Microcredits

The Prodie Santé Project in Niger

As part of Prodie Santé’s commitment to the various Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN, Prodie Philanthropy is developing a microcredits program in Niamey, the capital of Niger. Through this action, we focus our activity on the tenth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG): reducing inequalities. We developed a program with two lines of work to help the most precarious households: one promoting children’s schooling and the other granting microcredits for personal projects. This article presents the work of Fouréra Abdou Mani, who is in charge of this project and is a specialist in development policies.

Fouréra Abdou Mani creates a nice and soothing atmosphere just by saying a few words: Her soft and clear voice immediately puts you at ease. In a simple but organized way, she talks about her career and the project she is in charge of on behalf of Prodie Philanthropy: setting up a microcredit program in Niamey, the capital of Niger. According to the World Bank, extreme poverty will reach 41.8% of the country’s population in 2021, i.e. more than 10 million people.

This summer, the specialist in development policies, expert in her field and trained in recognized institutions such as the United Nations and the NGO Oxfam has to face a new challenge. It is the first time she has had to develop a microfinance project. The idea is to facilitate access to a helpful product or service for a personal project through financial aid granted by Prodie Santé to a family in need.

For Fouréra two aspects of her mission are particularly relevant: doing fieldwork again and concentrating on local actions that are more concrete. These microcredits will radically change the daily lives of the families involved. The project is centred around two main lines of work: children’s schooling and support for mothers in precarious situations.

To start, the microcredit program will be applied to three families. Fouréra’s first action will be to decide who the contracting parties will be. The criteria defined by Prodie Philanthropy and Fouréra to choose the beneficiaries are the following: families with fathers in exile that cannot cover the basic needs of their families. This creates significant difficulties for mothers who have to take care of their children, often very young, and at the same time cover the family expenses. In the second stage, it will be crucial to build trust with these mothers, initiate the procedures, and grant the microcredit. Fouréra will monitor the projects’ different stages. If the pilot program works, several other families will benefit from it.

To better understand how our actions translate on the ground, Fouréra gives a concrete example: a woman would like to set up a business selling cakes on the street, something very common in Niamey. In this case, our specialist would have to study this particular project and then define the financial and material needs necessary to build this type of business. After that, she would have to explain the project to the bank to allow the optimal allocation of financial resources. In this case, for example, the woman needs cooking utensils. Fouréra would be the intermediary between Prodie Philanthropy, the bank, the kitchen equipment supplier and the chosen family.

Growing up in Niger, Fouréra’s background and extensive knowledge of the country gives Prodie Philanthropy every reason to trust her to carry out this project. The program may be extended to other regions of Niger, such as Tahoua and Maradi, where the rate of people in exile is higher. We will follow the project closely from its launch in August 2022.