Sager Family

RWANDA MICROENTERPRISE

Sager Ganza Microfinance is a Rwanda-based microenterprise initiative founded by Sager Family Foundation and Traveling Roadshow in 2005.

Sager Ganza functions as a microfinance institution, providing financial services to the poorest of the poor through a network of branches. The branches provide loans to groups of Rwandan women so they can start and expand microenterprises: for example, opening small retail kiosks, raising livestock, growing cash crops and selling handicrafts. These loans help the women create jobs for themselves. This additional income that the women manage through their businesses lifts them out of poverty and gives them greater control over their lives. In addition to the support of Sager Family Foundation, Netherlands-based Terrafina Microfinance has provided extensive financial and technical support to Sager Ganza.

In addition to its mission of economic empowerment for Rwandan women, in its early years, Sager Ganza had a second complementary objective: using microcredit as a platform for promoting reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda. Many of the women who received loans had husbands who were murdered during the Rwandan genocide, and many had husbands in prison for doing the murdering. Sager Ganza brought these two groups of women together into borrowing circles. In the process of pursuing a payroll and their dreams, together these women started to understand one another as people, without the filters, and this was our way of helping the reconciliation process. Our approach was not to help the reconciliation by saying let’s come together at the community center and talk about our differences and why we hate each other. We said, “Come to a meeting. We want to talk to you about starting businesses together, and eventually, who knows, maybe you guys will talk about your lives, hopes and dreams and understand each other not as Hutus and Tutsis, but as human beings.”

Over time, the mission of Sager Ganza has evolved as Rwanda itself has evolved. Rwandans no longer think of themselves as Hutus and Tutsis. They think of themselves just as Rwandans. Sager Ganza has changed its mission in step with this change, and it now is focused entirely on helping Rwandan women, especially the poorest of the poor, to generate income through microenterprises so they can lift themselves out of poverty and get more control over their own lives.