Thursday, January 13, 2011

Off To A REALLY Great Start!

Rosa with her pigs

I have to admit Monday was a pretty daunting day. I arrived at the Hope House around 9:00 AM and as I entered the computer room and saw Nora's empty blue desk chair, a wave of emotions hit me. I'd become so accustomed to hearing her laugh, planning the week's activitites together, grabbing lunch, and now... it's just me kid. So first things first, I took a big, deep breath and decided in that moment to begin with the basics. I made a list of my monthly and weekly goals as well as my activities for the day. I started by heading over to the Multicredit Office to meet with our Village Bank Promoter Jheny and our Project Coordinator, Ahidee to program the week's activities. It was refreshing to hear about their work with the village banks during the month of December and the first part of January.

Ahidee is developing a monitoring and evaluation program where she visits loan recipients individually at their place of business to ensure that their loans are being invested wisely. She also provides our women with practical advice during that time to help their businesses flourish and requires everyone to develop a list of action items to be completed in time for a follow-up visit. After all this talk, I wanted to see the program in action and went with our team on Tuesday to Village Bank "Azucenas." This particular bank is located in a rural area where most of our women raise small animals for a living. We met with Rosa Huaman who was extremely eager to show us her pigs that she purchased with her loan. The offspring will be sold for a profit and the income will be used to purchase food and cover veternarian costs for her animals. Ahidee encouraged her to maintain the cleanliness of her pig corrrals and gave her some sound advice as to the timing of when to sell and purchase her pigs.

During the visit I had a moment of insight. Our village banking project consists of women who live in urban, peri-urban, and rural communitites. For our women living in the countyside, attending classes at the Hope House is often a challenge due to transportation. And the kinds of classes we offer are not practical for their environment. I am proposing to offer classes related to knitting, crocheting, animal husbandry, etc. in which we send an instructor to the campo and conduct classes in-site. In the Hope House, I can continue with a regular themes and topics, which are most useful for our women living in the city and in the outer limits.

For the remainder of the week I'll be visiting village banks, programming our activities for the month of February, and planning the year with our Multicredit staff. As you can see, alot is happening in such little time.


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