The Episcopal Church in the USA (Latino and Caribbean dioceses)
To help women and children in the most vulnerable sectors of our society and economically empower them in order to improve their quality of life.
• Feasibility study to determine communities and potential beneficiaries of the program
• Meetings with local leaders in the chosen communities
• Surveys with the community to determine the level of poverty
• Five day training program with the applicants. We introduce applicants to the basics of microfinancing to equip them throughout the process.
• Beneficiaries formulate a plan/proposal for the businesses they intend to implement.
• The oversight team conduct market research to test the viability of the businesses. They then decide which of the businesses to invest in and finance thee successful applicants. Our loans are from $100 to $500 according to the needs of the business.
• The applicants have 10 days after receiving the money to begin work. The timeframe is deliberately short in order to ensure that they do not spend the money on other pressing needs.
• Regular monitoring then takes place every two weeks. The objective of these meeting is to assess how the business is progressing and also to recover the loan in incremental amounts. There is also a spiritual/pastoral component to these meetings, reflecting on the Christian ethic of the business.
• Given the financial situation of the applicants, it is important to recover small amounts of money but regularly and quickly. We group the applicants into teams of five and the responsibility for recovering the money is at group level. The communities themselves decide who will be included in these groups and all applicants have to sign an agreement at the outset to say that they will be jointly responsible for each others’ loans.
We have been running this project for 4 years and we have around 500 directs beneficiaries and around 2,500 indirect beneficiaries.