Investours, a non-profit organization founded by a group of Harvard students in 2008, offers visitors to Dar a unique cultural experience – one which serves to make a difference in the lives of the local people. The Dar es Salaam project was assisted with the help of pilot funding from the Sustainable Cities International Network – Africa Program and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). They have since partnered with a local organization called Maisha Finance, who assists with identifying suitable loan candidates and processing loan repayments. The business model is simple and effective. One hundred per cent of the tour fees paid by visitors are pooled and then given to a local entrepreneur of their choice as a zero-interest microloan, with a typical repayment period of three months. (Read more about the joint initiative here).
by Christina Klecker, Investours Tanzania Country Director.
Augustina Shayo and Anthonia Kessy received their Investours loan amounting to US$200 on the 25th of July, 2011. Since then, their green-leaf vegetable stand has been transformed into a bustling area of vegetable commerce. Instead of the dearth of greens they sold before, the two ladies are now able to sell innumerable vegetables including tomatoes, onions, carrots, potatoes, coconuts, sweet peppers, hot peppers, lemons, and ginger. Many of these vegetables are not available in the surrounding area, and subsequently the “Mboga Mamas” have had incessant business. Their profit before receiving the loan from Investours was a meagre Tsh 3,000 (roughly $2) per day. The expanded vegetable business at Mwenge now yields daily revenue of around TSh 15,000 to 16,000 ($9-$10).
However, their post-loan success does not end there. In less than two months after receiving their loan, the two entrepreneurs used their increasing profit to open another fully equipped vegetable stand, similar to the one at Mwenge. Even more remarkable is the fact that in that same period, Augustina and Anthonia expanded their business to include selling charcoal. Their new undertakings yield another TSh 10,000 per day. The two women are ecstatic every time they speak of their business and new endeavours. Selling vegetables is a very fluid venture, as the commodities are subject to the changes in harvests. Some may even rot before they are sold. Yet Augustina and Anthonia have had some sensational achievements, and are always optimistic about the future of their business. They are eager to continue to their resounding success.
It’s these kinds of success stories that really keep us going here at Sustainable Cities. Our thanks and gratitude to everyone who made this project a reality!