Seflina's Groundbreaking Programs Recieve Fetzer Institute Support

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Funds to promote the power of love, forgiveness, and compassion in a Tanzanian business

Selfina announced today that it had been selected by the renowned Fetzer Institute in the United States, to receive support of its work to enable women in Tanzania to build a solid economic base for themselves and their families. In making the announcement, Selfina’s founder Dr Victoria Kisyombe said, “Over the past ten years, with Selfina’s help, two hundred thousand people now have better economic chances for long term stability. This $100,000 project with the Fetzer Institute will help us promote our message and goals in alignment with their mission.”

The Fetzer Institute, based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, uses its philanthropic resources to create programs that foster the transformative power love and forgiveness in the emerging global community. Fetzer seeks to foster an even greater awareness of love and forgiveness in action in individual and community life—in virtually every sector—including business.

Fetzer program officer Sharif Azami said, “We are excited to work with Selfina and learn from their innovative business practices that showcase love and forgiveness in action. Their outstanding work in Tanzania is a perfect showcase for how business enterprises can fashion strategies to help women in developing countries forgive and transcend hardship, while delivering significant returns. Dr Victoria Kisyombe, her staff, and Selfina clients continue to demonstrate how they come together daily and overcome challenges to make the world a better place.”

Since it was founded in 2002, Selfina has taken a lead role as a pioneer of micro-credit in Tanzania through micro-leasing, with particular attention to widows and young girls. With this focus it has economically empowered more than 25,000 women, impacting more than 200,000 through the benefits accrued. Women are now proud owners of their own businesses and more than 125,000 jobs have been created. These success stories have helped change attitudes in business, leading to maximizing opportunities and strengthening small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Some of the women have grown from managing subsistence-level micro-businesses to managing mainstream small and medium businesses.

Customs and traditions in Tanzania normally make it difficult for women to own land and assets. Because they lack tangible collateral assets, many women are therefore considered not creditworthy by the country’s financial institutions. This leads to inadequate financial support, hence, poor access to basic needs and services for women with low incomes. The groundbreaking work of Selfina has helped bring about positive change in this regard.

The Fetzer Institute pursues a unique role—working to investigate, activate, and celebrate the power of love and forgiveness as a practical force for good in today’s world. It is interested in how people experience and understand love and forgiveness from their diverse points of view, especially from the perspective of their daily work in the world.

Selfina will make further announcements in the following weeks about their new programs and projects made possible by this support from the Fetzer Institute, including a multi-nation conference it will host in Dar Es Salaam in 2013 for key stakeholders in the micro-lending and micro-leasing field. Those who wish further information should email: NH (at) NicollaHewitt (dot) com.

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