COVID 19 - Finca UK

Location: Uganda

In order to respond to the socio-economic impacts of Covid-19 in developing countries, NextEnergy Foundation has partnered with FINCA to support BrightLife, a social enterprise which provides first-time clean energy to poor and low-income households in Uganda, to resume its operations. In 2019, through its agent model, BrightLife provided first-time clean energy access to 7,000 poor and low-income households in Uganda, where 73% of the population rely on firewood, kerosene and charcoal for lighting and cooking. BrightLife is undertaking the Lamp Library Project which NEF is supporting in Uganda.

As well as recruiting and training new BrightLife agents, additional safety supplies will be provided, and BrightLife’s communication channels will be leveraged to disseminate accurate COVID-19 health information. This all makes part of BrightLife’s Continuity of Operations Plan to ensure that the business and distribution network can resume in a safe and responsible manner as lockdown eases in Uganda. The aim is ultimately to ensure that BrightLife can continue to be on track to meeting its target for 2020 to provide 80,000 Ugandans with first-time access to clean energy. This will avoid over 14,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions, create over GPB 1 million in savings on energy expenditures by BrightLife clients, and over GBP 3 million in additional income generating opportunities by BrightLife clients.

An update on the Project’s progress will be available in the coming months.

Location: Afganistan and Jordan

In order to respond to the socio-economic impacts of Covid-19 in developing countries, NextEnergy Foundation has partnered with FINCA’s Impact Finance business to restore livelihoods and economic opportunities for female micro-business owners in Afghanistan and Jordan.

FINCA Impact Finance is a double-bottom line social impact business which manages a network of financial and microfinance institutions in 20 countries. It is working towards a hybrid socially responsible business model that maintains responsible customer relationships while enhancing service and reach through technology. In 2019, FINCA Impact Finance provided financial services to 2.7 million low-income customers worldwide, 41% of whom are female, typically operating retail and trade businesses.

FINCA projects that 100,000 micro-businesses of its FINCA Impact Finance female customers will be destroyed because of the pandemic. Global gains in women’s financial inclusion will be at risk, local communities will lose these trusted businesses, and female borrowers with unpaid loans will find it nearly impossible to obtain credit to start anew. The Foundation’s support will provide low-income Starter Loans and Starter Business Kits to female customers to rebuild their business once commerce resumes. The Foundation has chosen to support 80 female borrowers in Afghanistan, where 65% of FINCA’s borrowers are women, and 80 in Jordan, where 92% of FINCA’s borrowers are women.

Success story from one of FINCA Impact Finance’s branches in Jordan:

Sawsan is 27 years old, and the mother of four children. She lives with her husband and children in Russaifeh , Jordan.
Sawsan was working as an employee in a factory making cleaning materials, and supplementing her income by selling the items to relatives and neighbours to support her husband, and improve their standard of living. When the pandemic hit, Sawsan lost her job. Her husband’s work was also affected, with his salary being reduced. Sawsan and her friend Haleema decided they would try to go into business together, both obtaining a loan from FINCA. This allowed them to purchase more items to sell, such as blankets and fabrics, as well as the cleaning materials. Growing the business will allow them to pay for their children’s’ school expenses, but they are also being sensible and saving an amount each day. Sawsan says: ‘This new work can support us to build our life and have a great hope to expand it more’.