Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Oxford Microfinance Initiative

For the past two weeks MPI Ecuador has been hosting 3 Oxford University students who have been working exclusively with our Small Business Development program. Here is an update from Taylor on how things have progressed during their visit:

Since last October, the Small Business Development Program has eagerly anticipated working with Oxford University’s Oxford Microfinance Initiative. We’ve been working on the preparation for their arrival for months now and I cannot believe it’s all over!

The British came…they saw…and left with an incredible amount of information and insight into Rumiloma and its surrounding communities. We did field studies, visited lesser known parts of our surrounding communities, met with countless governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and exhausted ourselves in pursuit of the question: how can expand and improve our business program? Manna’s vision focuses on really getting to know what interests our communities, in order to execute the best possible programs suited for these communities. It’s nice to get back in touch with the community and really be able to ask them what they are looking for from us.

Our team of Oxford students consisted of three people…although ironically, only one member, Bhavin, was actually British. Vera hailed from Germany and spent a year in Riobamba, Ecuador, living with an Ecuadorian family from 2010-2011. Her insight into Ecuadorian culture and business practices was a huge help. Dennis is from Switzerland, he spent a year traveling all over South America, learning a good deal of Spanish and experiencing Latin American culture, but this was his first time working in Ecuador.

This opportunity to really focus on our business program, with the help of three knowledgeable business students was exactly what the program needed. We’re really hoping to invest our newfound knowledge into the Small Business Development program and see how we can expand and build upon what we’ve learned. We’re all very excited to see where it goes from here!

Bhavin (left), Dennis (center), and Vera (right) spent the past 2 weeks living and working with us here in Ecuador
Thank you to the OMI students for your insight and expertise!

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