I understand there is currently a hold on further funding. This should not stop us from helping those who can and will better themselves if they are given the chance to.
I watched a video how a simple solar panel can change the lives of a family and and entire village. Also how a simple insect net can help the health of millions of our fellow humans.
I believe United Prosperity is more than micro loans but it can be a source of cheap inexpensive insect nets and solar panels that then can be sold to peoples at cost and on the same terms we currently use for loans ie. many many months if at all.
Great idea, tough I am not sure how we would administer such small loans. I wonder if there is an NGO in India that could take on a project like this. Giving such tiny loans directly isn't in our mandate (I don't think)
Thanks for initiating this discussion. We are currently working on proposal of solar lighting with Sewa bank - http://www.sewabank.com/.
IFC has already agreed in principle to make guarantees - http://www.ifc.org/ifcext/spiwebsite1.nsf/1ca07340e47a35cd85256efb0...
The new organization started by Sewa Bank for this purpose is interested and they are taking our proposal to the bankers. I will get back with more updates in a week.
Had a call with Sewa bank a few minutes back and have an update. They are working with IFC as the guarantor and with a consortium of 4 banks ( 3 international and one local Indian bank). The advantage of the consortium is that they will have the same term sheets with all of them and do not have to negotiate with each bank separately. We will use the same term sheet as followed by IFC. This will make the whole process standardized.
Sewa's final terms with IFC will get tentatively finalized in another 2 weeks. And with the banks it will tentatively get finalized by the end of January. Once these are in place we should be able to start quite quickly.
The solar lighting products are meant for Sewa Bank members. Sewa Bank is a cooperative owned by its members ( in that sense they are very similar to Grameen bank). For the solar lighting and energy products they are setting up a separate non-profit company that will borrow from banks and provide these products to their members. The members will not get the loan money in hand but will instead get the solar lighting product. They will pay for the product loan through installments. One additional advantage of not giving the loan money in borrowers hands is that it prevents the money from being used for consumption purposes, but instead goes towards asset formation.
The loan value is likely to be the order of $100 for each member. The repayment term is likely to be around 22 months. The loan term is structured as such because the borrowers do not necessarily have regular monthly cash flows. This is also reduces the debt servicing load and makes it more manageable for them.
Sewa bank is one of the pioneers in empowering self employed women - http://www.sewabank.com/aboutus-origin.htm. For this project they are able to mobilize banks and international institutions such as IFC because of the enormous respect and credibility enjoyed by Sewa Bank and its founder Ela Bhatt - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ela_Bhatt.
Thanks again for your commitment on this important matter.
I see a bright future.
Is the loan guarantee the same with this as with other loans.
This sounds really exciting Bhalchander!
If this could get off the ground, that would be as Kenneth says "Excellent"!!!
I would LOVE to give guarantees for solar power products - not only offering a helping hand for entrepreneurs to lift themselves out of poverty, but also to be able to fight climate change at the same time... Wow - that is SO good!!!
Yes, it is exciting indeed. The possibilities are endless.
I believe Sewa is also offering energy efficient stoves along with the solar lighting. These will help in reduced firewood needs and also black carbon or soot that increases glacial melting. http://notrickszone.com/2010/08/27/glaciers-the-dark-side-its-not-t...
While energy efficient stoves are good, the long term goal is to use solar power for cooking. The challenge here is that although solar powered cookers are available they do not necessarily adapt to the lifestyles of many poor families. Many women cook at dusk / night as they need to go outside their homes during the day for their livelihoods. A few people are trying to develop a storage for the energy using sand. http://www.ases.org/papers/071.pdf. Once this technology is perfected it could make a huge difference in solar cooking as well.