Very few microfinance institutions provide credit to the very poor in Togo. Assilassimé (“Hand in Hand” in Ewe, the local language) is distinguished in the Togolese microfinance landscape because it offers services only to vulnerable individuals in the Lomé area, particularly unbanked individuals, the disabled, single mothers, sex workers, people living with HIV, and widows. Kiva funding will help the organization expand its reach so it can work with even more borrowers.
To reach the populations where it can make the most impact, Assilassimé works with a number of NGOs in Togo. These include organizations that support HIV patients, disabled individuals, marginalized women, and more. Sometimes, to make borrowing even easier for clients, Assilassimé has staff meet with them at other NGOs' offices.
Assilassimé also uses a unique lending model: group loans with individual responsibility. This model emerged because group liability can cause tension between borrowers, to the exclusion of some of the most vulnerable potential clients. In addition to credit, the organization offers savings and business development training. It prides itself on offering individualized support and business development coaching, convenient group meeting points, and transparent pricing.
Assilassimé offers two loan products: the “Coup de pouce” or “Boost” loan, a very small loan designed to support startup businesses at a reduced interest rate; and the “Aménovi” or “Brotherhood” loan, structured to support established businesses. The type of loan product, amount, and repayment term are all tailored to the needs of individual borrowers irrespective of the terms and amounts accepted by fellow borrowing group members. All of these loan products are combined with training and customized business management support.
With its socially-oriented approach to microlending, Assilassimé has the potential to bolster unbanked Togolese citizens’ business skills, and provide opportunity for them to participate in local economies and improve their standards of living.
Interested in helping vulnerable individuals in Togo to start or grow a business and establish a stable livelihood? Make a loan through Assimlassimé today !