www.microbanker.com was started to support the Ugandan microfinance project of the Dutch NGO SYPO. We provide small business loans to poor women in rural Uganda, who do not have access to conventional bank loans.
The Dutch NGO SYPO was started in 2003 to support entrepreneurial projects in the Mukono and Buikwe districts in Uganda. Over the years, the focus shifted more and more to microfinance.
SYPO Uganda Ltd.
In 2009 SYPO first started working with a Ugandan partner to give out loans to women in Uganda. The non-paternalistic nature of our approach (women choose what to do with their loans and repay with interest, instead of having to be thankful for Western-planned handouts) combined with our emphasis on efficiency meant that microfinancing soon became our core activity. In 2011, the NGO started its full subsidiary, SYPO Uganda Ltd, a company to provide accessible loans to women in rural Uganda. Still working in the districts we’ve come to know so well, we only employ local staff to reach thousands of women who have a dream to determine their own, more prosperous future. Our ambition is to build a microfinance company which is low-cost, accessible and transparent, offering loans tailored to the needs of rural women. In its first years the company already proved to be a big success: we have now provided over 8,000 loans and still maintain over 99% repayments. To keep the loans accessible even in the most remote villages, we have to work in innovative ways; with a unique organisational structure that allows us to have less than half the costs of our peers in East Africa, leveraging online IT systems in the field and mobile money for repayments. Contact us to learn more about the way we work!
Accessible loans for women who need them most
Our loans match the needs of the women who need them most, who each have a dream to start or expand a simple business to improve the lives of their families. In addition to striving to keep loan costs low, we also ensure that we maintain a friendly, non-intimidating approach – simple offices, simply dressed loan officers, repayments under a tree or on the village market.
Each SYPO loan officer starts a field office in a local community and starts building a portfolio of loans from there. The loan officers can each handle up to 500 loans, repaying weekly in a tightly organized and standardized way. The application procedure is simple, fast and transparent – group selection, a one-page business plan, visit of the loan officer to the client’s business location, and simple financial literacy training. The clients never walk more than ten minutes to the repayment location. No fees other than the interest is charged, no mandatory savings, no insurance fees.
SYPO intends to grow to a portfolio of 5,000 loans before the end of 2015. To achieve this goal, we need a lot of donations. With this website, we hope to show everybody the strength and impact of microfinance – the possibility for women in Uganda to work on a better future, again and again.
The microfinance project in Uganda is managed remotely by parttime (unremunerated) directors Emma Kandelaars and Duko Hopman. Emma and Duko are supported by volunteers in the Netherlands and elsewhere, and work with a fantastic team of fulltime employees on the ground in Uganda. They're supervised by the Board of the NGO in the Netherlands.
SYPO in numbers
To ensure that we reach as many women as possible with our microcredits, we continuously improve the way we work and research our impact. Since the start of the organisation, we have given out over 8,000 microcredits, and have achieved 99.8% repayment. The women borrow in groups of five, responsible for each other's repayments but each with their own business plan. The maximum repayment period is one year, but the women can choose to repay faster. Our operational costs are 15% of the loan portfolio, which is about half the East African average. This way we can keep the interest to the women as low as possible. The organisation covers its own costs, but because it's a non-profit any profits that we do make are immediately reinvested in growth of the organisation. Below you can find our latest audited annual reports and an
impact assessment we conducted to show the social impact of the microcredits, focusing not only on income levels but also on well-being of the women.