Solidarity group of microfinance borrowers

Viviane Marius

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Preventing Stumbles with Health Services

Center chief with her ID card to receive Health services thru FonkozeViviane Marius cannot imagine Fonkoze without the health services offered in her local Lenbe branch. While the health pilot is a recent development in her seven years with Fonkoze, it has greatly improved the experience of Viviane and her fellow members.

“It’s a necessary tool so that the women don’t stumble,” Viviane said.

As a center chief responsible for overseeing more than twenty other women, Viviane understands how precarious a Fonkoze ti machann’s position can be. With health services to protect Viviane and her fellow clients from preventable sickness and to serve them when illness strikes, they receive a safety net that, for Viviane, is invaluable.

She recently visited her local hospital to be treated for an infection—normally, a costly endeavor. Because she takes part in Fonkoze’s health pilot, however, her treatment and medicine were paid for by Fonkoze.  “Before, I could not just go to a hospital and receive care,” she said.

Viviane first joined Fonkoze to augment her existing small commerce selling cosmetics, soap, and detergent with additional funds. As a Fonkoze member, her business has grown, allowing her to pay for her six-year old niece’s school and serve her family a hot meal every day. Thanks to the small monthly fee she now pays for access to Fonkoze’s health coverage, she does not have to worry about the threat of expensive health costs and can focus on maintaining her business and taking care of her niece.

Viviane also took part in the health training offered to Fonkoze center chiefs in Lenbe to allow them to provide instruction to their fellow members. “It really helped me,” she said. Now, she can screen her center members for malnutrition and dispense helpful advice, such as reminding them not to let rain pool in front of their homes during the rainy season in order to avoid malaria. Viviane is proud to be able to offer health education and basic screening to her peers.

Viviane’s experience demonstrates the importance of both preventative and curative healthcare in supporting Fonkoze members on their journey on the Stairway out of Poverty. By incorporating both education and health services, Fonkoze provides a holistic approach to ensure that members like Viviane have the best possible chance to continue progressing out of poverty.

“I love the health program,” Viviane said. “I strongly recommend it to other Fonkoze members.”

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