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Colombia Responde Program Helps to Increase Micro-financing Services
Published 01/08/2013 by Global Communities
Colombia Responde Program Helps to Increase Microfinance Services
Lack of financial education and limited access to financial services are two of the main constraints that reduce farmers´ income generation capacities in Montes de Maria, Colombia. A 2012 study conducted by the institution Crezcamos determined that only 20 percent of the population in Montes de Maria had savings, and five percent had a bank account. Additionally, even though 60 percent expressed having access to loans, only 30 percent of them acquired those loans through formal financial institutions.
These findings demonstrate that access to financial services should be a priority. However, training is fundamental to increase income opportunities since access to financial services without training may lead to over-indebtedness.
Colombia Responde, a USAID-funded initiative implemented by Global Communities in Montes de Maria, supported the financial institution Crezcamos to open new offices in El Carmen de Bolivar and San Onofre to implement a project that provides training and access to financial services to the most vulnerable rural populations. During 2013, Crezcamos will open two other offices in San Jacinto and Ovejas.
Crezcamos has not only trained populations in financial literacy, but it has also provided access to financial services such as microloans and micro-insurances.
Thus far, the project has benefited 1,325 families, granting microloans to 674 women and 651 men through 1,325 microloans, 1,202 life micro-insurances and 1,256 home micro-insurances, for a total of US $1,283,648. Additionally, 56 women and 48 men received financial education training. In total, 4,335 people have benefited in Montes de Maria from financial trainings.
This initiative has focused on women and other vulnerable populations living in the most isolated rural areas. Not only has the program increased economic access, but beneficiaries have also acknowledged that it has also increased the economic role of women in the family economy. Additionally, the new San Onofre office means increasing access to other vulnerable populations such as indigenous people and Afro-Colombians.
Read more about Global Communities’ work in Colombia.