25 February 2020

How do Open Doors microloans work?

Microloans are bringing new hope to many persecuted Christians - including widows in northern Nigeria. Here's how they work in practice.

The gifts you give help persecuted Christians in many different ways. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to support victims of persecution, and our programmes take individual contexts and needs into account.

That might be trauma care for Iraqi refugees, emergency aid in Burkina Faso, vocational training in Central Asia or political advocacy in India.

Or it can be microloans - like the ones that widows in northern Nigeria are receiving, helping them recover from Boko Haram attacks and meaning they can get on the path to self-sufficiency. These ongoing loans help women persecuted for their faith and their gender be seen, valued and empowered.

Rikiya and goats

Rikiya, a widow from Nigeria, and the goats she bought with her microloan

But how do they work?

In northern Nigeria, Open Doors partners provide microloans to ‘voluntary saving and loan associations’ – groups of 10-15 people who have a common goal, such as saving for school fees, or a shared characteristic such as gender, age or type of job.

These groups tend to work independently, saving together without paying outside interest. But if they need extra funds to start or expand income-generating projects, then Open Doors partners will invest with a loan.

The money is paid back with interest, and repayments are then reinvested – in the same groups and in new ones. (The interest ensures that the inflation-adjusted loans are available to new groups.)

The Nigerian widows featured in Open Doors' March magazine, and in a feature on this site, received loans in 2018 and 2019, and paid them back both years. They will receive further loans in 2020, as well as being given grants for their children’s school fees, which don’t need to be paid back. With your support, Open Doors partners can expand the scheme to more of the many vulnerable women in Nigeria and elsewhere.

Please give

*It costs £346 to provide trauma and spiritual healing in all areas of her life. Anything you can give towards this will help to bring hope and restoration.  


Lord, we pray for our persecuted family in Iran. Please give opportunities to believers to share the good news of Jesus Christ, despite the obstacles and opposition. We praise You that the number of believers is growing, and we pray that many more Iranians would turn to Christ.

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