her children's futures, see them educated up to University and provides them with three regular meals every day.
Nasaah has improved her whole family's life whilst living with very difficult circumstances. She said “my current success amply proof that disability is not inability. It is my aspiration that I see all my children through school up to the highest level. I want to say a big thank you Deki for the support”.
Modester Banda is widow living in Kapilimtende in Malawi and is the sole provider for her four children aged 3, 5, 11 and 16. She grows vegetables such as potatoes, rape seed and cabbage to earn a living.
Prior to getting a Deki loan Modester owned a small farm, comprising of just one cow, and made a living selling milk in her community. The income from this alone was not able provide her family with enough income and her children were sent home from school as she was unable to pay the school fees. Modester was struggling to support her family and worried about the future of her children.
In 2014, Modester applied for a loan to buy her second cow, which has now been completely repaid. By increasing the production of milk, Modester was able to produce a greater profit for the family. She has since reinvested her profits in fertilizer, vegetable seeds, a watering can and a hoe to begin a new business venture; farming vegetables. She even had enough money to employ two members of staff to help cultivate her land, helping to increase the farm's yield and her income.
Modester’s children are now back in school and they never go hungry thanks to Deki’s loan. Modester believes that dedication was the key to her business’ success:
“The Deki loan is profitable if well managed but the person has to observe repayments and reinvest.”
“As a widow with all the responsibilities I have, it is through these loans that I am able to support my family and child through secondary school. My income level and profits have improved and my business is growing. For that I would like to thank Deki.”
“I am looking forward to getting another loan and ask that Deki should continue to provide loans for the community.”
Aladago Braimah (62) lives with his wife in Garu in Ghana. Together they have seven children aged between seven and twenty-one. Aladago and his wife are both onion farmers working hard to make the most out of their land throughout the temperamental dry seasons in Ghana.
Before receiving a Deki loan, Aladago and his wife struggled to make a profit because the land was small and did not produce a great yield. They were unable to support their seven children with adequate meals and the youngest were not yet able to go to school. Aladago knew that by investing in his land he would be able to produce more vegetables and use the profit to invest in his family.
Aladago applied for a Deki loan of Five Hundred Ghana Cedis (GHS500) which is around £110, this would be used to invest in more land, as well as buying fertilizer, seeds and even hiring members of his local community to help with the harvest.
Aladago told our field partner BESSFA, “Initially, I had small farm size due to inadequate capital to expand the farm size. Deki loan has helped me increase the size of the land due to the fact that I had adequate capital to manage the farm.”
Once Aladago had his Deki loan he immediately got to work, with the help of agricultural training from our partners iDE the size of Aladago’s onion crop tripled. He went from producing three bags of onions to over eight bags of vegetables.
“The increase in farm size made me introduced new crops such tomatoes, pepper and cabbage into my farm hence an increase in income of the farm. The yield got tripled as compared to the last eight years of onion cultivation.”
Because of this Aladago is now making more profit and he is able to care for his family and all of his children are now in school.
When we asked Aladago how his life had changed he told us this:
"Honestly, I developed much joy and the passion to work hard as compared to the previous years since I had all I needed for the cultivation of onions in my farm. Hence farming activities were moving very smoothly.
The loan has brought love and happiness into my family because I can now pay the school fees of my children; provide the family with a balance diet each day, and so on. Frankly speaking I now have a happy family. All thanks go to Deki!!
In conclusion, I pray for the officials of Deki, the lenders and all those that contributed in one way or the other to get me loan to change my life and that of my family. I will be happy to see Deki grow and continue to support make life BETTER for people. "
And finally Aladago asked us to tell all of our lenders: "DEKI ALL THE WAY!!"
Rose Madakiwa is a single mother from Usisya in Malawi. She has five children and also supports several orphans as well as her elderly mother. Many families in Malawi face financial and humanitarian hardship, with a large proportion of the population living with HIV/AIDS.
Prior to applying for her Deki loan, Rose made a living trading in fish and baking scones. She relied heavily upon her brother for financial support and her children often went to school hungry. Their living conditions were poor, with no electricity, running water or even a mattress to sleep on. She was unable to apply for a loan from her local bank due to a lack of security.
Rose applied for a Deki microloan of £180 in 2014 with the hope to build a better life for her children. Once her loan was fully funded Rose could bulk buy flour and fish at a much cheaper rate, which increases her profit margins. Rose has also diversified her range of products to include soap and shoes; this has reduced her dependence on the sale of fish which is expensive to transport from depot to market.
With guidance from Deki’s business training programme, Rose continues to reinvest her profits in her business and also saves some in her village bank. Rose is proud to announce that she has also built her own house with electricity and beds for her extended family. She even has enough money left over to pay for school fees and no longer has to depend on her brother’s financial support.
The Deki loan has given her the opportunity to become financially independent: “As a divorced woman it was my brother’s responsibility to support me and my entire family, but now I can support them myself. I’m thanking Deki a lot as these loans are helping people to develop, transform and improve their living standards in that they are profitable loans and do not require any collateral.”
Her wish for the future is that Deki continues to work in Usisya to empower more women like herself to become financially secure and independent.
“When I compare my life now and before my life is much better. I am very happy to have things that we never had before, we have much more food and can afford to buy so many more items to sell and make money from. To Deki, I am very happy for the loan we received and we hope that they continue supporting our communities. We are so very thankful for the support.”
Cezie Mkolongo comes from the Malawian village of Chipuwali in Mbwana, Nkhata Bay. He is a 32 year old husband and father to four children. As a young man, Cezie was unable to continue his education further than secondary school and later became a fisherman. This meant an unpredictable income for Cezie and his family, and after numerous problems and hardships, he decided to start his own business.
How much difference can good food and medication make in the production of milk in cows? For Lydia Nyirongo’s cow, it can mean the direct difference between 2 and 10 litres a day! When Lydia took a loan of £140 from Deki in late 2013, she was confident that investing in her livestock would help improve her family’s income, and she was right.
Bruno Nyrenda lives with his wife and two children. Before Bruno received his loan in December 2011 he was selling a few vegetables from the side of a road in Usisya, on the edge of Lake Malawi. The business was not very profitable as Bruno did not have the capital to buy vegetables in bulk or buy a good variety. He worried that he couldn’t provide for his family and that like himself, his two children would not receive a full education due to his inability to pay their school fees.
When Bruno received his loan of 40,000 Kwacha (£200), he built a shop on one of the main roads in Usisya. He also bought a wide range of goods to sell in the shop including toiletries, shoes and drinks.
Barber Shop to Diversify Business
Now the shop is very popular due to its location and the range of products it sells. Bruno has invested the new profits on diversifying his business. He has recently opened a barber shop next door to his shop. Whilst his wife runs the shop, Bruno is taking care of the clients’ hair. With the profits from both businesses he has recently improved the shop’s roof from grass to tin which will prevent his stock from deteriorating during the rainy season.
Although Bruno has faced a few challenges he has managed to overcome them. In the rainy season (December to March) Bruno found that due to people’s lack of income at this time his business was suffering. However, he has created a scheme which allows people to buy goods on credit. The fact that Usisya is a close-knit community makes this scheme a success.
Bruno is an ambitious man and at the start of next year hopes to establish a restaurant in Usisya. He has already started moulding the bricks for the restaurant building.
Bruno says: “I would like to thank Deki and its supporters for the loan scheme. The loan has allowed me to set up and run a successful business with a range of goods and services. With the profit my family now has enough food all year round. I can also afford to give my children a brighter future by being able to finance their education. I hope that Deki can keep supporting the people of Usisya to allow other families in Malawi to have a chance at improving their standard of living in the way that I have”.
Joseph Yelviel is 69 years old and a single parent to his six children. Before 2012 Joseph and his family were dependent on the very meager yield from the land that he was only able to farm on during the short erratic rainy season. He had struggled to provide for the family, particularly the children's school fees.
In 2012 Joseph got the opportunity to receive a Deki loan and was able to diversify his income by farming through the dry season. This enabled him to grow crops throughout the year not just in the 'short erratic rainy season’.
He additionally received necessary agricultural training in various areas such as vegetable crop production and farm business management. It was in the 2012/2013 season that Joseph first received his loan from Deki through St Joseph’s Cooperative Union for GHS250.00 (£47).
This money allowed him to buy better quality pepper, tomato and cabbage seeds to use on the farm and he additionally bought a watering can and a knap sack sprayer for the control of pests and disease. After a lot of hard work and commitment he was able to pay back his loan and in the process increased his income significantly to help him with the upkeep of his family.
Joseph’s work was further enhanced in 2014 when he applied for a second loan. Through Deki’s person to person microfinance scheme Joseph received a loan of GHS500.00 (£94) enabling him to buy more fertilizer and seeds. With help from field staff he was able to achieve an income of GHS985.00 (£186) from around a quarter of an acre of land.
This increase in income helped him to pay his daughter’s school fees,which had been exceedingly difficult to do in the past. He was also able to reinvest part of his income back into the growth of his land, helping him to expand his business significantly. With his second loan from Deki, Joseph hopes to become self-sufficient in the very near future.
Seidu Ndebugri lives in Garu, in the North East of Ghana. He works farming the land with his wife, and together they have four children. Seidu previously struggled to keep up with demand from the community for his crops, despite working 60 hours a week, due to the lack of productivity on his farm. He wanted to invest in the farm as its income was not enough to provide for the whole family, especially as Seidu was supporting his children through school.
Having heard about Deki, Seidu applied for a loan of GHS500.00 (£94) to help him improve the business. He used it to buy fertiliser, seeds and farming tools such as hoes and piping to assist him with growing onions and tomatoes.
Piping was an extremely smart investment for Seidu, it not only increased the productivity of his land but is also making it more sustainable. Deki train our farmers in techniques to make their land more environmentally efficient, drip irrigation using piping is one of our biggest tools to achieve this. Instead of spreading water on his land with a bucket, Seidu uses his new pipes to target the roots of his okra and aubergines. Rather than using 15 buckets of water, he only needs to use one, but for the same amount of growing potential!
The soil in Ghana is deficient in a lot of the nutrients Seidu needs to grow a consistently great crop. Which can be an obstacle to a reliable income. But using his Deki agricultural training in micro-fertalisation, Seidu started to ween his land off fertiliser, and instead began using a new sustainable technique he has been taught, which involved composting his old unsold yield around the perimeter of his land and using a minimal amount of fertiliser. This is cost effective for Seidu, helps him get the most out of his land quickly and is much better for the environment.
As he now had the tools and materials necessary to harvest the vegetables Seidu’s yield doubled in comparison to the previous years. He has currently harvested nine bags in one year; a big increase on the four bags he had previously produced in the subsequent six years and, additionally, the size of his farm expanded from one hectors to three hectors.
Seidu then went on to increase the number of farms he had due to the improved capital he was generating. The increase in capital, farm size and the number of farms enabled him to introduce new crops into his farms such as okra, aubergines and rice and by growing more vegetables, the business continued to expand.
A variation in crops led to a large increase in the income when compared to the previous years. He was even able to hire extra labour to help him on the farms, which both increased the levels of his own farming activities and also enabled him to impact the lives of other members living in the community.
The income Seidu made from the farm was used to pay the admission fees for one of his children to go to High School and saw the family’s food and income security level increase to 80 %. He said; “This life change brought much joy to me and the family as a whole”.
Seidu went on to say “I will like to use this opportunity to say a big thank you to Deki officers and my lenders for their support in my life and that of my family. I encourage Deki to continue to provide loans for the rural poor because the programme is very much helpful”.
He finished by saying “Deki loans!!!!!!!!!!! The Key To success!!!!!!!!!”
Being an entrepreneur is like most jobs, some people are decent at it and some people are truly exceptional. Agnes Oyella Olok falls into the truly exceptional category.
Agnes is a South Sudanese refugee currently living in Palabek Kal, Northern Uganda, with her husband and five young children. Like many women in the area, she sells produce in the market to help support her family. The difference between Agnes and many of the other women is her business confidence and the scale of her ambitions. Agnes understands she needs to include all of her costs when deciding what products to buy and sell and she understands the need to separate her business finance from her home finance. Importantly, she also understands that reinvesting her Deki loan capital, alongside a portion of her profits, will allow her quickly grow her business, and ultimately bring home more money to support her family.
Agnes is a market trader. Many women buy small quantities of produce to sell in the market, but Agnes has discovered that if she uses her £250 Deki loan capital to buy larger than average quantities of fish, tomatoes and other produce, she can then sell mid-sized containers to other market holders, in addition to smaller quantities in the market.
With this in mind, Agnes purchased a sack of fish, 11 basins of tomatoes and 100 cabbages with her loan.
She breaks down the sack of fish into 20 smaller quantities which she sells to other market traders.
She buys tomatoes in bulk but offers only small quantities for sale in the market. (Her customers are only able to afford to buy 5 tomatoes at a time.) With the 100 cabbages (5 of which will go off before she can sell them), she sells 15 as whole cabbages, but chops up the other 80 to sell in small bags to clients. Each cabbage makes 7 bags, which means she has 560 bags of cabbage to sell. The profit Agnes earns from each product varies, but she averages around 150% margin. In other words, she earn £1.50 for every £1 she invests. Agnes will sell all of her stock within two months, meaning over the course of her one year loan, Agnes can go through six different buying and selling cycles in her business.
Each cycle, Agnes has to pay her business costs (such as new product, travel costs and of course her loan repayments). Additionally, she takes around £85 per week / month / every two months? out of the business to help feed, house and educate her family. At the end of each two month cycle, Agnes still has part of her loan capital to reinvest, but now she also has her own capital to invest in the business. The means that each month, the amount she has to invest increases.
72 year old Awunsu Iddrisu lives in Gelakologo in the Garu district, in the Upper East of Ghana with his wife and six children. He is the sole provider for his family and prior to receiving a Deki loan, Awunsu ran a small scale farming business. He grew maize, millet and sorghum in the rainy season, mainly for his own household consumption, whilst he would grow onions and okra during the dry season. These crops were then sold on to provide some family income, but this was not sufficient for his whole family.
Awunsu struggled to make a profit as their land was small and productivity was low. Despite working hard on the farm he was unable to expand the business as he was prevented access to the finances necessary to support his vegetable farming business. He hoped to increase the land to half an acre but the banks were unwilling to grant Awunsu the credit that would enable him to increase the rate of production.
A Deki loan gave Awunsu the opportunity to dramatically improve his business. He was offered agricultural training by Deki's partners iDE, including training in education, farm business and entrepreneurship skills, and was granted a loan of GHS500, which is around £110. With the loan he brought useful materials to improve his farm, such as fertilizer and good quality seeds to grow his onion crop.
After investing his loan Awunsu was able to increase his crop yield to eleven bags of onions, which he went on to sell for GHS125 per bag, ensuring he was then able to pay off his loan. With the increased profit Awunsu now received he bought two sheep to rear, allowing him to generate even more income for the family.
Awunsu is now able to provide more for his family and has fully paid for one of his children’s senior high school fees. He has gone on to apply for a second Deki loan which he will again invest into his successful farming business.
Awunsu said he is thanking God for Deki for promoting the lives of rural farmers.