SDL Foundation Extends Partnership with MicroLoan Foundation into Zimbabwe

Partnership to tackle poverty in region by helping female entrepreneurs start their own business

Maidenhead, UK


WAKEFIELD, MA and MAIDENHEAD, UK – November 2, 2016SDL (LSE: SDL) today announced that, as part of its continued work with the MicroLoan Foundation (MLF) over the past eight years, it is partnering with MLF to help the charity establish a presence in Zimbabwe.

MLF currently provides small loans to women in rural Malawi and Zambia, enabling approximately 50,000 female entrepreneurs every year to set up their own self-sustainable businesses and work themselves and their families out of poverty. Support for charities like MLF is central to the SDL Foundation’s mission of supporting structural and sustainable projects that are income generating, helping people to help themselves. SDL grants have effectively enabled MLF to help a significant number of these women set up businesses and provide for their families. MLF‘s model has experienced a successful repayment rate of about 98 percent.

“At MLF, we provide small amounts of investment for groups of women who otherwise have little chance of employment, entrepreneurship or simply being self-sufficient and taking care of their families,” said Peter Ryan, Founder and CEO, MicroLoan Foundation. “The grant from SDL allows us to extend our work into Zimbabwe, a country with great needs and immense potential. As our work in Malawi and Zambia demonstrates, relatively small sums of money generate large returns for the women we work with. With SDL Foundation’s contributions, we look forward to transforming the lives of Zimbabwean women.”

In addition, a number of SDL employees have provided creative support to the design of MLF’s marketing materials and will provide their technical expertise in web engineering for MLF’s new website. Earlier SDL Foundation funding also enabled MLF to introduce a sophisticated management information system (MIS) and accounting system to improve operational efficiency, reporting and assessment.

 “We are immensely proud to be working with the MicroLoan Foundation to help fund the establishment of MLF in Zimbabwe,” said Alastair Gordon, Chairman of the SDL Foundation. “Enabling people who want to help themselves and who have the determination to generate income and be released from a reliance on aid goes to the heart of the SDL Foundation’s mission. The fact that these small businesses consistently repay the loans and also create further employment in their communities gives the SDL Foundation Trustees great confidence in this exciting new initiative in Zimbabwe.”

Other projects undertaken by the SDL Foundation include a ten-year partnership with Food for the Hungry, where the Foundation is helping the charity to turnaround the impoverished community of Maisa Bora, Kenya. In Paraguay, the Foundation is working closely with the Santa Maria Education Fund, and recently financed a full-time employee to help manage a network of volunteer teachers. The aim of the partnership is to help students significantly improve their lives and those of their wider families.
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