A program that provided a return on investment
Microfinance is perhaps the most efficient form of charitable giving. Why? Because small loans to poor women encourage self-sufficiency, build business, keep families intact and improve neighborhoods. This was one of our most successful programs because at this time, the microbank in Barrio El Recreo created a self-sustaining lending bank with about 400 women participating.
We invested in Nicaragua’s greatest strength: Women.
In Nicaragua, Projecto Generando Vida—“Life-Giving Project,” a CT Quest-funded microfinance bank—helped inner city women with start-up businesses.
Projecto Generando Vida Microbank…
Provided small loans to 160 poor women in one of Managua’s poorest neighborhoods, Barrio El Recreo. The average Projecto Generando Vida Microbank loan is $40.
Funded dozens of home-based enterprises including house cleaning, painting, carpentry, sewing, laundry, bakery, cake decorating, gardening and floral arrangement businesses.
Was fully repaid by borrowers. Groups of 30 women borrowers guarantee their group’s loan repayment. Funds are reinvested in new barrio borrowers to continue the microlending program.
Still serves as a beacon of hope and independence to people with no financial power or collateral.
You helped some poor people beat the system
Projecto Generando Vida Microbank models itself on the Grameen Foundation’s microbank, created by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. The Grameen Foundation and CT Quest’s microbanks used a non-loss—rather than a non-profit—model that combined humanitarian aims with self-sustaining business practices.
Microfinance recognized that persistent poverty is associated with rigid systems—governments, businesses and other institutions. Microfinance addresses the problem by changing the system to free capital formerly denied poor people.
When you donate to microfinance, you put the last first
Traditional banks lend money to people who already have money or collateral. Microbanks lend money to people who have no money or other resources. In Nicaragua, CT Quest’s microfinance program:
Granted loans to the poorest of the poor. The less money a woman possesses, the more likely she is to get a loan. If she has nothing, she’s given highest priority.
Extended credit to women, the most powerless citizens in Nicaragua’s machismo society. All borrowers in CT Quest’s microlending program were women.
Provided psychosocial support through weekly meetings that encouraged women to discuss their business and personal lives, share concerns and problem-solve.
Pure satisfaction knowing we had funded small woman-owned businesses
At this time, the microbank in Barrio El Recreo is self-sustaining with about 400 women participating.