The whole idea of this program is to empower the people with some small working funds in order for them to start a small enterprise in order to make a profit. Each village has a loan committee who participates in the decision of the loan amounts and the credibility of the loan applicants. The amount of the loans varies from $10 to $100. In America this would seem small, but in Mali with a per capita income of $1 a day, the amount has potential for an enterprise. The loans are set with a repayment schedule that will occur in a year.
The applicants present their request to the loan committee prior to our arrival in the village. During our stay in the village, the applicants come to the four of us and tell us their plan for the funds and the repayment schedule is discussed. There is a discussion that occurs between the applicant and us as to plans for the funds and how they will produce a profit. The decision is made on the loan and if approved, the paper is signed and the money is given to the applicant. A 5% loan fee is charged to the applicant to help cover the costs that are associated with the program.