South Sudan: How Financial Literacy, Savings Groups and Business Training Are Empowering Women

In February 2013, Five Talents Executive Director Sonia Patterson returned from South Sudan and Burundi with a hard-drive full of video footage and interviews featuring women and men in our microfinance programs. We’re delighted to share some of these interviews with you in a condensed, three-minute video focused on micro-entrepreneurs who work in a small community outside of Juba, South Sudan.

You’ll meet women who grow cassava leaves, brew tea and coffee and sell daily staples at a market stand. And you’ll hear how foundational literacy and numeracy training through our partner Mothers’ Union enables the micro-entrepreneurs to make better decisions about their businesses and their families going forward.

“Before, we didn’t know anything,” Rose, a savings group member who lives near Juba, told Sonia. “But now in my business I can add and I can count and I can even make change.”

Five Talents believes that women and men running survival businesses need more than a micro-loan. That’s why we work with our partners in South Sudan first to ensure these individuals have basic literacy and numeracy skills. We build on this education by organizing savings groups and providing basic business training in areas like marketing and accounting. Over time, savings group members begin taking out small loans.

Together, these literacy, training and financial services ensure that micro-entrepreneurs have a much better chance of developing a sustainable business that can provide for their family and keep their kids in school.

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