Sierra Leone - Rural Finance and Community Improvement Programme (RFCIP) - June 2022
Julius Pessima (and Lucy) - The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) established the Rural Finance and Community Improvement Programme (RFCIP) in 2008 to help ensure that rural communities have access to the financial services they need. The programme now boasts of 76 Rural Financial Institutions (RFIs) located in rural towns and villages across the country.
Julius is 49 years old and a farmer in Taiama village, in the Moyamba district of Sierra Leone’s Southern Province. His wife used her teaching salary as collateral to help him access a SLE 4,000 loan (USD 280) from the Taiama Community Bank to invest in his honey production business.
When he finished paying back the loan, the bank approved a new loan request of SLE 15,000 that Julius invested in a cocoa and oil palm plantation. While the saplings are growing to production maturity, he is paying the loan back using profits earned through his honey business. With the same loan, he built a six-room guesthouse. Already, with the money he has earned from renting rooms, he is building four additional guest rooms.
“Degrees sometimes limit people’s ability to make money because they look for specific jobs that can be very difficult to find. I used brain and hands to borrow money from the Taiama Community Bank and now I am making a lot of money from my agriculture and guesthouse businesses. When my cocoa and oil palm trees start producing in a few years, my livelihoods will dramatically change. I see an economically vibrant future.”
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