02 October 2008

IDH - just pics so far

2 October 2008

Yesterday I went out with a bunch of IDH employees to do a sensibilisations on the tontine service available. A tontine basically functions as a way for people to learn how to save. The fees and setup would seem bizarre to most Americans, as we tend to think banks should pay us for saving money with them rather than the other way around. (Based on the current ridiculousness that I’m hearing from the BBC, banks in the states pay us so that we don't look too hard at the shady things they’re doing with our money).
A tontine works like this:
1. A marché mama buys a booklet for 500CFA. The booklet has 12 pages with 31 days on each page.
2. The bank representative writes down where the mama sets up her stall
3. She decides how much money she’s going to save every day (let’s say 100CFA).
4. A bank rep stops by the stand every day to pick up the amount, writes it in the mama’s booklet. The mama can choose to put in a week’s worth at a time or pay in each day.
5. At the end of each month, the mama has set aside 100CFA times 31 days (31 days in every month, even if the month has only 30 days).
6. The bank takes one day’s amount in fees – to pay the collectors to go around the village everyday. (so that’s 100CFA per month)
7. If the mama succeeds in saving every day for three months, she becomes eligible to get a loan. This doesn’t happen very often because most marché mamas have rather unstable incomes – based on how many people are hungry for fufu that day, you know?

The sensibilisation was bizarre and interesting. Four carloads of IDH people showed up in the village; complete with megaphones that play a midi-file type version of “My Heart Will Go On”. They shouted and honked through the village and routinely piled out of the cars like a group of clowns, heading to chat with individual fufu sellers.
I had a good time just chatting with the kids who inevitably pop out of windows and doorways whenever they see me. I didn’t personally do any selling of tontine subscriptions, but I’m sure my presence not only as a white person but also as someone the villagers recognized, helped the promotion significantly.

1 comment:

Henriksdal said...

Oh this is really interesting - I love seeing how day-to-day things are conducted in other parts of the world. Thanks again for taking the time to write this blog!