Featured Stories

Maritza’s Story


 

Stand with people like Maritza and give to Global Partnerships today. We still have $1,525 to reach our Matching Challenge! Your donation of $25 or more will be matched!

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Maritza is a tenacious survivor. When she was 14, a family member tried to assault her. When she fought back, he attacked her with a machete. Because of the assault, she lost her hands.

 

 

People told Maritza she would never lead a normal life, never have a family, and never be able to support herself. Maritza refused to accept this grim prediction.

 

She tried to get a loan to start her own business, but no one would lend her money. They assumed a woman with no hands could not pay them back.

 

In September 2016, she learned about GP’s partner, Pro Mujer Nicaragua, which provides women living in poverty with affordable loans and business training through a village bank – a group of women entrepreneurs in her community who guarantee each other’s loans.

 

Maritza obtained a $165 loan to start her business buying vegetables in the market to sell to her neighbors. As a member of a village bank, Martiza also received business training and basic health education. Most importantly, she now has a group of like-minded entrepreneurs who are invested in each other’s success.

 

Today, Maritza’s business is thriving and supports her husband, children and grandchildren. She says she is proud of what she has accomplished. Martiza has shown what can be achieved despite extreme barriers.

 

Your support for GP unlocks opportunities for people like Maritza and helps them realize their potential and personal power. With your help, GP identifies the most effective solutions to poverty, provided by our partners who are committed to making a sustainable impact, and reaching those who need it most.

 

GP invests through partners and products, but the true change makers are our partners’ clients and their resourcefulness. Your gift supports people working hard to escape poverty. Your gift supports Maritza’s strength and resilience in the face of incredible adversity.

 

 

We still have $1,525 to reach our Matching Challenge! Your donation of $25 or more will be matched!

 

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Unlocking the Power of Client Voice


By Tara Murphy Forde, Vice President of Impact and Research

 

At Global Partnerships (GP) we believe that with access to tools, resources, and information, people have the power to earn a living and improve their lives. We also believe that market-sustained solutions have an essential role to play in unlocking and sustaining opportunities for millions of people living in poverty. In turn, we invest in social enterprise partners that deliver transformative products and services to those traditionally excluded. And we don’t stop there. As an impact-led investor we dedicate resources to listen to, and learn from, the clients our partners serve.  

 

To that end we conducted a series of five case studies, interviewing over 1,250 clients. With grant support from the Swiss Confederation and JPMorgan Chase & Co., we worked alongside a select set of partners and Microfinance Opportunities, an expert in mixed-method field research, to capture client data across several of GP’s investment initiatives. Over the course of the work we had the privilege of meeting with grape farmers in Bolivia, female microentreprenuers in Peru, coffee farmers in Guatemala, and home improvement clients in peri-urban Nicaragua.

 

We conducted our first case study with our partner, Idepro. Idepro is a Bolivian microfinance institution (MFI) that is aligned with GP’s Rural-Centered Finance with Education investment initiative. Idepro takes an integrated and specialized approach to deliver credit and technical assistance (TA) to underserved producers. They have a strong impact measurement practice and partnered with us on the case study to inform their activity within the grape value chain.

 

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Grapes are a key cash crop and important source of income for smallholder farmers in the Tarija Central Valley. To meet grape farmers’ needs, Idepro provides working capital loans and two different technical assistance programs; one basic (Financia) and one in-depth (Impacta). In this case study we aimed to answer the following questions and evaluate differences between the Financia and Impacta programs:

  • What is the poverty profile of grape value chain clients?

  • Is the training delivered by Idepro increasing farmers’ agricultural knowledge and adoption of best practices?

  • Are clients demonstrating progress toward intermediate economic outcomes, such as improvement in yields, incomes, and the accumulation of assets?

  • Are clients making progress toward longer-term economic outcomes; specifically, are they displaying signs of improved economic resilience?

blawg2Our findings were both promising and informative. We confirmed our hypothesis that Idepro’s TA programs are effective at improving farmer knowledge and changing behavior, and that the Impacta program is more effective at eliciting these changes. Interestingly, these results didn’t correlate into differences between the two groups when it came to intermediate economic outcomes, such as increased yields and incomes, which lead to a rich set of conversations about the challenges of controlling for external factors and measuring causality.

 

We also learned that clients in both programs still struggle to be resilient to economic shocks. This suggests that while economic well-being may be improving, GP and Idepro’s work is far from done. It takes time, perhaps generations, for a household to progress out of poverty.

 

The Idepro case study is the first of five learning opportunities that are sharpening our work as an impact-led investor. They are unlocking the power of client voice – to strengthen our partners’ product and service design as well as our investment strategy. Stay tuned in the months to come as we share our ongoing learnings and insights.

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Honoring the Achievements of Women


For International Women’s Day, we honor the countless achievements of women living in poverty. Faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, women across the globe are proving they are agents of change. With access to the right resources, they deliver results, not only in their businesses, but also in their families and communities. Why? The evidence shows that women tend to invest as much as ten times more than men on health care, nutrition and education for their families.

 

Melba is one such agent of change. She is a mother, business owner, and client of Pro Mujer Nicaragua, a partner in our Women-Centered Finance with Education initiative. Pro Mujer provides financial services and education, primarily to female entrepreneurs living in poverty.

 

a a aMelba took out her first loan with Pro Mujer to purchase and raise livestock. With her increased income, she invested in home improvement projects that contribute to the health, safety and dignity of her family. In addition to running her household and her business, Melba is also the treasurer of her Pro Mujer village bank and a leader in her community.

 

Global Partnerships has been investing in women-centered products and services for over 23 years. When women are empowered to make informed decisions, they can build productive assets and businesses, diversify their income, improve their economic resilience, improve child health and food security, and inspire others to do the same.

 

Across all our investments…

77% of our partners’ clients are women

 

Since our inception…

$287.2 million capital deployed

19 countries reached

118 social enterprise partners

8.9 million lives impacted

 

Learn more…

Investing in Women >>

The Power of Women >>

Donate to Global Partnerships >>

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What organizational conditions improve impact management?


This blog was originally published by the Impact Management Project here.

By Tara Murphy Forde, VP of Impact & Research at Global Partnerships

Since 2016, the Impact Management Project has facilitated virtual and in-person conversations – between people from different disciplines and worldviews – to find shared fundamentals for how we think about, measure and manage impact. Over the course of 12 in-person workshops, 25 virtual sessions and many more interviews, a common theme emerged: certain organizational conditions must be present to improve impact management practices.

I see the practical implications of this in my role as Vice President of Impact and Research at Global Partnerships (GP) – an impact-led investor dedicated to expanding opportunities for people living in poverty. In hopes that our learnings can support other practitioners involved in the project, I have outlined four organizational conditions that enable stronger impact management. To ground these observations in practice, I also share how I have witnessed them influence our work at GP.

Condition #1: Re-thinking strategy and organizational design

For starters, we must shift our strategies from being “mission-driven” to being impact-led. Implicit in the shared fundamentals of the Impact Management Project is a departure from designing our work around fixed (often un-tested) interventions. The fundamentals instead encourage regular learning and improvement – inviting us to re-design our teams, systems and processes around what delivers the most impact.

In Practice: Global Partnerships provides loans and seed-stage investments for social enterprises that deliver market-based products and services that empower people to earn a living and improve their lives. Today, we contribute to a range of poverty solutions, but our portfolio hasn’t always been so diverse. When we began investing in microfinance institutions (MFIs) back in 1994, we did so believing, like most at the time, that access to financial services would enable those living in poverty to earn a living and improve their lives. We learned, through experience and the emerging body of evidence, that not all MFIs target marginalized populations and that financial services are necessary, but often insufficient for end-clients to realize desired outcomes.

To ensure deeper inclusion and stronger impact, we pivoted our strategy to focus on MFIs that target female and rural clients and leverage their platform for the provision of additional services such as basic financial literacy, business training and health. Over time we have diversified our portfolio beyond microfinance to invest in a broad suite of products and services that demonstrate compelling economic, health, housing and energy outcomes. This decision was rooted in our commitment to expand opportunity for households living in poverty, without being prescriptive about what those opportunities might entail. Our approach has required continuous innovation in our financing instruments as well as agility in our teams. We have had to responsibly exit organizations that weren’t demonstrating desired effects, or where execution risk was too high. We have also had to maintain strong communication with internal and external stakeholders in order to ensure continued alignment in our impact and financial performance objectives.

Condition #2: Putting impact data at the center of decision making

In order to be impact-led we need impact data; but what data are needed, by whom, at what interval, and to what end? To successfully manage impact, we need organizational leaders that value impact data and make it a critical input to strategy. Furthermore, we need leaders to mobilize and dedicate resources to capturing, storing and analyzing this data.

In Practice: Several years ago, GP was in the process of developing its ten-year strategic plan. The Board of Directors and Leadership Team were setting aspirational goals for not only geographic expansion and capital deployment, but also impact. As a result, the leadership team spun out the Impact and Research Team, whose mandate is to measure and manage the impact of our investments. Among other things, our team is tasked with defining our impact strategy as well as our corporate impact indicator, which sits on the management dashboard for quarterly review and discussion by the Leadership Team and the Board. By dedicating resources, carefully capturing data and tracking performance regularly, our impact goals have secured their rightful place in decision-making alongside financial and operational considerations.

Condition #3: Investing in talent

Data is necessary, but not sufficient, for strong impact management. There is consensus that we need higher quality impact data, but we also need the talent to collect, scrub, analyze and interpret that data. As noted by Kate Ruff and Sara OIsen in their piece – The Next Frontier in Social Impact Measurement Isn’t Measurement at All – analysts must think holistically (looking across data sets to identify patterns and relationships), have strong technical skills (both qualitative and quantitative), and be able to skillfully read and communicate results. Finding this talent can feel like looking for a unicorn. As professionals and students pursue more impactful careers, we must be willing to train talent and be strategic about what we outsource to specialized firms.

In Practice: When we formed the Impact and Research Team at Global Partnerships (GP), we needed to be clear about how it would complement GP’s Capital Resources (raise it) and Social Investment (deploy it) teams. We landed on an advisory and monitoring function that plays a critical role in setting portfolio strategy, screening potential investments, evaluating impact performance and reporting on results. Identifying these functions was critical to understanding the talent we needed to be successful.

We built a small team with presence at both headquarters and field offices. Rather than looking for sector experts or monitoring and evaluation (M&E) specialists, we looked for candidates with strong investment acumen, quantitative reasoning and critical thinking.  We developed an impact management methodology that explicitly leverages results and insights from our own portfolio, expert/practitioner opinion and the emerging body of evidence. In turn, we need talent that can work across various disciplines and recognize emerging patterns. We complement this with targeted studies, executed by third parties specialized in mixed-methods field research.

Each time we post a job opening, we are met with an overwhelming response. While we have extremely qualified candidates applying out of academia, finance and more traditional nonprofit organizations, very few candidates, if any, are the “unicorns” we are looking for. Furthermore, our strategy is such that we know our needs will evolve over time. For these reasons, we opt to hire for the core competencies noted above and train into the technical abilities we need.

Condition #4: Creating a learning culture 

Impact management is not linear. It is a disciplined, iterative practice that leverages multi-disciplinary data to gain deeper insight and inform strategy. It requires an organizational culture that embraces learning and is highly adaptive to what delivers important positive outcomes (and avoids important negative outcomes) for people and/or the planet. Creating this type of culture requires that we loosely hold what we do and how we do it – our strategies and business models – so that we never lose sight of why we do it.

This is just as important in the back office as it is on the front line.

In Practice: Global Partnerships’ iterative approach to impact management means that our tools, systems, and processes are in a continuous state of refinement. Furthermore, our approach requires strong and frequent communication with stakeholders, both internal and external, upstream and down. It takes effort – requiring a high degree of trust, flexibility and commitment. To nurture this in ourselves and in our teams, we adopted a set of shared values; together we aim to be- Dedicated, Strategic, Collaborative, always Learning, and striving for Excellence (DSCALE). These values are part of our hiring process and are revisited regularly in quarterly performance previews and at all-staff retreats. In the spirit of these values, we invite you to get in touch (I can be reached at tmurphy@globalpartnerships.org) and if you are interested, please check out our Annual Impact Report, and subscribe to our blog.

Author Bio: Tara Murphy Forde, VP of Impact & Research at Global Partnerships. She leads GP’s efforts to define, measure, and strengthen the impact of its investments. In this capacity she oversees the qualitative and quantitative methods, tools, and processes used to identify high impact opportunities and cultivate learnings from the existing portfolio. Prior to her role on the Impact and Research team, Tara spent five years on GP’s Social Investment Team where she was responsible for the monitoring and evaluation of Fund performance. Her approach to impact investing is informed by academic, professional, and entrepreneurial experience addressing the issues of poverty, gender and conflict. As a Fulbright Scholar, Tara researched the gender-differentiated effects of the armed conflict in Colombia and was part of a start-up tackling the socio-economic reintegration of displaced families. In addition to her time in Colombia, Tara has lived and studied in Cuba and Northern Ireland. Tara holds a B.A. in political science from Vassar College and a certificate in executive leadership from the Albers School of Business at Seattle University. A special thanks to those that contributed thoughts through the Impact Management Project, including but not limited to; Clara Barby and Amanda Feldman from Bridges Impact+, Ben Carpenter from Social Value UK, Tom Adams from Acumen, Laura Foose and Leticia Emme from the Social Performance Task Force, Anton Simanowitz from Social Performance Solutions, and Tris Lumley from New Philanthropy Capital.

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ImpactAssets Includes Global Partnerships in 7th Annual IA 50 Impact Investment Fund Showcase


FEBRUARY 27, 2018 - For the seventh year in a row, Global Partnerships has been included in the ImpactAssets 50 (IA 50), a free online resource for investors and financial advisors. The seventh annual guide features fund managers representing outstanding private debt and equity investments that have demonstrated social and environmental impact as well as financial returns.

Fund managers included in the IA 50 2017-2018 manage an estimated $29.2B in assets devoted to creating positive social and environmental impact.

“As impact investing grows exponentially, the IA 50 has remained a leading and trusted resource for impact investors of all experience levels,” said Jed Emerson, ImpactAssets Senior Fellow, and IA 50 Review Committee Chair. “Our consistent and objective evaluation of impact fund managers is providing financial advisors and their clients with a starting place to make informed investment decisions. And we are helping to catalyze the growth of impact investing by creating a centralized information source in a fragmented field.”

Global Partnerships' profile on the IA 50 gives investors information about our impact and financial performance, our impact monitoring, and our leadership. Our profile is a high-level introduction to Global Partnerships and illustrates our commitment to impact-led investing while being included among our reputable peers and validated by an industry third party.

The IA 50 is the only free, public, searchable database of outstanding impact investing fund managers. This year's showcase, which includes funds based in the United States, Africa, Europe and Latin America, highlights the increasingly diverse opportunities for investors to help create social value across the globe. Fund managers represent a breadth of asset classes, ranging from real assets like forestry and farmland, private thematic debt and microfinance, to private early and growth stage equity in US and emerging markets.

The list demonstrates an increased thematic focus on affordable housing and community development, alternative energy, climate change and small and medium business development. Fund managers continue to focus as well on microfinance, sustainable agriculture and low-income financial services and water and sanitation.

The IA 50 Review Committee is chaired by Jed Emerson, Chief Impact Strategist of ImpactAssets. Jennifer Kenning, CEO and Co-Founder of Align Impact served as the Committee’s Senior Investment Advisor. MEMBERS INCLUDE: Karl "Charly" Kleissner, Co-Founder of Toniic and KL Felicitas Foundation; Kathy Leonard, Senior Vice President, Investments and Senior Portfolio Manager for UBS; Stephanie Cohn Rupp, Managing Director, and Partner, Tiedemann Wealth Management; Fran Seegull, Executive Director, U.S. Impact Investing Alliance, Ford Foundation; Liesel Pritzker Simmons and Ian Simmons, Co-Founders of Blue Haven Initiative and Matthew Weatherley-White, Co-Founder and Managing Director of The CAPROCK Group.

“The 2017-18 IA 50 highlights a strong field of managers across an increasingly rich marketplace of impact fund opportunities,” said Jennifer Kenning, CEO and Co-Founder of Align Impact, and IA 50 Senior Investment Advisor. “We are excited to see the growth of this space as evidenced by the increasing number of high-caliber fund managers, whose strong financial and impact track records position them to serve the growing investor.”

“The IA 50 has become the go-to database for insights and actionable data on innovative managers creating impact with investment capital, which is especially valuable for family offices and accredited investors getting started in the impact space,” said Stephanie Cohn Rupp, Managing Director, and Partner at Tiedemann Wealth Management. “We’re thrilled to be helping investors connect their portfolios with their passions and drive capital to impact.”

The IA 50 is not an index or investable platform and does not constitute an offering or recommend specific products. It is not a replacement for due diligence. In order to be considered for the IA 50 2017-18, fund managers needed to have at least $10M in assets under management, more than 3 years of experience as a firm with impact investing and documented social and/or environmental impact, as well as accept investment from U.S.-based investors. Additional details on the selection process are here.

About Global Partnerships

Global Partnerships is an impact-led investor dedicated to expanding opportunity for people living in poverty. We make loans and early stage investments in social enterprises that deliver market-based products and services that empower people to earn a living and improve their lives. Since our inception, GP has impacted more than 8.9 million lives across Latin America, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa. Among the people our partners serve, 74% live in rural areas and 83% are women. Through our partners, we continue our commitment to reach the rural poor and empower women. GP has invested $287 million in 118 partner organizations in 19 countries. We invest in market-sustainable solutions that help impoverished people earn a living and improve their lives.

 

About ImpactAssets

ImpactAssets is a nonprofit financial services firm that increases the flow of capital into investments that deliver financial, social, and environmental returns. ImpactAssets’ donor advised fund (The Giving Fund) and field building initiatives enable philanthropists, other asset owners, and their wealth advisors to advance social or environmental change through investment.

About the ImpactAssets 50

The IA 50 is the first publicly available database that provides a gateway into the world of impact investing for investors and their financial advisors, offering an easy way to identify experienced impact investment firms and explore the landscape of potential investment options. The IA 50 is intended to illustrate the breadth of impact investment fund managers operating today, though it is not a comprehensive list. These 50 firms have been selected to demonstrate a wide range of impact investing activities across geographies, sectors and asset classes.

 

 

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Yolanda’s Story


Doña Yolanda is an economic engine for twelve women artisans, a role model as a mother raising two children together with her husband, and an advocate for women’s health and family planning in her community.

 

Yolanda accomplished all of this despite significant barriers. She grew up in a household all too often characterized by rural poverty: a lack of electricity, formal education or financial opportunity.

 

Early in her childhood, Yolanda learned to weave from her mother, a common trade among indigenous Guatemalan women. She had a trade and was driven, and only needed an opportunity.

 

That opportunity came when she became a client of Friendship Bridge in Guatemala, a GP partner since 2013.

 

Today, Friendship Bridge helps 20,000 clients build resilience and pursue opportunities. They serve women, mostly in rural areas where poverty levels are highest. This commitment to inclusion is one of the cornerstones of GP’s investment strategy.

 

Another cornerstone is high-impact products and services. Friendship Bridge provides microfinance, education and preventive health services. This trio of services has proven to propel their clients forward by addressing poverty on multiple fronts.

 

Friendship Bridge has provided Yolanda with loans to support her business. She is the leader of her artisan cooperative in rural Quiché, Guatemala. Her home doubles as a bustling workshop for the twelve women artisans in her cooperative. They weave textiles on looms or embroider fajas—traditional belts—that they sell at tourist markets in Guatemala and export to the U.S.

 

“Even though I didn’t graduate from school and don’t have a real job title, I have meaning in my work. I love to make different designs and when I go to sell I feel happy because everyone says, ‘Wow, it is beautiful.’ I feel accomplished and happy. I am really proud that I am a weaver.”

 

While financial services equip Yolanda with capital to invest in her business, she attributes the financial education she received from Friendship Bridge with teaching her skills like budgeting to make the most of her loan.

 

The health services that Friendship Bridge provides are critical to Yolanda and her family to ensure her business can continue and her family is healthy and strong. She has also developed a passion for women’s health and family planning. Women in her community often have ten or more children. Yolanda has two – a daughter and a son – which she and her husband agreed upon. Yolanda lets women in her community know they have the right to decide how many children to have.

 

“What I want is for women to know they have worth and they have rights as women.”

Blog Tags: Friendship Bridge   Guatemala   Women-Centered Finance with Education   

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Investing in Women: What Works?


By Tara Murphy Forde - VP, Impact & Research, Global Partnerships

 

Imagine that you are a woman living on a farm on the outskirts of a small, rural town in Bolivia. You wake before the sun rises to tend to the animals, cook buñuelos, feed your children and send the older ones off to school. You then spend the early morning managing the farm and the house - planting, tilling, washing, and cleaning, all by hand and often with your young one strapped to your back. You then make the two-hour journey, on foot and public transportation, into town to purchase supplies, in small amounts because that’s all you can carry and all you can afford. These supplies are for your modest business – selling buñuelos at the bus stop outside of town. You set up shop in the afternoon to sell the buñuelos you made that morning. You return home after sundown to prepare dinner over a wood stove, help your children with homework and get them to bed under the dim light of a kerosene lamp.

 

As a mother of two, I am familiar with the demands of juggling work, home, and childrearing; however I am reminded daily of just how privileged I am. Through my work at Global Partnerships (GP) I have seen first hand the way that poverty places exponential demands on women. I have listened to women in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa share how lack of technology, transportation, or sanitary conditions extend tasks like gathering cooking fuel, accessing safe drinking water, preparing meals, or caring for children.

 

Despite these challenges, the women I have met are resilient, proud, and resourceful. They find innovative ways to access information, manage resources, generate income and build networks. To build a brighter future for themselves and their children. As impact-led investors we seek to understand why markets fail to efficiently serve those living in poverty – especially women.

 

Unfortunately, traditional economic models often fail to a) recognize the gender-differentiated nature of poverty and b) take into account how women make decisions and allocate resources. For over 23 years GP has been investing in womencentered finance, education, and health services delivered through the microfinance platform. During this time, we have invested roughly $144 million in 57 women-centered microfinance institutions (MFIs) across 15 countries, impacting over 3.7 million lives.

 

Beyond learning what it takes to achieve sustainability and scale access for women, we have learned that we must move beyond traditional economic models to create value for women living in poverty.

 

The organizations GP invests in understand market failures from the perspectives of the women they serve. For example, there are numerous barriers for women to access a loan or a savings account. Not only do many women not have the collateral needed to secure a loan, the loan process itself poses challenges. Whether it be lack of information about her options, transportation to get to the bank, the time it would take to get there, the treatment she receives when she arrives, or the complicated documentation process – there are a host of reasons why, even when there is “access”, women remain disproportionately excluded.

 

Microfinance’s success in reaching women came not only in the design of the product, but also in the delivery mechanism. The village bank innovation – lending to women in groups with a solidarity guarantee, came about through listening to, and watching, how women come together to mobilize resources. Early microfinance institutions leveraged the centuries old practices of savings and credit groups to deliver additional resources to women.

 

The key to their success? They started by going out to communities, rather than expecting women to come to them. They built trust-based relationships through loan officers who visited groups regularly. They relied on the social fabric of the group to underwrite and guarantee each other’s loans. Over time, client-centric MFIs started to identify additional needs and figured out ways to deliver more value through financial education, business training, and health services, all through the village bank model.

 

At GP, we have seen how our partners honor and value the voices of their clients. These MFIs continually solicit client feedback and adapt their service offering to better meet the needs of the women they serve. The best in class partners in our women-centered portfolio also know the important role of the loan officer. They recruit loan officers with not only financial knowledge, but also strong social and cultural skills - often hiring female officers from the communities they serve.

 

When it comes to serving women it is not just about what you deliver; it is about how you deliver it. It is about rooting your offering in the needs of women and designing solutions that address the unique nature of the challenges they face.

 

These learnings have been critical in identifying best in class partners in our Women-Centered Finance with Education and Health Initiatives. They also help inform our thinking as we expand into new product categories, like improved cookstoves, solar lights and home improvement finance – all of which have the potential to deliver benefits for women living in poverty.

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Creating a New GP Investment Initiative: Home Improvement Finance


By Kusi Hornberger, VP of Investment Research, Global Partnerships

 

In February, Global Partnerships made a $500,000 impact investment in Procaja, a microfinance organization working in rural Panama, to support Procaja’s home improvement loan portfolio. This was not only GP’s first investment in a partner in Panama, but also our first loan in a new investment initiative: Home Improvement Finance (HIF). This was all the result of a year’s worth of research coming to fruition.

 

I had the opportunity to participate in the development of this initiative and meet Procaja and their clients. During our visit, we met people like Jocelyna Rodriguez Villar, her husband Demetrio, and their two children, Krystal and Deusalino (pictured above). Jocelyna and her husband have used three incremental home improvement loans from Procaja. The first loan was $500 to replace their dirt floor with a cement floor. The second was $500 to add a tin roof replacing one made from palm leaves. The third was $500 to add security grills to their front door and windows, as they had recently been robbed while Demetrio was working.

 

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Jocelyna with her daughter and son in their home, standing on their new concrete floor.

 

 

The combination of all these loans allowed the Rodriguez Villar family to begin to replace a traditional hut home with a new, more secure home. For them, household health, security and sense of dignity have increased due to: (i) lower exposure to bad weather (roofs, walls and floors) and sources of disease (sanitation and water), (ii) physical protection from robbers or unwanted intruders, and (iii) improved confidence and sense of self-worth in the community.

 

In addition to insights from client visits like the one with the Rodriguez Villar family, there were three key factors that tipped our thinking in favor of launching HIF as a GP investment initiative:

 

  1. A large and growing problem: According to UN-Habitat, about one in four people live in conditions that harm their health, safety and prosperity. A McKinsey Global Institute report suggests that the global population who live in substandard housing units will expand to 1.6 billion people by 2025. This is an ongoing challenge facing poor households, particularly in the regions where we work.

  2. Focused on poor households: Unlike affordable housing, home improvements provided via microfinance organizations can be financed incrementally with loans, and thus reach a wider and lower income demographic.

  3. High-impact support services: In addition to tailored financing, we found that many microfinance organizations are also providing project budgeting and work planning, best practice construction education, as well as, on some occasions, assistance negotiating discounts on construction materials. This is consistent with our practice of investing in organizations that offer value-added services alongside access to credit that empower people to make the most of those loans.

 

A year ago, we set out to explore HIF as a potential initiative. Today, our investment in Procaja marks the first HIF partnership, as we now build an investment portfolio in this important and high-impact area of need. We are excited to share with you our expanding portfolio of initiatives as we continue to find more impactful and sustainable ways to address poverty.

 

Today, Jocelyna and her family feel safer, and they were full of pride as they showed me their home and the specific improvements they have added over the last two years.

 

As a parent, I know how important it is to provide a safe and secure home for the ones we love. I am proud GP is able to play a role in improving the health, security and dignity of households like the Rodriguez Villar’s.

 

Your support allows us to create initiatives like this, ensuring that we make impact-led investments in the most meaningful solutions for households living in poverty.

GiveBIG: Thing Globally, Give Locally

Between now and May 10th, all donations to Global Partnerships will be matched 100% (up to $16,000). Your gift will help us develop new initiatives and discover new partners that reach more families in poverty. Donate during GiveBIG to double your impact:

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