By: Helene Dudley (Colombia 1968-70, Slovakia 1997-99)
In July 2016, The Colombia Project - TCP Global became a NPCA Community Fund beneficiary. In September of last year, the first disbursement of funds for TCP Global micro-loans was allocated to the Colombia-based NGO, PROEDUPAZ, in Suan. While TCP Global has funded over $500,000 in loans in 5 countries, this new program in Suan is the first program established with the assistance of a Peace Corps Response Volunteer, Will Osolinsky (pictured below with PROEDUPAZ President, Alejo Narvaez and prospective loan recipients).
In only four months, $1,500 has been invested twice resulting in repayments that lead to $3,000 of more new loans. Loans in Suan average $176 and support cottage industry, sales, animal husbandry and similar projects.
Although Will has completed his assignment in Suan, he remains in contact with PROEDUPAZ to assist TCP Global in the mentoring process.
If Suan continues to yield good results, TCP Global will authorize additional fund transfers until the permanent loan pool is adequate to meet the micro-loan needs of the community. With continued success, PROEDUPAZ will earn funds, which they can use for community service projects. Both TCP Global and PROEDUPAZ are volunteer organizations providing their services at no cost, thus allowing for 100% of donations to be distributed as micro-loans.
TCP Global loans are best suited for small and remote communities. According to information shared at the 2014 Micro Credit Summit in Mexico, this is a niche that is currently underserved by major micro-finance institutions, which find them cost-prohibitive to serve. Since the TCP Global model invites existing grassroots organizations to run loan programs in their own communities, there are no travel costs, and result in better loan decisions since they are made by people who know the community well. Loan recipients are invited to serve on the board, ensuring community ownership that enables loan programs to thrive despite leadership changes in the host organization.
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PROEDUPAZ leaders Alejo and Delvis maintain the folders on each loan recipient and oversee the screening, funding and collections on all loans.
TCP Global met with Colombia Peace Corps staff and trainees in October, 2016 to explain how to bring micro-loans to additional Peace Corps sites.
This mother and her daughter completed a micro-entrepreneur workshop coordinated by PROEDUPAZ.
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