Wednesday, May 19, 2010

From Research to Field

This week DiscoverHope Fund hosted a group of University students from Pennslyvania that had collaborated with Maggie on the U.S. side to research information for our Microcredit Toolkit. Since they had read and researched microcredit work they wanted to see firsthand; Is the fieldwork really like what the research says?

They were here a short two days, but made the most of their time. They met our village banking team at the Multicredit office, visited Hope House classes, walked to countryside village banks to hold focus groups, and ended their visit with a business tour (among transportation strikes and street blockage!) They came thirsty for experience and that is what they got, along with a bug or two that dwindled their group down from 6 to 4 people.

On our business tour this morning we visited 7 businesses: Quinoa apple breakfast drink streeet cart (which the group gave 2 thumbs up for service, cleanliness and flavor!), an orange juice stand, a small little store, a house filled with duck-chicken- pig-sheep all being raised for market, a ceviche and frito food stand, a blanket knitter and finally a candlemaker. The group fell in love the kiddos along the way, who wouldn't?

For me the business tour was also an eye opening experience, as I got to visit new loan recipients' businesses in banks that had just formed last month. According to the Penn group, they were surprised at how business savy some of our women are; for example the women who adds spice to her ceviche in order to promote the sale of her soda and our orange juice seller who knows exactly how much oranges (and which kind) she needs to buy and how much juice she needs to sell to make a profit. It filled me with such good energy to listen to our women's stories, celebrate successes and really show-off the good stuff that microcredit does. Imagine, we got to do all this in the midst of a citywide transportation strike that closed off the main streets in town. Goodness prevails!

Paz ~ Nora

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