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To combat rural poverty in the coffee-growing regions of western Honduras, Rotary Club of San Diego Downtown Breakfast seeks funding to establish a microcredit program for women smallholder farmers and their communities, in partnership with host club Rotary Club of San Marcos.
Honduras is the second poorest country in Latin America. More than 60 percent of the population lives below the poverty line of $2.00 per day; 36 percent live in the direst circumstances. Sixty percent of employed rural Hondurans derive their income from agriculture or natural resources. Most lack access to the training, services, technology, inputs, and capital necessary to ensure business viability and growth. All are affected by a changing climate: increasingly variable rainfall and prolonged periods of drought.
Despite these challenges, Honduras has considerable economic potential and possesses ample natural resources to provide for its people. The coffee and horticulture industry (36 percent of the country's agricultural GDP) in particular holds great promise but access to loan capital is desperately needed to fuel significant and sustainable growth and a way out of poverty.
Through microcredit, this Rotary project will enable Honduran women to acquire business literacy skills to start or improve operations. Their businesses are critically important in augmenting annual income, with many direct benefits for families: more affordable food, healthcare, and clothing; improved health outcomes (through better nutrition); expanded educational opportunities for rural youth; and greater self-esteem among women, in turn, building stronger communities.
The project will be based on the Grameen Bank model, in use since 1976. The model is built on a system of "solidarity lending"; loans are made to groups of women (95 percent of borrowers) that are typically ignored by traditional banks and marginalized in their communities. No collateral is required and there are no legal documents - the entire system is based on trust. Women learn the basics of business and finance before credit is extended.
The Honduran project will replicate successes in other Central America markets: since 2012, seven microcredit projects have been implemented, benefiting 500+ coffee women in four countries (Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, and Colombia). More than $200,000 in loans have been funded, used directly for coffee operations or other pursuits, like handicrafts and pig farming, that generate life-changing ancillary income for the women and their families.
Implementation of the Honduras project will be under the direction of the International Women's Coffee Alliance (IWCA) and Alianza de Mujeres en Café (AMUCAFE), a Honduran cooperative with more than 200 members. Verena Fishersworring will serve as project lead, working closely with IWCA, AMUCAFE, and members of the San Marcos Rotary Club, who will manage funds and assist with training and program implementation. Verena held this same oversight role for the Guatemala and Colombia projects, when she worked with partner Hans Neumann Foundation.
Training will commence in fall 2018, with a full project rollout in 2019. Funds will be distributed throughout the year as needs dictate and loans are repaid.
This project needs to receive some pledges to go to the next level. Please check the "Financing" tab to see the list of current pledges. Once the amount pledged is equal to the project budget, the status of the project will be automatically changed to "Fully Pledged". Click here to pledge support for this project.
DDF contributions in grey are pending approval of the corresponding district committee.
Note: as of July 1, 2015 there is a 5% additional support fee for cash contributions. This fee does not appear in the financials above because it does not apply if the funds are sent directly to the project account (without going through TRF, and therefore without Paul Harris credit). Clubs sending their cash contribution to TRF must be aware they will have to send an additional 5%.
Project Supporting Documents
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