Beyond Microfinance: A Holistic Approach to Poverty Eradication

Manila Bulletin, October 25, 2010 | Go to article overview

Beyond Microfinance: A Holistic Approach to Poverty Eradication


Mama Lutz, a single parent wanted to provide for the needs of her four (4) children. She started by cooking various native delicacies (such as "Linanggang," snack food mixture of cassava, sweet potato sugar rice and banana in woven baskets) in Sto.Domingo Albay and her enterprise started in 2006. She borrowed microcredit. She attended food training by DTI, participated in DTI's "One Town, One Product" (OTOP), recommended by DTI as one of the 'Best Native Food Products Producer." contributing to her towns economic growth and cultural heritage. Today her "Linanggang" and other delicacies are well known and distributed in the malls of Legazpi and Albay. She wants to further improve her packaging and invest in technology to lengthen shelf life. Annual sales has now reached more than a million mark. She is grateful to TSPI not only for helping her with her business but also with the schooling of her son who graduated with a degree in Computer Engineering from STI and another son still studying.In 2007, Nanay Adelaida of La Union borrowed P7000 as an initial loan from TSPI for her loam weaving business. She is now in her 7th loan cycle. She also raises pigs which is in demand. Today through hard work and reinvestments, her business has grown and generates employment for 25 people in her community. She is envisioning of expanding her business by supplying department stores in Manila and further cement relationship with her suppliers from Vigan and Baguio.In 2006 Feliza Buela borrowed P4000 from TSPI for her growing junkshop business. Feliza started from "scratch" by salvaging cardboard from garbage, collect papers, bottles and jars for resale. With her business, she helps the environment converting "trash to cash" and also give employment to out of school youth. Feliza attributes her success to faith, prayer and hard work. Her business is now in the million level.Marie Cor borrowed P5,000 from TSPI Kabuhayan micro credit in 2005 to purchase agricultural seedlings (guava and grapes) and other supplies for her agribusiness. She studied new technologies, attended training and seminars . Marie is proud of the agricultural practice of using farm waste as compost and not rely on synthetic/chemicals. She was awarded the Most Outstanding Farmer by La Union in 2007 for her bio intensive gardening using organic based products. And whats even better, she was able to send 5 children to school and build their own home. Her business grew to about P700k in 2008 to more than P800k in 2009.These and many more are just some of the inspiring success stories in microfinance. While access to credit is a major factor, these borrowers also demonstrated the willingness to learn continuously, to save and to reinvest their earnings.In the Philippines microfinance is synonymous to poverty reduction if not eradication. Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) provide a crucial solution to worldwide poverty through the financial services they offer. Nelly Villafuerte author of Microfinance Handbook Philippines says: "Microfinance means the supply services to the poor to improve their economic condition such as working capital, loans savings, insurance and money transfer." Per the Microfinance Development Strategy of Asian Development Bank, "Microfinance is the broad range of financial services such as deposits, loans, payment services, money transfers and insurance to poor and low-income income households through formal institutions such as rural banks and cooperatives, semi-formal institutions such as non-government organizations and informal sources such as money lenders and shopkeepers."I am fortunate to be a trustee of Tulay sa Pag-unlad, Inc. (TSPI) a non-stock, non-profit, microfinance organization, established in 1981 and now one of the leading microfinance organization in the Philippines. TSPI provides the poor with opportunities to lead self-sufficient, dignified and responsible lives through a broad range of financial and complementary services, where potentials for income generation, holistic development and capability build-up can be harnessed. …

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