Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Recent Developments in SBD

Initial class of successful loan recipients
The end of the first ever loan cycle of our micro-finance project was a resounding success with a 100% repayment from all five of our loan recipients. Both the loan recipients and members of the Small Business Development program were extremely pleased with the work and progress we made that we have decided to give another round of loans to the small producers in Jatumpungo. However, before we go full steam ahead with the next cycle, we, with the help of our three summer interns helping with the program, have taken a step back and listened to the project participants on how to improve the next cycle.

Manna has had such a positive impact in Jatumpungo, not just with the loans but with the agriculture program and volunteer groups helping out in the fields, that our reputation has spread throughout the small barrio. Therefore, more members of the community would like loans and we are currently trying to raise more money and researching potential candidates to expand the group from five to eight or nine recipients. They have also requested business classes to help them manage and expand what they do with their produce. With a curriculum prepared by a Vanderbilt micro-finance volunteer group, we plan to start giving weekly classes to anyone in the community who wants to attend. Manna is also looking into purchasing a tent to rent out to the farmers so that they can sell their produce at a small market in July set up by the Patronato.

Finally, the tight knit community has come up with a few long term goals. They are currently attending classes on bee and honey production and want to set up a community initiative creating honey products to sell at the local markets. They also have floated the idea of starting a community run restaurant. Needless to say, Manna has inspired this small rural community to dream big and have helped them accomplish a few of their aspirations already. We look forward to continuing work in Jatumpungo and hopefully expanding to another community one day as well.

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