News & Insights

The Impact of Giving

by Carol Gullstad, Global Partnerships donor

All parents want the same thing for their childrenthey want their kids to be healthy, educated and have sustainable economic opportunity. We heard this sentiment expressed in every household visited during our recent PartnerTrip to Peru. However, not all have the access and opportunities to succeed.
My own family is lucky. We are educated, healthy and economically secure. Knowing that only a very small percentage of the world population enjoys these comforting thoughts, we want to help others. However we always struggle to determine the right mix of personal time and money to apply to all the great causes just in our own backyard, let alone the rest of the world.
As a family we want to do the most good for the most people with our available resources. Thus, after attending the Business of Hope luncheon for many years, we decided to learn more about GP’s impact work first hand.
This past June I traveled to Peru with my 12-year-old son and saw Global Partnerships’ (GP) support of microentrepreneurship in action. We visited 10 clients with businesses ranging from seamstress to fruit cart vendor to farmer. We observed training sessions provided by GP's Peruvian partners and attended communal bank meetings.
Since its inception GP has invested nearly $100 million in loans and grants to 66 different partner organizations—who together now serve over 2.26 million people. These are impressive statistics, but it’s not just the numbers and the money. It’s the method. For an entrepreneur it’s about planning, budgeting and support networks. It’s about how to create a customer experience, deliver the service or product at a good value and get repeat business. All of this takes time, money and training. We saw how GP’s approach knocks it out of the ball park and has been such an important catalyst for change.
Adelaida Quispe, a client we visited in Tomilla, outside Arequipa, used to earn $30 per week sewing for someone else. She began with a $75 loan that allowed her to purchase a sewing machine. Initially she sewed traditional costumes for holidays. Then through the training received by GP partner ADRA, she broadened her product line to include costumed dolls. These dolls are now sold in several area shops and she was able to buy a second machine to expand her business. She now earns $350 per week. A loan of $75 has transformed the life of her entire family and will allow her to educate her children.
In Urcos we attended a “tambo” (communal bank) meeting conducted by partner Credivision. We witnessed a training session on the five key elements of marketing and sales presented in a visual of a hand. This was business literacy provided in a way that was actionable for clients who may have left school in 5th grade. The women enthusiastically chanted the tenants and said they looked forward to the meetings. They loved the learning, support and the camaraderie of their peers.
We visited a communal bank meeting in Chincero that had a session focus on customer service. One member of this group known as Las Leonas, Hilda Huallpayunca Callanuapa, had embraced the training thoroughly and was encouraging others. Through interactions with tourists she learned enough words in five languages (Italian, French, English, Chinese and Portuguese) to converse with customers. She insisted we go to her store. She was so effective in her presentation of product and customer interaction that we fondly called her the “Nordstrom” of Chincero for the rest of our journey.
On the last day of our trip we were buying last minute souvenirs in Cusco. I asked my son if he was ready to negotiate price. He said, “I really don’t feel comfortable bargaining because I know that one sol (Peruvian dollar) means so much more to them than it does to me.” At that moment I knew he understood the importance of Global Partnerships’ work. GP has made an incredible impact on people’s lives in a way that is measurable, scalable and sustainable. That is why I can so enthusiastically support GP. We have seen that every dollar my family donates or invests will creates exponential leverage, right in our own “backyard.”

Blog Tags: communal banking   Latin America   microcredit   microfinance   PartnerTrips   Peru   village bank   

Carol Gullstad and a Peruvian weaver.
Carol Gullstad (left) is pictured with one of the Peruvian weavers she visited in Chincero. Photo © Global Partnerships 2013

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