At least 600 petty traders and low-income business owners in Buchanan are to benefit from microloans from the Citizens Independent Initiative (CII), according to the executive director of the Universal Human Rights International, Joe Luamba.
Luamba told the Daily Observer in an interview yesterday in Monrovia that CII is conducting a pilot project in Grand Bassa County that will also be extended to Nimba County.
“Beneficiaries of the microloan are taken through a workshop on how to manage their finances,” Mr. Luamba said. “And depending on the kind of business, a maximum amount of US$5,000 can be applied for.”
He explained that the objective of the initiative is to empower Liberian business owners financially with the objective of getting them out of poverty.
“The program is modeled after the Family Independent Initiative (FII) of the United States that has helped thousands of families out of poverty,” Luamba said. “We know it can work here and our people will benefit from it greatly.”
Luamba noted that while training is going on in Buchanan, CII is looking at just what happens when a business owner is unable to repay a loan so that they can come up with flexible means for repayment.
“The money is meant to be loaned to every Liberian that may qualify after going through our workshop and therefore, we will encourage financial discipline, for which our workshops prepare our beneficiaries,” he said.
Luamba said every July 16 a program is held for members of their various communities in Grand Bassa and Nimba, with a visit by the founder of the Universal Human Rights International, Rev. Torli Krua, from the United States.
He explained that the current program, along with the training, is focused on sensitization to make the people aware of CII and its efforts to empower Liberian business owners.
The CII, he said, will change the gap for low-income families by partnering with, learning from, and investing directly in families.
Together “we are determined to build a movement to change the way low-income families are perceived and invested in the country, Luamba said. We provide resources and empowerment for families to build their own communities by designing direct capital investments matching their own business initiatives.”
He added that the CII also sensitizes Liberians to their responsibilities to identify and vote credible Liberians into office.