Mali Blog Part II: Lifting women out of poverty…with peanut butter!
Part I | Part II
Abdul Basit Ali and Zakir Mahmoud blog about how peanut butter is reducing poverty in Mali…
“As volunteers, we are regularly reminded of the ultimate goal of Islamic Relief: to not exist as an organisation. Aid workers who truly work for the cause, with the correct intentions, wish there was no real need for their job. This is something which may sound puzzling at first, but makes absolute sense when you think about it. The primary goal of aid organisations is fighting to end world poverty – a consequence of which would be the end of these very organisations!
Islamic Relief is unique in the sense that it works for sustainable solutions. Its innovative microcredit programme empowers those in need to stop solely relying on aid hand-outs. This helps people use their own entrepreneurial flair to take full advantage of a loan to build a business, resulting in a regular stream of income. It not only helps families out of poverty, but gives them a massively improved quality of life, in which children can have an education and access to medicine.
We saw a great example of this microcredit programme in action in Mali, in which a group of 11 women was identified as needing assistance and granted a loan of approximately £1,500. The women used this money to create a small enterprise making peanut butter – with sufficient training, they produce peanut butter with an amazingly rich taste, that would easily rival anything you can taste in the UK!
After just one year, the women were not only able to pay the loan back in full – they also had made enough money to invest in equipment, earning profits which matched the initial investment. These 11 women, all widows, have now built an immeasurably improved lifestyle for themselves and their families.
The drive and work ethic of these women is truly admirable, and even more so is their determination to earn a living through which they can give their children a future with hope.”