Image of the Day [10.06.2011] | Milaap

Image of the Day [10.06.2011]

Today's image is of a woman entrepreneur who sells solar lamps in the Osmanabad area of Maharashtra. She is one of the 800+ such women who have benefited from Sakhi Retail, a branch of Solapur-based financial services firm Sakhi Samudaya Kosh. Working quiety and efficiently throughout Maharashtra and Gujarat, Sakhi Retail has been distributing high-quality, affordable goods and appliances in rural areas through the saleswomen/entrepreneurs ("Sakhis") that it trains. Milaap has forged an important field partnership with Sakhi Retail, changing the lives of many such Sakhis in the Maharashtra area.

Apart from solar lamps, these Sakhis are trained to sell products such as smokeless cooking stoves and water filters, which greatly benefit the rural society in addition to transforming the livelihood of these women. It was seen that when the women required more working capital to buy more products, the traditional microfinance loans had an interest rate that was too high and too stringent in their weekly repayment restrictions.

Milaap works with Sakhi Retail to provide loans at 12%, which is about half the rate offered for any microfinance loans in the area. In additon, we have ensured the Sakhis that they can follow monthly repayment cycles, which fits much better with their income cycle. Milaap has disbursed loans amounting to $4000 overall to 15 Sakhis, who have paid back the money with 100% repayment rate and 0% default rate.

More information about the transformative change that Sakhi Retail is causing can be found here.

Our work with Sakhi Retail was covered in NextBillion. The article can be read here.