One of the world's newest countries, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after decades of war. Post-independence conflict has slowed or arrested economic development in many parts of the country, leaving infrastructure for basic needs and services limited or unavailable. Five Talents focuses its programmes on remote, low-income areas where residents lack access to formal financial services of any kind. We work to build local capacity, providing training and access to financial services through community-owned and managed savings groups.
Five Talents has been working successfully in South Sudan and Sudan since 2007 and is one of the few organizations to develop a sustainable model for microfinance. In fact, Five Talents programmes have a broader reach and impact in South Sudan than the microfinance institutions supported by the United Nations, World Bank, European Commission, USAID, Central Bank, and Government of South Sudan combined. In less than ten years we have opened the first three community-owned banks in South Sudan, enrolled more than 30,000 members in community savings groups, and worked in seven Anglican Dioceses and six states including: Western Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap State, Malakal, Renk, Juba and Khartoum.
Our projects begin by gathering women and men together through the ministry of local churches and teaching them how to read and write. In an area with the highest illiteracy rates in the world, our literacy and financial education programme has accredited more than 16,000 graduates. Many of these graduates have moved on to become respected leaders in their communities.
Following literacy and financial training, Five Talents helps to establish community savings groups. These groups provide a safe place for members to save their money and offer access to loans for business development. Members use these loans to begin and expand small businesses. A typical small business supports a family of 5 or more, providing income for food, medical expenses, school fees for children, and continued savings. As the businesses and savings pool grow, members are eligible for progressively larger loans. Eventually an association of savings groups can come together to form a local community bank. To date, Five Talents has helped to establish three community banks in South Sudan - the only three locally owned community banks in the country.
The programme is managed by the Coordinator Ann Figge in partnership with Five Talents USA office. Read more about South Sudan by visiting their website.