Monday, June 15, 2009

Field Report: Emprender in Bolivia

Kiva hires a number of fellows to report on progress with various lending projects. I received this report today from a Kiva fellow working with Emprender in Peru, one of the organizations that we have loaned through:

"I have been working as a Kiva Fellow in Emprender’s offices for the past 3 months, and have been greatly impressed with the high quality of their staff, their commitment to the people in their community, and unique services they offer their clients.

In particular, Christian Rivera should be recognized for his work. He is Emprender’s Kiva Coordinator. He posts profiles of Emprender clients on the website for Kiva lenders to fund, keeps in touch with both lenders and Kiva staff, and helps to make sure Emprender staff understands and participates in Kiva in the best, most effective way possible.

Christian has been wonderful in this position, but will soon be passing the responsibility to another Emprender staff member, Jose Luis.
Christian plans to focus his attention on a unique project that Emprender is starting. He is also a doctor, and has organized a medical program for Emprender clients.

Sadly, Bolivia has the worst health conditions in South America and is second only to Haiti in the hemisphere. In an effort to improve the health and well being of their society, Emprender, with the help of the Center for the Sustainable Development (CEDESS) and An Ber, will open free clinics for their clients and offer medical treatment at reduced costs for the members of client families. The clinics will be located within Emprender offices, making access convenient and efficient. They will even offer medical services for other community members in semi-urban and rural areas that are under-serviced by other medical facilities. These clinics will provide basic and preventative medicine, family planning, and other health education services. The first of the six clinics will open within the next three months, as soon as the final paperwork has been completed. Emprender hopes to reach 50% of their clients by the end of the first year, and 100% of their clients by the third year of the project. In addition to organizing the project, Christian will be the doctor at Emprender’s first clinic. I am constantly impressed by his ability to wear many hats and know he looks forward to this transition in his job.

It is everyone’s hope that by providing medical services, Emprender’s borrowers won’t face financial disaster caused by preventable illness. Ideally, these medical services will improve the lives of Emprender’s borrowers, increase their repayment capacity, and help inoculate the family from medical risk.

I saw first hand the ways that simple medical treatment could help an Emprender client. Alejandra and her husband Demecio purchase, raise, and then sell ducks in the small town of El Torno outside of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where Emprender has a field office. Alejandra has been selling ducks for over 20 years, and often has more than 70 ducks in her yard at a time. With the income from her and Demecio’s business, they are raising their 8 children. Unfortunately, a few weeks before I met Alejandra, she stepped on a piece of glass that cut her foot. Perhaps from working so close to animals, or perhaps due to just bad luck, the cut got infected. The infection has grown and grown and Alejandra has had trouble walking, and now spends most of the day off her feet. Her business is suffering, because she can make fewer trips each week to the market to sell, and is reliant on people coming to her home to purchase ducks. Emprender hopes to be able to help its clients by providing basic medical care that can help them feel better and continue to succeed in their businesses.

It has been a pleasure for me to get to know Emprender’s staff across the country and to learn about the many ways in which this socially focused organization provides for its clients — Kiva borrowers.

Thank you again for lending to Emprender’s clients and for believing in the power you have to make a difference. Gracias!


Sierra Visher

Kiva Fellow"

No comments:

Post a Comment