One of the constraints to implementing small scale projects among near, or at subsistence level farmers, is the access to financial resources with which they can launch small income-earning projects such as those analyzed in the seminar.
In the rare cases when local loans are available, they are typically short-term (six months maximum), require collateral, and come with a high interest rate (minimum of 18 % per year). In the majority of cases, therefore, this means that even small scale projects are out of reach for most.
As an alternative, Christ Church decided to help provide the initial funding for establishing a revolving fund that will help launch strongly feasible mini-projects, up to a maximum of $1,000 per project.
The initial funds provided through Christ Church will essentially function as a pump-priming mechanism used initially to fund the first few projects. As these projects get underway, and interest and principal payments begin to come in on the Ivorian side, they will be deposited in a local bank and managed by the local staff. New projects will then be increasingly funded locally (since the local account will grow as the interest and principal payments accumulate over time) with smaller and smaller supplementary ‘top-off’ funding needed from the Christ Church.
Eventually and ideally, we hope that the local funding will grow to the point where it will take over all the operations and there will no longer be any need for additional funding from the US.
What does Ji Mi Gba mean?
Ji Mi Gba, in Bakwé, means “Come to my side” or more idiomatically, “Lend me a helping hand.” Ji Mi Gba is the name of the microfinance revolving fund at the local Bakwé level and jointly managed by CTAB and Christ Church.