Social and Employment
Pune, au sud de Bombay, India
Bruno Bonfante, Veolia Eau
30,000 € to the Selection Committee at 2005/12/06
More than a million persons live in the slums and shantytowns of Pune, a large city south of Mumbai. Among them, about 30% of the most destitute manage to survive against all odds, thanks to their economic activity. Grocers, tailors, embroiderers, shoemakers ... all these micro-businesses somehow support the daily lives of tens of thousands of adults and children.
To help them improve their living conditions, the Inter-Aide Association (formed 25 years ago and specialized in development programs in the poorest parts of the globe) launched a system of productive loans in the city in 2001, combined with training.
Finance and Marketing
Petty salesmen or small producers, these "microentrepreneurs" have no access to conventional loans offered by the banks. Thanks to the microcredit agencies which Inter-Aide has started activating, 17 112 loans and been granted between 2001 and 2005, for an average amount of about 38 euros.An encouraging start.
To guarantee the success of this strictly financial approach, Inter-Aide set up training programs for the borrowers, some of them compulsory, others not. Mandatory items include courses in finance (keeping the books, savings, budget, profitability) and marketing (product presentation, communication, quality, hygiene, distribution, etc.). In addition, the "micro-businessmen "can also take optional courses for intensive training in work related concepts: grocery, carpentry, embroidery, etc.
The final aspect of Inter-Aide's action is the creation of a mutualized microinsurance fund for small entrepreneurs, available as soon as an activity is considered profitable.
In 2005, to help Inter-Aide continued to grow in Pune, the Veolia foundation made a grant of 30 000 euros.
More than 8000 borrowers concerned
Thanks to the funding from the Foundation, Inter-Aide granted 8700 loans to 8207 individual borrowers. Among them, a vegetable seller purchased a rickshaw for her husband, who now makes home deliveries. Another lady set up a small tailoring business which employs ten seamstresses. All these individuals benefited from the training sessions addressing the management of a micro-business, the family budget, hygiene and health.
Fascinated by the work undertaken by Inter-Aide, Bruno Bonfante, the sponsor of the Association, made a local visit in the summer of 2006 during his holidays.
He confirmed the quality of the work done and the judicious use of the funds.
His report on returning to France and his enthusiasm with the results encouraged the Veolia foundation to help Inter-Aide a second time for setting up micro-insurance systems.