Adwoa Lives an Independent Life Thanks to the Income from her Business

By Lydia Adomako – Micro-Credit Program Officer

Adwoa getting ready to sell for the day.

Adwoa is a 40-year-old mother of five, and she is a pioneer of the Self-Help Micro-Credit Program in Beposo, Ghana. She is a farmer, trader, and shop owner. She first learned about Self-Help’s micro credit program from an acquaintance who traded in nearby Bedabour, and she is the embodiment of hard work.

“When I decided to join the program, people around me made so many negative comments that I almost stopped being in the program; but, I realized that to get to the place I wanted to go, I needed to take some risks – calculated risks,” Adwoa said. “I had to let go of my personal fears and embrace the opportunity to become financially independent”

In 2011, Beposo started with two groups of nine women in the micro-credit program. As of late 2020, the groups have about 50 active clients. According to Adwoa, there have been huge benefits to joining the micro-credit program.

“I was initially selling womenswear. I carried them to surrounding communities. It wasn’t stable because my business capital couldn’t support the credit selling I engaged in,” Adwoa said. “I invested my first loan from Self-Help into my business, just as the staff had taught us. By the time the third loan came, my trade had stabilized; I could sell on credit and still buy new products.”

“As time went out, business was going well, and I was tempted by the potential to expand my business. I started by expanding the number of communities that I served. I added other sought-after items like cloth pieces, handbags, and footwear,” Adwoa said.

As Adwoa points out, the training sessions that Self-Help’s micro-credit team provide make it stand out from other lending programs in the area.

“Business kept booming with more clients by the day, and Self-Help always kept telling us not to rely solely on one business as long as there is capacity to expand. I decided to get a shop so I could sell to surrounding communities in the morning and return in time to continue selling at the shop in the afternoon,” Adwoa said. “Initially, it was very tiring, but I needed to do well to support my family after my husband passed away.”

Adwoa in front of her shop.

“I keep three savings boxes like Self-Help taught our group: one is for loan repayments, one is for all the sales I make in a day, and one is for my wages. I pay myself on a daily basis after the day is over,” Adwoa said. “This practice ensures that I handle my money responsibly and smartly. I can also pay back my loans without any difficulty because I save my repayment money monthly.”

Since becoming a widow in 2015, Adwoa has refused to marry again and she shares an interesting insight as to why.

“The women from my community are always eager to remarry when their spouses pass away, even when the terms of the marriage are not favorable to them. It is because they are so financially dependent on the men that they think they can’t survive without a husband,” Adwoa explained.

“My husband left behind five kids, two of which are learning a vocation. The other three are in school. Look at me now – I don’t think I want to marry again because I can take care of them on my own. I make money every day, and I am very confident that if I keep working hard and planning well, everything will be fine without a husband,” Adwoa added.

Adwoa’s success shows just how valuable access to resources, financial capital, and information can be in providing for families and ensuring that rural women are able to live independently and sustainably.