News & Insights
GP Receives Impact Award from OPIC for “Access to Finance” Category
By Jessalyn Pinneo, development operations officer, Global Partnerships
We are delighted to announce that we were presented with an “Access to Finance” award as part of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation’s (OPIC, the U.S. government’s development finance institution) inaugural Impact Awards. Rick Beckett, our president & CEO, accepted the award on GP’s behalf from Rajiv Shah, USAID administrator, at a ceremony held at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC on March 11, 2014.
As our partner organizations and their clients can tell you, life without ready access to finance is hard. It traps individuals and families in a cycle of poverty that is all but impossible to break, with never quite enough capital to either save for the future or invest in making a small business sustainable.
For the past 20 years, we have been working with microfinance institutions (MFIs) and cooperatives throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to expand opportunity for people living in poverty by bringing affordable credit to them, responsibly and sustainably. Our investments in our partners has made an impact in the lives of thousands of families living in poverty. For example:
- For Adelaida in Tomilla, Peru, a $75 loan and a little business training provided by our partner, ADRA, were all she needed to launch her own business as a seamstress, increasing her income from $30 a week sewing for someone else to $350 per week as a small business owner.
- For María in rural Nicaragua, access to working capital to fund her farm has brought with it access to commercial markets where she can get a better price for her produce. Our investment in Aldea Global, our partner, helped her take her farm to the next level.
- For Santos in Jinotega, Nicaragua, a modest loan and technical assistance through our partner Aldea Global, helped him expand his farm and obtain Rainforest Alliance certification, giving him access to specialized markets that pay more for his eco-friendly coffee.
Access to finance has allowed Adelaida, María, Santos, and thousands of other clients of GP partners to establish or expand their businesses, helping them increase their income to send their children to school, improve their families’ living conditions, and enjoy happier, healthier, better lives. But you’ll notice that none of their stories end there.
Access to finance is, in fact, just the beginning.
Since 1994, Global Partnerships’ (GP) focus has been on finding ways to make a better life sustainable for impoverished populations. Over the years, it’s become crystal clear that access to capital is not the end goal but the foundation on which people in poverty can build better lives. Now, GP and our partners are working to identify other potentially market-sustained ways of expanding opportunity, building up and out from access to finance. In the past few years, we’ve learned that:
- Wrapping preventive health care into village bank meetings works as a sustainable means of providing screenings for diseases like cancer and diabetes, educating women about their health and the health of their families, and even providing dental care.
- 93% of off-grid households* are interested in the difference a solar light would make in their lives, and those that use a loan to purchase either a solar light or a solar home system report savings vs. the cost of kerosene, increased productivity once they have a reliable light source after dark, and improved health for entrepreneurs and their families.
- Using community cooperative networks to place appropriately stocked community pharmacies in the homes or businesses of community leaders means rural households can get care more affordably and sooner when a family member is ill.
These are just a few of the lessons GP has learned, and we continue to research and test new ways to provide meaningful opportunity to people living in poverty.
We are truly honored to join seven remarkable organizations today as a recipient of OPIC’s inaugural Impact Awards in the Access to Finance category. From small businesses to renewable resources to private equity, each of these organizations is focused on positively impacting our world and its future through innovation, one of GP’s driving principles. Through innovation, we’ve discovered that access to finance is the foundation on which we can build a world of opportunity. Global Partnerships is committed to identifying and implementing the best, market-sustained ways to do just that.
*397 households in rural Nicaragua were surveyed in a market research study conducted by GP and our partner FDL.
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