Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Featured Field Partner: Koperasi Mitra Usaha Kecil

By Staci Chirchick, Review and Translation Program Intern
A proud second loan client, with her pig
Photo Credit: Anne Conlin

Koperasi Mitra Usaha Kecil (MUK) provides access to services for lower income people throughout Bali, without consideration of race, religion or culture. MUK assists small businesses and their owners by providing training, business consultation and loans, with the intention of increasing profits thereby enabling the owners to better provide for daily needs, education and support long term goals for themselves and their families. MUK offers both individual and group loans.

Kiva Field Partner since: August 2007
Loans through Kiva: $675,475
Number of entrepreneurs assisted through Kiva: 3,177
Mission: "To increase public awareness of environmental issues and to provide opportunities for people in chronic poverty to improve their lives."

Religion and Lending
Though a Christian organization operating on the Hindu island of Bali, MUK has clients of all faiths, which reflects a “live and let live” attitude towards religion common among Indonesians. Many Americans might be surprised to find this attitude in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

Pig Loans
While MUK offers both individual and group loans, the most unique of them all is the Kelompok Babi, the Pig Breeder Group. In Bali, it is mainly the men who support their families through farm work, labor, small businesses, etc. However, in many families, the women supplement household income by raising pigs in their yards to sell to local butchers. MUK forms groups of 10 women who each get 1 million IDR (117 USD). The women then buy two piglets and food for them. After about five months, they will sell the pigs for around 190 USD, yielding a large return. Many of the women use the money they make to improve their houses, pay school fees, and to buy motorbikes for their family businesses. MUK’s goal is to have these women ultimately raising four to five pigs after a few loan cycles.

MUK and Non-Financial Services
Since most of MUK’s borrowers are pig farmers, the animal husbandry and agriculture services are widely used. MUK provides veterinary services as needed for the pigs. Veterinarians will come and train the women on how to raise more nutritious pigs, both in terms of the animals’ health and as food for people. A veterinarian will also make a home visit with tools and medicine if a pig ever gets sick. Because of these services, not a single pig has been lost. There is also household budgeting and business training that is offered to the women, to help grow their farms and provide valuable life skills.

Fun Fact
MUK was founded as a cooperative in 2009. At the end of the year, member borrowers receive twenty percent of the profits as dividends.

For more on MUK click here