Friday, May 18, 2012

Social Performance in Action: Personal growth and microfinance

While many microfinance organizations are established to provide financial products and services to the underserved, and then add non-financial support services to improve their clients' ability to effectively use them, one Kiva Field Partner in Peru did it the other way around.

Manuela Ramos was founded exclusively to advance the rights of women in Peru. The fact that discrimination against women didn't become officially illegal until 2000 reflects a culture with deeply rooted power imbalances between the genders. Recognizing that women could begin to overcome these societal barriers with empowerment programs, Manuela Ramos set out to support them in exercising their rights, managing their health, addressing domestic violence, and taking the message to the community that things need to change.

It wasn't until 13 years after its founding that Manuela Ramos added their microfinance program, called CrediMujer, to strengthen women's economic autonomy and reduce gender inequality. Their main financial product is a community bank group loan for 10 to 30 women coupled with regular educational sessions and business management workshops based on the specific types of businesses group members are operating.

 The microfinance program has been an instrumental part of Manuela Ramos' contribution to the development of the whole woman: not only do clients acquire dignity, self-worth and a supportive community, they also gain the means for financial independence.

In the video below, provided by Kiva Fellow Julie Shea, the Director of CrediMUJER describes the life-changing benefits of the program:

This particularly effective combination of programs, spread throughout Peru, is exemplary in the degree to which it is socially focused. For this, Manuela Ramos/CrediMujer has earned five Social Performance Badges from Kiva that demonstrate the breadth of their attentiveness to and strength in serving their clients' particular needs.

The Social Performance in Action series is designed to share stories from the field that demonstrate the amazing work our partners are doing to meet a range of client needs.

photo courtesy of Pickle Monger