Furaha Group is a savings and lending association and as their name epitomizes, they have every reason to celebrate! ‘Furaha’ means ‘happiness’ in Swahili. Comprising 26 females and established in April 2016 with seven members, the group have effectively teamed up to fight poverty and improve their ability to care for their children by setting up excelling businesses.

Furaha group resides in Nyoni Ward, Mbinga District Council (DC) in southern Tanzania. They have set up both group- and individual-owned businesses in bee keeping, poultry, liquid and bar soap production, and batik clothes making. They rent three shops and utilize the space effectively to process, market, and sell their goods and products.

The group’s accomplishments are founded on Pact’s Worth Yetu model of savings and lending groups, which empowers women economically, teaches them business and money management skills, creates a platform for them to save and borrow and establish small businesses, so they too can lift their families and especially children out of poverty. In Mbinga DC, PADI1, a Civil Society Organization, mobilizes groups of caregivers of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and trains them on the Worth Yetu model. PADI receives technical and financial support from the USAID Kizazi Kipya project (led by Pact), which is funded by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Collectively, the group’s income cares for their own children and those not directly served under USAID Kizazi Kipya. Eighty-eight group members’ children (46 girls and 42 boys) and 70 additional OVC in their community (23 girls and 47 boys) gain shelter, schooling and healthcare.

The Furaha Group attributes their success to PADI, which facilitated the acquirement of two low-interest loans in April 2018: Tsh 4,200,000/= (US $1000) from the Tanzania Postal Bank and Tsh 1,000,000/= (US $450) from Mbinga DC. The latter loan was an exceptional gesture extended by the government district council due to the group members’ commitment and capacity to manage their own resources and grow their businesses. The village government also gave them part of the village forest catchment to set up their 26 beehives.

To sustain their progress, they hold weekly meetings and contribute mandatory and voluntary weekly savings. They save at Tanzania Postal Bank when repaying their loan on a weekly basis but also individually withdrawing a small monthly loan. Together, the group have accumulated Tsh. 520,000/= (U$ 240) in savings. In the future, they plan to seek connections with similar enterprises and to expand their business, trade and technical skills.

Group member, Sara Nkoma expresses their readiness to help other newly formed groups: “Our businesses are doing fine, and other women wish they could be part of this group but because we are many, I encourage them to form their own groups and we will support them with advice and technical know-how.”