What We Do

MicroFinancing the MPA Way

MPA partners with grassroots organizations to help them expand their microfinancing efforts.  Although our partners have different approaches to offering people a hand up, they have many elements in common.  We have come to see these shared elements as best practices, or “Microfinancing the MPA Way.”  They are: 

  • Lifting up people in extreme poverty 
  • Operating as a nonprofit (proceeds are folded in to reach more people) 
  • Embracing “first you must save”, valuing savings as well as small loans 
  • Open to anyone regardless of religion, race, tribe, ethnicity 
  • Providing ongoing training and support to ensure success 
  • Having accountability for loan repayments or pay-it-forward commitments 
  • Each of these projects is sustainable with or without MPA’s involvement 

Our Programs


MPA supports individual income projects, group projects, savings and credit unions.


Living loans of cows to subsistence farmers who have successfully trained and prepared their farms.


Small loans or pay-it-forward commitments offer access to a filter-plus-bucket system. As loans are repaid, funding is available to expand access to clean water.


MPA supports access to financial services and education, and encourages partners with schools to include microfinancing in their curriculums through a unique and developing scholarship program.


For post-fistula women we have piglet income projects and alternative income projects, and for pregnant women, we have ultrasound services for improved antenatal care as well as village health center income projects for sustainability.

Loan Program

Jamii Bora (Kenya)

Members must begin by saving and may borrow two times the amount they have saved. Small groups of 3-5 vouch for each other, guaranteeing each other’s loans.

Loans are for income projects, and have terms of 10% APR to be repaid over 50 weeks. Typical first loan is $15 USD. Most loans are repaid much more quickly.

The Members support each other in successful growth of their businesses. The group offers health insurance, life insurance, and other support programs to aid success. Proceeds fund more loans.

BUWEA (Tanzania)

Women join with a small fee and train and support in small groups. Borrow for income projects

12% interest, loans repaid in 4 months

Support: monthly meetings to train on business skills and general support, savings in SACCO is encouraged, work available at the soy farm.

Impact: 70% of first time borrowers upon 12 months after retiring their first loan report an increase in daily income from less than $1/day to $1-2/day.

CPS Partners (Kenya, Tanzania (and Zanzibar), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe)

Small self help groups of CPS employees, teachers, cooks, drivers, groundskeepers, and neighbors are formed. They agree on a constitution, rules for savings and borrowing, and elect leaders. Each member contributes savings to the group. When enough has been collected, loans are given. Upon repayment with interest, the group’s savings grows, and more and bigger loans are given. Each member can grow his or her own income project.

Support: Groups agree on a group collaborative project to do together.

Impact: CPS mentors report that their employees are no longer asking for emergency help—this is something they are solving within their groups.

More Partners

St. Joseph Matale Women’s Umbrella
Group (Uganda)

Marian Brothers Refugee Loan Project (Uganda)

Sacred Heart Partners Refugee Loan Project (Uganda)

Under the Same Tree (Uganda and Kenya)




Cow Program

Masaka Cow Project (Uganda)

Neighboring farmers invest in themselves by training together and helping each other prepare their farms for a zero-grazing cow.

Each qualified family receives a pregnant cow, which gives birth and produces 18-24 liters of milk each day – enough for the family’s needs and extra to sell. This income is used to improve their diets, send children to school, and make improvements to their home and farm.

After 12 months, the first female calf is passed on to the next qualified family, making this project 100% sustainable. Cow Project farmers can obtain biofuel systems. With the pass-on of cows, the farmers become leaders and donors in their communities.

Impact: 57% of farmers report they have over $50 USD in savings even after paying for expenses, improvements to their farms and homes, and school fees.

Mityana Cow Project (Uganda)

In 2019 MPA celebrated as the Cow Project officially expanded into a new area of Uganda for MPA, Mityana.  In February, leaders of the Mityana Cow Project traveled to Masaka and received training from the Masaka Cow Project team.  They met with farming families and learned directly farmer-to-farmer from their experience and success.  In October, the MPA travel team participated in the first cow ceremony and helped hand over 20 cows to the first group of trained and qualified farmers in Mityana.  Through a collaboration with Gotta Have Hope, a Kansas City-based nonprofit organization, an additional ten farmers received cows in 2019.

Another 70 farmers have qualified and received cows in 2020.



Safe Woman Program

Piglet Project for Post-Fistula Women (Uganda)

Post-fistula women receive training in raising and selling pigs, recruiting two neighbors to help them build a zero grazing shed.

Each post-fistula woman receives a high-quality piglet, six months of feed, and vaccinations. As litters are produced, she can sell piglets at market as an income project.

Out of the first litter, she passes on a female piglet to each of her helpers. They in turn pay forward one female piglet out of their first litters back to the project.

Safe Birth Ultrasound Project (Uganda)

Our Safe Birth Project addresses the high obstetric fistula rate and high rate of maternal-fetal mortality in the Masaka area of Uganda. We partnered with Mindray North America and, as of year-end 2019, delivered 16 portable ultrasound machines to village health centers (VHCs) and trained over 35 midwives in basic obstetric ultrasound to detect high risk conditions mandating delivery at a VHC or local hospital with an obstetrician.

Village Health Center Income Project (Uganda)

We also sent a midwife to train as a sonographer and she now provides remedial training at all VHCs in the project. Because obstetric fistula occurs at the time of labor, our midwives as part of their training, use the partograph, a graphic representation of labor developed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Nonetheless, because poverty hinders mothers from attending antenatal clinic and delivering at the VHCs, we introduced microfinancing to the VHCs in March 2018 which in turn helped the mothers begin microfinancing projects to help pay for their health care services. Nearly all VHCs are developing their microfinancing projects.

Safe Woman Alternate Project (Uganda)

Some post-fistula women either don’t want a pig or aren’t in a place that can accommodate a piggery.  This Safe Woman Alternative Project supports and engages these women to join existing microfinancing self-help groups located throughout Masaka, Uganda.  In the groups, the post-fistula women are welcomed as full members of the circle, collaborating on savings, group projects, and individual loans for income projects.



Clean Water Program

Water Pay-it-Forward Commitments (Tanzania)

Unclean water is the greatest common threat to life, health, education, and economic advancement among the people we strive to help. Getting clean water is a daily challenge shared by over 313 million people in sub-Saharan Africa.

International health organizations report that 115 people in Africa die every hour due to water-borne diseases. Many of these are children who die before the age of five. Unclean water carries pathogens and contaminants that cause illnesses like hepatitis, cholera, dysentery and typhoid.

MPA became aware of a filter which effectively eliminates 99.99999% of all the bacteria in unclean water that causes death and illnesses. With proper care, the filter can last a lifetime. A simple back-flushing of the filter enables it to be used over and over again.

Water for Schools (Zanzibar)

Each African Partner has a designated person who receives the applications and manages the orders for its members.
Both individuals and groups can get loans for a filter.  No longer having to pay for medical bills due to water borne diseases, families can save up and pay back the loan, making money available for another family or group to get a loan for a filter.

Water Group Projects (Tanzania)

Bujugo is among the villages near Bukoba, Tanzania where MPA’s group projects operate.  Members in this village currently have seven water filters that are providing many families clean water every day. The members have worked out a timetable so that one bucket for each of the water filters serves 7 families! The women in each of these families come to one of the places where a filter is set up to make clean water at their set time.

Each African Partner has a designated person who receives the applications and manages the orders for its members.
Both individuals and groups can get loans for a filter.  No longer having to pay for medical bills due to water borne diseases, families can save up and pay back the loan, making money available for another family or group to get a loan for a filter.



Education Program

Grants for Sustainable Education

In Tanzania during 2018, BUWEA women involved saw their efforts to create a daycare succeed. The parents, guardians, and the daycare provide the children with all their basic needs, including nutritious food, games and sports activities, and access to outreach services provided by health workers and others. Every year 10-15 of these preschool students are enrolled in standard level 1 Government School or Private School.  The dream is to be able to accept more preschoolers so that their parents can work, knowing their children are nourished and safe.


Students whose families are struggling in extreme poverty, or who are orphans, are provided access to quality education. Some students may even be religious sisters whose families would normally be expected to fund their education, but may come from extreme poverty.

MPA works with our partners who are also engaged in education to extend scholarships to these students in need. The partners commit to including microfinancing within the curriculum, to giving students age-appropriate opportunities to “pay it forward,” and to appointing a mentor to each scholarship student. Donors can contribute to the MPA scholarship fund, and these contributions will be pooled together to make the grants available.

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