Since 2013 Be One Percent has been working with Deki to deliver micro-loans (small loans of £30-£400) to some of the world’s most marginalised people, helping them to work their way out of poverty.

In this time we have invested nearly £60,000 with Deki. This has delivered 1,251 life changing loans, to the value of £200,000 in seven countries including Togo, South Sudan and Uganda.

The work is specifically focused in countries where women face huge barriers to financial inclusion due to gender inequality. This is tackled by ensuring nearly 80% of loans made are to women, as well as providing a wide variety of business, social and educational training to every loan recipient.

Afi Dope Mimlikou is one such person. Afi, 57, lives in Lomé, the capital of Togo with her husband and five children, aged between 16-30. Afi’s husband was unemployed so the family’s finances and future of their children was down to her. Afi ran a small stall selling food and charcoal at the market in town. Afi wanted to buy more stock in bigger amounts to invest in her business but without any formal schooling she was unable to get a loan from a bank. Be One Percent made a loan of £160 to Afi and she invested it in buying rice, tomatoes and oil in larger quantities. Her stall was popular and she soon repaid her loan.

Since receiving the initial loan Afi says her business income and her families quality of life has improved. Her two youngest children are in education, now that Afi can afford the school uniform and books needed.

She also makes about 30,000 XOF (£39) profit every month, enabling her to add to their savings. Since receiving support Afi has gone onto to access a second loan of £330 and has increased her business further. Afi has now been able to buy a plot of land and build a home for her family.

Afi says the training support she has received has allowed her to develop an innovative business, trading in a wide variety of goods, whilst also learning to manage her loan and keep thorough records. She has attended many healthcare workshops, the most recent focused on breast cancer prevention. With the support Afi has been given she now has a profitable business, giving her the opportunity needed to make a life without poverty a reality. Afi says her next goal is ‘to buy a car for the family’.

Our February 1% will go towards another batch of Deki loans. We’re hoping to raise enough to support 40 entrepreneurs plus many more when the money is repaid and recycled into the system.