How Pageant's Loan Scheme
Many people in the world's
poorest countries have benefited from micro-loans enabling them to
set up their own small businesses. Pageant's Loan Scheme
differs from most of these, in that we only lend to groups of
women in Gambian villages. Each group typically has six women, each
of whom is helped to set up her own small business. Members of the
group can support and encourage each other during the difficult early
days. The group is looked after by a respected village woman, who
keeps track of the loans, and reports back to Pageant. The big
difference with the Pageant scheme is that we do not expect to get
the money back. When the first group repay their loans after six
months, the money becomes available for a further group - and so on.
Click the links below for more information about Pageant's Loan
More about Pageant
This scheme was set up in 2006, and
is still running, with repaid loans financing new groups of
women to start small businesses.
The village market started with a
Pageant loan in 2005, and is still doing very well.
read the full story
The Gunjur scheme was started in 2009 by
members of the Mothers' Club of the Sheik Hatab Memorial
This scheme was set up in 2012 by members
of the Jambanjelly Women's Union.
Pageant's most recent scheme was started
in 2013 in Siffoe, in the south of The Gambia.
Pageant is constantly working with groups
of women throughout The Gambia to set up new loan schemes.
Information about other microfinace
Please Help With a
To start a scheme, we need 1,500 dalasis for each of six women,
so a group of six women needs a starting investment of 9,000 dalasis,
or about £210 at the current exchange rate of August 2011.
(You can check exchange rates
We have several new schemes in the pipeline which you can help to
finance. You can donate any amount to our Loan Scheme online, using your credit
or debit card.
Click the 'Donate' button to make a
donation to Pageant's Loan Scheme. This takes you to a Virgin Money Giving
page, where you should click on 'Donate now'. Donations will be
kept separate and used only for our Loan Scheme.
Alternatively you can
send a cheque
by post to Pippa Howard. Old School, Worthing Road,
Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex. RH13 9DT, UK. Please write 'Pageant
on the back of the cheque. Also if you are a UK taxpayer, please
send us a Gift Aid form to allow us to reclaim UK Tax.
Gift Aid allows Pageant to claim an extra
from the taxman. Your donation will be used in the next scheme
to be launched, and we will then get in touch to let you know
details of that scheme. Our Gift Aid form is available in
Microsoft Word or PDF format.
Pageant had been assisting a
in the Village of Busumbala by funding literacy
and numeracy classes which helps them run small businesses such as
vegetable growing, tie dyeing and other crafts. However, at
that stage, Pageant had not actually provided help in starting any
When Bakalarr headmaster, Bakary Gitteh,
visited the UK in the summer of 2005, Pippa
showed him a video describing a micro-loan scheme started by two
lady missionaries in South Africa. Their idea was to lend a small
sum of money - 1500 Dalasis was ideal - to each of six ladies in a community,
so that they could each start a small business. Each lady had to
come up with a business idea that she felt she could manage and that
would be supported by the community.
Once it was agreed which ladies
would get the loans, they were lent the money, interest free, for a
period of six months. They had to agree to pay back one sixth - 250 Dalasis -
each month, until at the end of six months all had been repaid. As
long as ALL the money was repaid, it could then be lent out again,
to six more ladies of the community - and so, it could be treated as
community money, as long as it was always repaid.
Bakary was fascinated by the idea and had
watched the video several times. The main drawback from Pageant's
point of view was that it needed a local woman to be the
go-between - a woman who commanded the respect of the local ladies
and who could also talk to us and understand how the scheme was to
work. A man would not do, so Kemo could not, in this instance, be
our representative. Bakary said before he left
that he thought that his wife, Mariama, might act as our go-between
and he would discuss it with her. However, he had not mentioned it
again, so we thought she had not been keen on the idea. We had also
mentioned the scheme in a few places, but no-one had taken it up.
The Bakalarr scheme was started during
Pageant's visit in October 2006, when a very large number of women
crowded into one of the Bakalarr classrooms to hear the details of
how Pageant loan worked from Pippa and Mariama.
Pippa and Mariama
explaining how the scheme works to the assembled ladies
On her visit in February 2007, Pippa found
that the first group in the Bakalarr scheme was just coming up to
completion. Mariama assured Pippa that the women were all paying
back the correct amount and on time. Currently (June 2009) the
Bakalarr scheme is on its eighth group of women...
As it happened, the loan scheme at Sika, also coordinated by Mariama
Gitteh, came into operation before the Bakalarr scheme...
top of page >>
Sika Women's Village Market
One of the most successful and long running
loan schemes is a village market run by the women of Sika on the
North Bank. This was started with a Pageant loan in 2005, and is
still doing very well. Pageant has now helped with funding for a new
market place. The market is in use every morning
and all the local women have the opportunity to trade each day.
They say it has transformed their lives.
Read the full story of
Scheme - October 2009
Pageant started a loan scheme in
the village of Gunjur [map]
in the southern part of the Gambia. The
Sheik Hatab Memorial Nursery School has an active "Mothers' Club" associated with it. On a
Pageant visit in April 2009, members of the Mothers' Club said
they were keen to participate in a Pageant Loan Scheme, and Pippa was introduced to Binta Jammeh, the Home Science teacher
of Gunjur Upper Basic School, who agreed to be Pageant's
go-between for the village women. In October 2009 an inaugural
meeting was held and the loan scheme started.
Gunjur women at the inaugural meeting
The loan scheme was run on similar lines
to those in other villages - i.e. Pageant lent 1,500 Dalasis to each of six ladies,
who would each come up with a business idea that
she felt she could manage and that would be supported by the
community. Pippa met a large group of ladies who were interested
in the loan scheme, and the go-between, Binta Jammeh, who spoke
excellent English and was able to translate between Pippa and
the Gunjur ladies.
Binta decided to lead from the front and
took one of the first 'start-up' loans herself. She and the
other five 'start-up' ladies explained their ideas to the group
and all were supported with enthusiasm.
Binta decided to start a
soap-making business using oil and sodium hydroxide (caustic
soda); two other ladies were buying spaghetti, vegetables and
other items such as dried fish in quantity to make school meals,
one at the nursery school, the other at the Upper Basic School;
another was buying fertilizer in bulk - some to sell in small
quantities to small-time gardeners, the rest to use herself to
improve her own crops; the last two ladies were buying various
provisions in bulk and selling them in small quantities.
The 'start-up' group
Binta on extreme right
All the ladies were given 1,500 dalasis,
which they counted
and signed for in a
special book. They then paid back 250 dalasis every month until
their loan was fully repaid. Although this first scheme was
successful, it was closed due to unforeseen circumstances. We
are hoping to re-launch the scheme at a later date with a new
the first Jambanjelly loan
(coordinator Mai Baldeh 2nd from right)
Jambanjelly women who
will be taking part
in the loan scheme
Pageant latest loan scheme has been set
up in the village of Jambanjelly (sometimes spelt Jambanjali) [map].
This has been set up by members of the local Women's Union, with
Mai Baldeh as coordinator. The first group of 6 ladies took their loans
in February 2012. They are now on their third set of ladies and
most of the members of the first two groups are still trading.
A Pageant team made
one of their regular visits to
The Gambia in March/April 2013.
This is covered on this
At the beginning of this visit, Pippa and Tina travelled to Siffoe to help set up the latest
Pageant Loan Scheme. This is Pippa's report:
"Tina and I had a
really exciting job to do on the day before Frances at al
arrived - we were going to a village in the southern part of The
Gambia called Siffoe to set up a Pageant Loan for a women's
group based in and around the compound (Kanteh Kunda) from which
Momodou Kanteh comes. Pageant members who come to our summer
parties will have met Momodou, as will our container-packing
team - he has visited UK several times at the invitation of
various people, and has always been keen to help with any
Pageant event or task while he has been here.
(Some background: I
had visited Kanteh Kunda during our February trip - Ian had come
home by then, and I was accompanied by a couple of Pageant
members, Delia and Michael, who happened to be staying out there
at the time. We had gone to meet the members of the group as
well as the key lady, Tombong Susso, who had been chosen to be
the link between the women and Pageant - a position of immense
importance to the loan scheme, as it is she who has the task of
managing the incoming payments, banking them and then, when all
have been returned, lending the money to more ladies.)
So, Tina and I arrived
to find an excited group of women and children sitting in a
large shaded area, with Tombong in charge. We went through the
formalities and then each of the six ladies who had been
selected to be the first to take the loan stood up in turn, to
state their idea for a business and how much the finished
product would be sold for. The community then had to say whether
or not they would support this business, as obviously local
support is crucial to the success of the scheme. As the group
had been able to discuss all the proposals well in advance, it
was no surprise to find that support was given to all six
The ladies chosen
Sahaba Jarju - she would buy vegetables in bulk from
the market town of Brikama (about 6 miles away) and sell them in
small quantities locally.
Isatou Kanteh - she would buy the
ingredients to make soap in bulk from Brikama and then sell the
Isatou Kanteh (2) - she would buy fertilizer in
bulk from Brikama and sell it in small quantities locally. She
also hopes to sell some of her crops.
Ndey Kanteh - she would
buy charcoal in bulk from Brikama and sell it in small
Isatou Susso - she would buy cassava in
bulk from Brikama and then cook it in a sauce to sell locally.
Sariba Kanteh - she would buy the ingredients to make bread in
bulk from Brikama and bake the bread to sell locally. She would
also sell salt. (This last proposal was greeted with HUGE
enthusiasm by the rest of the ladies!)
Isatou Kanteh (2)
Ndey Kanteh (charcoal)
Isatou Susso (cassava)
Sariba Kanteh (bread)
Having been accepted
by the community women, the six chosen ladies then each came
forward to receive their money (D1,500 - about £30) and signed
for it in Tombong's book. At the end of each of the next six
months they will each pay back D250 - after that any money they
make will be their own, both to use for their families and to
plough back into their businesses. We wish them well - as do the
next six ladies, who are already waiting for their turn!"
<< Isatou Susso
signing Tombong's book
More Pageant Loan
Pageant is planning to extend
its loan scheme to
more villages. What we need are more people like Mariama, Mai and
can act as our go-between in each new village. It is important that this
person is a female with local authority, who can both command the
respect of the village women and be able to communicate well with us
and understand how the scheme works. It takes time to find the right
people, but they are well worth waiting for, as has been proved by
our existing coordinators.
Other Loan Schemes
for people who are too poor for normal banks to bother with, and
are a powerful instrument to lift third-world
communities out of poverty.
For in-depth information about
micro-loans, please see this excellent article
The Promise of Microfinance for Poverty Relief in the Developing
Micro-finance schemes operate in many
countries of Africa, Asia and South America, but they are
particularly common in rural South Africa, where many are
coordinated by the
Foundation. Another example in
South Africa is
Women's Development Businesses
(WDB), with microfinance programmes based on
schemes in Bangladesh.
A recent development is
lendwithcare.org a joint venture
between charity Care International and the Co-operative
Bank. The idea here is to lend small to moderate amounts of
money to selected small businesses throughout the developing world.
The lender is then paid back their original investment, without
interest, from profits made by the business. The lender then has the
option of reclaiming their money, donating it to Care International
or making it available for further loans.