Photo Essay

Melina at Her Roadside Shop in Tanzania


This photo by Adam Dickens captures Melina at work in her kiosk in Iringa, Tanzania. She is one of thousands of women who participate in weekly group meetings, where members can make savings deposits, borrow money and receive training in core business skills. Five Talents partners in Tanzania with the Mama Bahati Foundation (MBF), a local organization that was registered as an NGO in February 2006.

One of the standout features of Five Talents' programs is the business skills training component.

To find out more about Five Talents' work in Tanzania, please click here.

Photograph courtesy of Adam Dickens

Photo Essay: Inside a Savings Group Meeting in Burundi

This week, a small group of Five Talents advocates and supporters are in Burundi to visit with some of the women and men who have joined savings groups and are receiving training in basic business skills, thanks to Five Talents' local partner in the country, Mothers' Union Burundi.

Here, photographer Ross Oscar Knight captures a few moments before, after and during a savings group meeting that he and others on the trip were able to observe.

Many of Five Talents and Mothers' Union's savings groups in Burundi hold their meetings in community churches like this one.

At every meeting, group members add to their savings. It is from this collective savings that group members may, in turn, access micro-business loans to support and expand their income-generating activities, such as buying salt in bulk and selling it to members of their community. The size of the microloans and the interest charged on the loans are agreed upon by the individual groups, which adopt a group "constitution."

One of the benefits of Five Talents' group savings model is that members have peers who can encourage them, advise them and support them both emotionally and spiritually. Every group member also receives training in core business skills, like accounting and marketing. Many of the women and men who are part of these groups, never had the opportunity for an education. Before joining the savings groups, these women and men are taught how to read and write as well as how to do math for small businesses. This training is coordinated by Five Talents' partner Mothers' Union.

For every savings group member served, up to seven people in their household benefit: financial management skills are passed on to children and spouses; living conditions improve when savings group members use their profits to install a new roof; parents are able to send their children to school.

Want to find out more about Five Talents' micro-savings, lending and training program in Burundi? Click here to learn about the difference you can make.

All photography by Ross Oscar Knight for Five Talents

The Secret Ingredient to Hidaya’s Successful Pastry Business


In this photo, Hidaya is preparing the legumes that she uses for her pastry business in Tanzania. She sells her pasties at a nearby school and to others in her community. Before joining a savings and loan group with Five Talents' partner, the Mama Bahati Foundation, Hidaya could not afford to buy the legumes in bulk. Now, with the help of a loan, she is able to buy her ingredients in bulk and, thus, save money and increase her profit margin.

Click here to read more about our work in Tanzania.