There are many households in Hanyuan that live at a basic subsistence level, lacking the necessary capital to invest in diversifying their household activities, such as into agricultural sidelines, cash crops, or small household enterprises. A micro-credit or rural credit scheme provides rural people with the opportunity to help themselves and their families. DOR’ scheme is directed at women. Schemes in other countries have shown women to be low-risk loanees and often the managers of household economies.
Basically, our Women's Micro Credit Scheme involves making fairly small loans to women that are repaid over a year. The women are of course free to decide whether or not to take a loan from DORS and they also choose themselves what they would like to use the loan for. We think this is the best way for them to be successful - they tend to choose something they know will be successful and something they have experience of.
We also encourage the woman to assist and participate in the actual design of the scheme so that it's most appropriate to their needs.
DORS has been implementing rural credit and micro-credit projects in Hanyuan County since July 1997, when we loaned to the women of Sugu Village - follow the link to read a detailed description of how this first scheme was carried out. The scheme has since continued to grow, loaning to several villages over several years. Women use one-year loans of up to 3000 RMB (£225) for small-scale income generating projects of their own choice. Loans have been used primarily for the expansion of animal husbandry. Repayments are made either monthly or six-monthly.
We have also implemented other loans as part of the integrated projects, such as for butter bean expansion.