Seed Effect is a Christ-centered, nonprofit microfinance organization. Our mission is to plant the seeds that overcome poverty by providing access to microloans, education, and spiritual discipleship in marginalized communities around the world. In action, Seed Effect serves as a holistic tool to live out the Great Commission alongside the Great Commandment as we empower the poor to know and follow Christ, plug into the local church, and overcome physical poverty.
Seed Effect is a modest force that generates a significant effect. You invest with us and together we can plant the seeds that overcome poverty.
Seed Effect Manifesto
We issue a seed loan to a struggling entrepreneur. They invest in their business. Along the way, we promote community, accountability, education, stewardship, and Truth. Now they can provide food, clean water, school fees, and healthcare for their family. With the interest earned, we can issue another seed loan to another entrepreneur. In essence, the effect continues. The effect multiplies. It’s that simple. It’s the Seed Effect.
Seed Effect is an agent of change. It starts with a life. It impacts a family. It transforms a community.
Through our innovative programs, and the unique relationship fostered with the local church, Seed Effect is an agent of change and a tool that combines economic empowerment with education and Christian discipleship resulting in visible transformation. Read more about how our program works to combine each of these elements into an effective empowerment tool. And, be sure to check out the ways to get involved!
What is Microfinance?
“It’s a hand-up, not a hand-out.”
Microfinance is a tool that promotes economic development without creating dependency through the issuance of small loans to impoverished individuals. It’s a hand-up, not a hand-out. This tool enables the poor to break the cycle of physical poverty by providing collateral-free microloans and other financial services to support income-generating businesses and therefore empowers individuals to better provide for their family. With the repayment of each loan, the funds are then reissued as new loans, thereby having a multiplying, ripple effect within the community.
In an effort to effectively achieve our mission, Seed Effect employs a time-tested format of group lending microfinance methodology*, consisting of the following elements:
• Small loans (Average $150)
• Small groups (10-20 members that cross-guarantee each other’s loans)
• Short terms (4-9 months depending on the loan cycle)
• Frequent payments (Collected at weekly group meetings)
Incentive for potential, future larger loans (To further promote repayment of a collateral-free loan)
*Source: A Billion Bootstraps, Phil Smith and Eric Thurman
Education & Discipleship
“…economic empowerment with access to vital education as well as life changing spiritual discipleship.”
Microfinance’s group lending structure serves as an effective platform for offering Microcredit Plus services, or non-financial services to the borrower. Within the industry, offering the Microcredit Plus service of education alongside microfinance services is known as “Credit with Education”. As poverty is not solely attributable to a lack of financial resources, but is often compounded by other factors including a lack of education, Seed Effect, as a “Credit with Education” initiative, combines economic empowerment with access to vital education as well as life changing spiritual discipleship.
Here’s how it works:
Seed Effect utilizes the structure of the weekly group meetings as a time to promote accountability, community, and discipleship. In addition to collecting loan repayments, group members meet with a Seed Effect Loan Officer in order to share prayer requests (should they choose to do so), discuss business issues, and provide general support for one another. Seed Effect also uses the relationships built through this model to promote the creation of (optional) self-led, self-multiplying I Am Second-style Christian discipleship groups. These groups are supported by the local church and overseen by our Spiritual Integration Supervisor.
Additionally, we offer a customized curriculum that can be tailored to the specific needs of each group and taught in monthly seminars through our Seed Loan Program. The feedback from our borrowers has been phenomenal as many of them never received much of a formal education. The topics covered include:
• Business Management and Entrepreneurship Training
• Health and HIV / AIDS Education
• Well Sanitation Training
• Bible Study and Discipleship
Working with the Church
“…we also leverage the church’s presence in the community and work with the church..”
In order to establish a Seed Effect site, we partner with and empower the local church. In doing so we also leverage the church’s presence in the community and work with the church to:
• RESEARCH community needs and DEVELOP a customized and relevant implementation strategy.
• HIRE and TRAIN a local staff including Directors, Loan Officers, Educators and Spiritual Integration Supervisors (SIS).
• FACILITATE overall growth of the church’s discipleship ministry and PARTNER with the church to implement this ministry via our Spiritual Integration Supervisor.
• ENABLE the church to be the hands and feet of Christ to empower the poor.
“…the Vocational School enables us to reach a segment of the population that would otherwise go unreached with our Seed Loan Program alone.”
In an effort to make a deeper impact on poverty, Seed Effect also provides access to vocational training through our separately funded Seed Effect Vocational School. An essential tool for those individuals that never received access to education or those who are lacking a skill, the Vocational School enables us to reach a segment of the population that would otherwise go unreached with our Seed Loan Program alone. Graduates from the school receive an initial loan for an asset purchase to begin their business and once repaid, are eligible to apply for a microloan and enter our Seed Loan Program.
The following courses are offered in the Seed Effect Vocational School:
• Business Management
• Health Education and HIV/AIDS
• Bible Study and Discipleship
Where does Seed Effect work?
With overwhelming poverty around the world, it estimated that only 4% of the worldwide demand for microloans is currently being met and less than 2% of active loan clients are being served by Christian microfinance organizations. In an effort to meet this demand, Seed Effect has sought to establish a scalable and sustainable program that can be implemented efficiently and effectively.
Seed Effect in Sudan
“Seed Effect, is on the front lines in this community combating physical and spiritual poverty and promoting economic development”
Sudan’s civil war was one of the longest and bloodiest conflicts of the 20th century. It resulted in over 2 million deaths and over 4 million displaced, leaving the country devastated. In 2006, the UN declared Sudan to be one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world and estimated that 90% of the population in the South was living in extreme poverty. With such rampant poverty and very little development, it is estimated that less than 1% of the potential market demand for microfinance services is currently being met by existing microfinance organizations in South Sudan.
In November 2009, Seed Effect launched our first microfinance site in Kajo Keji, South Sudan and in February 2012, we launched our first branch in Nimule, South Sudan. Since launching in 2009, Seed Effect has grown to serve these 2 communities with over $280,000 loaned to almost 800 clients, impacting thousands of children, and seeing lives, families, and communities transformed.
For more information, please visit: http://www.seedeffect.org