Innovations that expand opportunities for women to start a business can improve their access to resources and build their self-determination to succeed and take on new roles in the community – leading to greater economic security for them and their families. Yet for many women in Tanzania, accessing business finance in the form of credit or a loan is fraught with barriers. Minimal savings and restricted access to finance, refusal by husbands and family to support loans, and limited self-confidence all make it difficult, if not impossible, for women to turn their ideas into action.

By providing funding to businesses looking to solve community water and sanitation challenges, HDIF is supporting women entrepreneurs like Ruth Elineema through funding which helps them take their innovative ideas to market. As co-founder of Gongali Model, Ruth works alongside her husband Dr Askwar Hilonga, designer and promoter of the award-winning Nanofi lter, to bring a sustainable drinking water supply to communities across the Arusha region of Northern Tanzania. As well as selling the low-cost filter systems to individual households, the company also leases them to third parties who in turn sell purifi ed drinking water to their communities.

So far, Gongali Model has established 30 Nanofi lter stations, with HDIF providing funding for an additional one hundred. All the entrepreneurs running the stations are women, often from poor backgrounds with little or no education. Gongali Model is providing them business skills and training as well as access to safe and clean water for them and their children.

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