Promoting Self Reliance Through Credit

Presidential Trust Fund for Self-Reliance (PTF) supported microfinance program in Tanzania, was established at the initiative of the Government of Tanzania in 1984. It was incorporated as a trust fund in 1988, with a mission to create employment and increase income of disadvantaged people, women and youth, who constituted majority of the active population of the country. The main program activities of PTF are provision of credit, savings mobilization and business skills training for sustainable development of poor communities. PTF has received both the start up and scaling up support from Grameen Trust.

Although PTF has a mandate to operate throughout Tanzania, it is currently operating in three regions, including Dar Es Salaam, the Coast and Morogoro. The credit program of PTF uses Grameen solidarity lending approach to target economically active poor in rural and semi urban areas. The program operates through five branches and provides loans for service, trading, small-scale industries, livestock and horticulture. PTF members began diversifying their activities once they received second or subsequent loans.

PTF has witnessed a slow, but very steady growth, with excellence performance. The total outreach as of April 2002 was 13,302 members, of whom 94% are women. The total amount disbursed by the project is US$ 5,615,126. The amount saved in their group fund is US$ 553, 250. PTF’s repayment rate has been consistenly 98% and the portfolio at risk rate is just 0.5%. According to Joyce Hamisi, Executive Director of PTF, the main reasons for such high repayment rate are community participation in program activities, training, discipline among clients and PTF credit officers, and a transparent and simple credit system.

PTF also focuses strongly on client training. Like other Grameen type programs, PTF provides compulsory seven-day pre loan training to clients. However, they also offer business management skills training and entrepreneurial skills training, which have contributed to building awareness and improving business skills among members.

Increasingly, group and center leaders who are members of PTF, are also handling some of the duties of the loan program, such as cash handling and posting of weekly forms. This has enabled the staff of PTF to efficiently handle at least 300 clients each. PTF also encourages clients to do evaluation seminars at the end of each loan cycle to review their performance. Members also organize exchange visits between centers to
learn from each other and promote business opportunities among themselves.


Fatuma Abdallah, 32, lives in Mdaula village in ward Bagamoyo, Coastal Region, Tanzania. She is the mother of two children. Her daily work includes taking care of her children, cleaning the house, gardening and preparing food for her husband. She used to earn a living through petty trade, obtaining rice from wholesellers on credit, and paying them back once she had sold her stock. Early in 2001, she learned about PTF activities and joined the program. She and her group attended the seven day pre-loan training and received the first loan of Tanzanian Shillings 50,000 (US$51). With her loan from PTF, Fatuma can now buy rice from the market with cash.

The same wholesellers who avoided giving her rice on credit, now compete with each other to sell her rice. When she joined PTF, Fatuma was shy, barely able to speak in front of her group members. Last year, she was elected as assistant chairperson of Mdaula A Center. She received the PTF training for center leaders and the transformation began. Today, her success in business has given her the confidence to stand in front of her fellow members and interact with them freely.

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