Assilassimé : Social microfinance in Togo
The most vulnerable people in society, especially women who have spent less time in education, have great difficulty finding work. The only way they can survive and gain their independence is to start a business. Overnight, these men and women start a distribution business, a small restaurant, a livestock farm, or a tailoring business. However, they need help to develop their businesses and make them sustainable.
Social microfinance designed for the most needy
In 2015, Entrepreneurs du Monde set up Assilassimé (Hand in Hand in the Ewe language)to support these people. This scheme is unique within social microfinance in Togo because it requires neither a guarantee nor a deposit, thereby meeting the needs of the most vulnerable. Besides offering microloans, the team provides essential services to support these citizens towards lasting socio-economic independence: microcredit, savings,training and social support. The scheme prioritises support for people who are living with HIV or a disability.
Methodology of Assilassimé
To promote the socio-economic inclusion of the most marginalised, the team works with 32 associations which refer those living with a disability or with HIV, widows, single mothers, and others. Following referral, those people
are asked to form groups of micro-entrepreneurs so that they can make progress together, share good practice, encourage each other, and reintegrate themselves into society. Each person is supported for as long as necessary. Close monitoring of our social performance has shown that beneficiaries’ living conditions have improved.
Support by Entrepreneurs du Monde
Set up Entrepreneurs du Monde in 2012, Assilassimé is now a legal association under Togolese law. In 2015, the organisation was granted approval to undertake activities in microfinance and it has since requested permission to hold savings. At the end of 2018, its operations became sustainable. Entrepreneurs du Monde continues to support the association with its governance and strategic decisions.
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