KSAAF helps Jamaican ‘mother of five’ to face challenge and Microfinance

December 5, 2010
Rose Marie Gayle received a US$200 micro-loan that helped her expand her small business selling sweets, juice and phone cards outside a high school in Kingston.
Following a longtime customer’s suggestion, Rose Marie visited the Kingston and St. Andrew Action Forum – a civil society organization with offices in 72 communities in Jamaica’s capital city – to learn more about the loan initiative. In May 2009, she received the equivalent of US$232 (20,000 Jamaican dollars), which enabled her to buy more goods, and to sell new items customers had been asking for, such as cold beverages.
When her business boomed, she was able to repay her loan in two months – a month before the due date. 
Rose Marie, mother of five, and her husband run the business. “With the additional funds, I purchased other more expensive goods that I wasn’t selling before, such as soft drinks, for example. I even bought a cooler that now keeps sodas and juices ice-cold.  And I painted and refurbished the stall to make it more attractive,” she said, proudly.
It attracted more customers and now she is selling more sweets and cold refreshments than ever. “My community likes me; I have loyal customers that provide me with constant business. I’m very proud of my business and of how successful it has proven to be. I love my customers and I show them this by being enthusiastic and happy whenever anyone visits my stall.”
“I’m also very lucky because the current economic crisis has not affected my business,” she said.
Rose Marie Gayle’s story shows how access to microfinance can help sustain a small business even during harsh economic times – particularly in hard-hit countries like Jamaica.  From January 2008 to January 2009, remittance payments from Jamaicans living abroad fell 10 per cent, tourism fell by 5 per cent and exports plummeted by 13 per  cent.
“It is particularly in times of economic slowdown that the most vulnerable – businesses and people – need support,” said Machel Stewart, Poverty Reduction Programme Specialist at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Jamaica. “Studies show that microcredit is effective in times of crisis, either by helping keep small business running, avoiding job losses; or as an alternative for those who lost their jobs due to the recession: it’s a possibility to start a micro business – a chance to reinvent oneself.”
UNDP, which is playing a key coordinating role here, has mobilized $170 million for rapid deployment of assistance to those affected by the fallout. That has helped to strengthen small enterprises, create job opportunities and bolster social programs. UNDP is also providing technical assistance to help them.

Week Of Action 2009

December 5, 2010
The impact of the Guns Off The Street project was discussed at a meeting between UNDP Jamaica, the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery New York, and the Kingston and St Andrew Action Forum. The meeting was shown the 40-second Guns Off The Street advertisement which is being launched as part of the Global Week of Action.

Media activities included an interview on Hot 102 radio station’s Today programme. Host Beverly Manley talked to KSAAF President Godfrey Lothian, Jonathan Burke (Progra...

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BMS4 Meeting at the United Nations

December 3, 2010
Trench Town Peace & Justice Administrator and KSAAF member, Ms. Sonia Whyte along with Mr. Ansel Lee Chairman of Kingston & St. Andrew Action Forum (KSAAF) who were delegates at the BMS 4 meeting at the United Nations in New York earlier this year.
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