President Bill Clinton sees the impact of Plan’s work first-hand

Every day, people walk in and out of our lives, sometimes without notice. But when an international political figure swings by your community, it’s hard not to take note.

It was an exciting day when Bill Clinton, the former President of the United States, visited one of Plan’s microfinance programs in Tanzania – a day many won’t soon forget.

President Clinton visits with Zainabu, 22-year-old business owner and member of Plan’s Banking on Change program.

President Clinton visits with Zainabu, 22-year-old business owner and member of Plan’s Banking on Change program.

Seeing a powerhouse partnership at work

President Clinton witnessed the impact of Plan’s program, Banking on Change, which is a microfinance program operated by Plan, CARE International, and global bank, Barclays.

Banking for Change supports community-led microfinance programs to encourage men, women and youth to develop the economic skills needed through Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA). Through these groups, members pool their money and resources into a group savings, and take out loans to help create small businesses and support their families.

A village bank for the people
On his visit, President Clinton visited with members of a local Village Savings and Loans Association operated by Plan. Photo credit: Max Orenstein, Clinton Foundation

On his visit, President Clinton visited with members of a local Village Savings and Loans Association operated by Plan. Photo credit: Max Orenstein, Clinton Foundation

Clinton visited a VSLA group in the community of Vingunguti, Tanzania. He saw how members established their group, how they operate and how the VSLA members benefit from these small loans.

“I have been involved in programs like this for over 30 years, long before I became President,” Clinton explained. “I am very impressed by this one. This is the sort of thing that banking should be doing – it’s about real people, taking out real loans, to do real things.”

Making real dreams come true

During his visit, Clinton met with Zainabu, a 22-year-old running her own hair salon. Zainabu joined the VSLA so she could save money to rent space for her salon. Later, she was able to take out another loan from the group to buy her own equipment.

“I’d always dreamt that I would have my own salon and even own my own chain of two, three or four and employ other people to work in them,” said Zainabu. “Now I believe that could be possible.”

Like Zainabu, Banking on Change has helped people gain the knowledge needed to take their financial future in their own hands. To date, the program has helped:

  • 513,000 people access informal financial services to manage their money
  • Initiate 25,000 savings groups
  • And given 660 groups a safe place to keep their savings in group accounts through Barclays branches.

After their visit to this Plan project, the President and Chelsea Clinton continued their travels across Africa to visit projects operated through the Clinton Foundation.

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