The Alola Foundation was awarded the US Ambassador’s Timor-Leste Small Grants on early October 2018. The award contract was given for eight months, from 01st October 2018 to 30 June 2019. This grant’s purpose is to support 60 female entrepreneurs and 300 indirect beneficiaries in Manufahi municipality to develop existing businesses, plan and set up new businesses and explore possible business opportunities. This Grant was well executed and has benefits for female entrepreneurs in Manumera and Kaimauk villages through training and workshops to improve the skills and knowledge of female entrepreneurs in Turiskai. Experience gained by female entrepreneurs includes business skills, plans, set up new businesses including savings and loan schemes and small-scale agriculture. According to project staff observations, shows that there were a number of women who participate in this project had improved skills and knowledge in business.
Currently, the group member have skilled to manage their business for example small store/Kios. In addition, number of women have skill on vegetable growing and selling through local market and earning income to support family and some for savings. The selling results obtained by local female entrepreneurs on average between USD 10.00-15.00 per day. This income is quite enough for those people who live in rural areas to meet the needs of families. In addition, between 50 female participants have accessed to credit service especially incentive grant USD 500.00 which provision by the US Ambassador Grant through Alola Foundation. Currently group members started their businesses as family role model in each household and group income increased by end of project. Based on data collection from project staff monitoring show that savings and loan business income from the two groups by the end of the project has increased from USD 500.00 and now over USD 900.00 per group approximately 90% increase for three-month period April – June 2019 after business skills training.
In addition, this project also assists a number of female entrepreneurs access to Moris Rasik and Kaebauk MFIs in Maubise to get loans service to increase female business capital funds. These two MFIs provides loans services with low interest between 10% for period of six months. This project has obtained significant impact for female entrepreneurs in rural areas to improve their lives better in the household level. Income gained from business to educate children to school, food, houses, clothing and health. This project seems small but significant contribution to poverty reduction and women economic empowerment in Timor – Leste.