Purpose Prize Fellow 2008
Microlending integrated with education and healthcare to alleviate poverty in Ghana.
At age 60, after a successful career in investment marketing, Dana Dakin was ready to hold to the maxim that life is lived in thirds: first you learn, then you earn, then you return. So in 2003, she traveled to Ghana, a country she studied as an undergraduate, to find a village and start a microlending program. Dakin traveled to Pokuase, a town in the outskirts of Ghana’s capital Accra, then launched a microlending program to fuel entrepreneurship and economic development. By establishing relationships with women clients, she began addressing the root causes of poverty. Women’s Trust initiated a scholarship program to keep girls in school; this proved to be the key to lasting change. Additionally, Dakin integrated volunteer nurses into healthcare clinics to improve the maternal mortality outcome. In the first five years, WomensTrust has more than 1,000 loan clients who benefit from business skills training; more than 100 girls on scholarships; medical clinics that partner with local professional nurses; and an on-the-ground hub for other nonprofits and volunteers. “I saw what one individual could do in an international location with extreme need. I made a mental commitment then to make age 60 the point in time to begin the third phase of my life.”