LCEP’s Economic Empowerment Work

LCEP’s Economic Empowerment activities are composed of two major types of activities, those related to Savings and Investment, and those related to Micro-enterprise Capacity Development. Savings and Investment activities include Self-Help Groups, Governing Bodies, Community Banks and Entrepreneur Clubs. Micro-enterprise Capacity Development activities consist of training and other direct support for micro-entrepreneurs.

To read a more detailed description of LCEP’s Savings and Investment activities, click here.

To read a more detailed description of LCEP’s Micro-Enterprise Capacity Development activities, click here.

To see an Economic Empowerment Component Overview Table, click here.

Specifically, LCEP economic empowerment activities include:

  1. Self-Help Groups, organized around members’ interest in key thematic areas and designed to encourage group savings (up to twenty such groups, with a maximum 20 members per group, might exist in any given community);
  2. Community Banks, created on the basis of Self-Help Group savings contributions that are pooled into a common fund, then disbursed in the form of interest-free (a service fee is levied on all loans) group guaranteed loans;
  3. Governing Bodies, composed of one member from each Self-Help Group in the village to develop the bylaws and oversee the management of the Community Bank;
  4. Micro-enterprise support, which:
    • facilitates the formation of micro-entrepreneurs’ solidarity groups (clubs) that allow entrepreneurs from common sectors to openly address business issues; 
    • provides basic micro-enterprise training in the areas of market analysis, business plan development, small business and finance management, targeted development of income generation opportunities, and market development;
    • provides skills development in the form of a “Production Workshop” where skills in highly sustainable areas of livelihood generation are taught in short modular format for rapid introduction to the marketplace for further on-the-job training;
    • helps develop markets and micro businesses.

Self-Help Groups, Governing Bodies, Community Banks and Entrepreneur Clubs began as a pilot in the district of Baghram in the province of Parwan with Cohort I in April 2005. Based upon the approach and experiences of Cohort I, activities were replicated in October 2005 in the Cohort II District of Jabal Saraj, Parwan and the Cohort I Districts of Sayghan, Bamyan and Zinda Jan, Hirat.

Meanwhile, micro-enterprise capacity development opportunities are designed to be delivered ‘a la carte’ and are intended to educate or build the capacity of budding entrepreneurs. While a community or an individual will benefit by receiving any one training, the more training they receive the more business savvy they will become. Micro-enterprise training activities were begun in October 2005 and are available in all districts.