Sont Oo Tehtwin : Social microfinance in Myanmar
Most of the inhabitants of Yangon’s outlying districts are poor and illiterate. This gives them very little access to paid employment, so they set up informal revenue-generating activities such as little shops, workshops or small farms in order to survive. It is very difficult, however, to develop these into sustainable businesses without access to credit facilities and training. Some people try their chances with classic microfinance institutions, but these insist on guarantees and only provide limited guidance.
Sont Oo Tehtwin sustainably improves the entrepreneurs’ living conditions
In 2014, Entrepreneurs du Monde set up Sont Oo Tehtwin (Entrepreneur in Burmese) to support extremely vulnerable families in Dala, Seikkyikhanaungto, Twante and Kawhmu, to the south of Yangon.
The organisation offers financial and socio-economic services to the very poorest: loans without guarantees, a savings account, training sessions and guidance to help the micro entrepreneurs develop their revenue-generating activities and improve their living conditions.
Sont Oo Tehtwin : methodology
The micro-entrepreneurs get together in groups of around fifteen, meeting every two weeks in urban areas, or every month in rural areas, to make loan repayments or deposit savings and to take part in training sessions.
Before they even obtain their first loan they take part in initial training sessions to learn about saving, assessing their credit needs, avoiding indebtedness and running the group in a democratic and efficient way.
Incubed by Entrepreneurs du Monde
With the help of an on-site expat and regular visits from technical experts the local team is developing its skills and building a social microfinance institution that is sustainable in every sense: regulatory, human, financial, etc. In particular, the SOO team is being trained in loan methodology, management and reporting tools, creation and delivery of training sessions, measuring social performance, etc.