News & Insights
Solidarity is the key to growth: Visiting a village bank in Nicaragua
by Norma Montenegro Pentzke, administrative coordinator, Global Partnerships
I’ve always believed that helping others is one of the best ways to grow as a person. On a recent field visit to a village bank affiliated with Pro Mujer in Nicaragua, a microfinance institution (MFI) and partner of Global Partnerships (GP), I saw the real power of solidarity in action.
The women at the village bank we visited in Masaya, Nicaragua did not hesitate, not even for a moment, to support one of their members, who was sick and needed surgery. During the meeting, they helped her with money from their own savings, as well as made payments on their own loans. It’s impressive to see how they shared from the little they had. This is the real meaning of solidarity.
I learned that, by supporting their colleagues in need, they actually help themselves too, by giving confidence to the MFI’s and investors, on the trust of their compliance in honoring their debts.
This spirit of solidarity is what makes group credit work. It is amazing to see how these women help themselves by helping others, perhaps without even realizing the true impact of their kindness. Solidarity is their warranty and it is the value of their word when they do not have many material assets, but too many needs.
With the village bank approach, it is not an individual’s capacity to pay that the MFI values, but the group’s payment capacity. This group credit approach allows more women to have access to credit products, and greater amounts that fulfill their needs and help them to develop, or improve their business, generating for them and their families a better quality of life.
It is just amazing to see the impact that solidarity causes in the life of people, far more than they could even imagine!