Iringa Hope works in the Iringa district of Tanzania. Designated one of the poorest places on earth, the average annual family income in rural Iringa is $326 for a family of 6. Our members are largely female head of households farming 3-4 acres. Our mission is to help our members increase thier incomes in a long term, self-sustaining fashion. To do this we have developed a three prong approach – education and training in agriculture and management of their farms; access to financing through micro lending cooperatives; and access to seeds, fertilizers, and markets through farmers cooperatives.
Using this three pronged approach we have been able to increase our member's incomes from $300 to over $1,000 a year in a long term, self-sustaining fashion. At this level our members are earning well above the national average fro their country.
They are able to move into small brick houses with roofs that do not leak. They are able to send all of their children to school. They improve their nutrition and their health. Their death and serious illness rates fall. It is truly a life changing difference.
As an organization Iringa Hope is highly efficient. All of the costs of education, training, etc. are paid for by the interest our members pay on thier loans. All of the costs for administration, assistance and oversight is paid for by our board. As a result, 98%+ of all donations go directly to help our members in their villages. It costs only $500 to raise one of our families out of the extreme poverty they are stuck in.
Each year we visit our locations and interview some of our members to see how they have done. Here is one of their stories -
Geogiana Kigula is 58, a widow with 4 children and 8 grandchildren. She lives with three of her small grandchildren who have been orphaned and supports 3 nieces who have also been orphaned. She farms 5 acres of maize, beans, and soybeans. Prior to joining Iringa Hope she had never used fertilizer or hybrid seeds – they were just too expensive. After joining Iringa Hope and learning how to improve her fields she took our her first loan for $220, which she used to buy fertilizer for her fields. That year she earned $650 in profits.
When asked how this compared to the years before she could get a loan, she told us that in those years she earned nothing. She only harvested enough for her family to eat. Now, with her profits she could pay school fees and miscellaneous school expenses for the 3 nieces she supports who are in secondary school.
Georgiana is hoping for a larger loan this year but worries that there may be a shortage of capital. We told her that we are hoping to add more funds to Iringa Hope this year so there will be more to lend. She was happy to hear the news.
If you would like to read more about our members and their villages go to