Institutional Action Plan Raffle Winner: LIFCE (Liberia)

Congratulations to this week’s winner of the Raffle for Institutional Action Plan Submitters, Liberia Initiative for Community Empowerment (LIFCE)of Liberia!

LIFCE’s Vision, Mission and Principles

Vision: A world where every woman, man and child leads a healthy, fulfilling life of self-reliance and dignity.

Mission: To end hunger and poverty by pioneering sustainable, grassroots, women-centered strategies and advocating for their widespread adoption in communities throughout the country.

Principles: Through our work to end hunger and poverty, we have recognized these ten principles as being fundamental to The LIFCE Microcredit Project. We challenge ourselves to ensure that each of our strategies builds on these principles.

1. Human Dignity
2. Gender Equality
3. Empowerment
4. Leverage
5. Interconnectedness
6. Sustainability
7. Social Transformation
8. Holistic Approach
9. Decentralization
10. Transformative Leadership
LIFCE’s Microfinance Work in Liberia

LIFCE’s Microfinance Program is implemented in two phases: (1) direct credit (approximately three to four months and/or six months to one year); and (2) rural credit agency.

The ultimate objective of the Microfinance Program in each community center is to have the facility gain government recognition to operate as a licensed Rural Credit Agency, owned entirely by community members and managed by a majority female board. The Rural Credit Agency then serves as a center that provides the entire community with sustainable access to savings and credit facilities.

The program consists of the following components:

1. Training

Trainings build the capacity of rural partners to increase and manage income. Anyone interested in participating in the Microfinance Program must first attend a LIFCE’s Vision, Commitment and Action Workshop to learn about LIFCE’s principles and methodology. These are required training sessions prior to receiving credit (group dynamics, project identification, basic business management, credit management and functional literacy classes). Either before accessing their loan or during repayment, partners must also participate in health trainings, on topics such as nutrition, hygiene, HIV/AIDS prevention and family planning.

2. Savings

Partners are required to save in order to participate in the program. This sensitizes them to the importance and benefits of savings and instills a savings’ culture in the community. When partners save, they mitigate risk and create a more secure future. A minimum savings deposit of 10 percent of the applied loan principal is required as savings prior to accessing credit.

3. Credit

Credit provides partners with the capital to realize their business aspirations and generate income. Loans are only disbursed to solidarity groups of 5-15 people, relying on the concept of group solidarity to mitigate risk. Group meetings become forums where members can voice and address common concerns and make decisions toward collective action on issues from education to clean water. All credit obligations elsewhere must be repaid before applying for a loan with the Liberia Initiative for Community Empowerment Microcredit Program. Another precondition is that all partners must enroll their children, girls as well as boys, in school.