This year the COVID-19 pandemic has forced NRECA International to temporarily suspend its popular volunteer program, but the team is pursuing other charitable initiatives that can continue to improve the lives of thousands in rural communities.
NRECA International is launching “Empowering Small Businesses to Strengthen Communities,” a fundraising initiative to help empower small businesses and strengthen communities it has supported over the years.
NRECA International helped establish the Totota Electric Cooperative (TEC) in Liberia, with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Cooperative Development Program, and donations and volunteer lineworkers from America’s electric cooperatives. Today this new electric cooperative has become self-sufficient in less than two years, serving as a model of sustainable power that could lead to more co-ops in the West African nation.
NRECA International is partnering with TEC and other communities to implement productive use of electricity programs, to help a new wave of entrepreneurs (especially women) who now have electricity access, so they have the means and knowledge to generate income using electricity.
“Electrifying a village is transformative, but it’s only the first step,” said Dan Waddle, NRECA International’s senior vice president. “It doesn’t bring in enough money for the co-op to really grow and reach sustainability. To do that, they’ve got to sell more power.”
Strengthening the Communities
NRECA International will work with a local financial institutions in communities and electric co-ops in Totota to create a revolving loan fund that members can tap into to expand small businesses.
“The idea is to grow people’s income through the productive use of electricity,” Waddle said.
NRECA International has helped create similar revolving loan programs at co-ops throughout the globe for the past 40 years.
Donations will help communities like Totota to help create new business opportunities and improve their quality of life.
These loans will help provide seed money and investments to small businesses in rural communities to purchase electric appliances and other electric-powered tools, learn how to maximize their use, and ultimately help them generate income and grow their businesses. These businesses can include clinics, refrigeration facilities, restaurants, repair shops, and more.Donate now
Meet a few business owners in Totota