One of the Association’s most popular projects is the revolving funds program. The objective of this program to give women access to income-earning opportunities by providing them with a small amount of funding to start a project. Revolving funds differ from common “micro-loans” because no interest is charged.
Members of the Association live across a large geographic area in the Western Highlands of Guatemala and organize themselves into groups of 15-25 women in each aldea, or village. Each group is encouraged to develop a business plan and apply for funding. These funds are only available to groups – not to individual women – and must be returned collectively.
Projects vary from soap-making, chocolate-making, and roadside tortilla stands to the most common enterprise: purchasing livestock, such as chickens, pigs, goats, and cows. Women who choose to raise livestock receive critical training from our agricultural and farm animal expert, Carlos. Carlos is an agro-ecologist from the local university who previously worked for Heifer International. He teaches women how to raise healthy livestock while maximizing profit.
Twice a year, each group sends a representative to the Asamblea (Assembly meeting). Here, members gather to report on the successes and challenges of their projects. Women often double their money with successful projects, using their profits to put food on the table, send their children to school, and reinvest in their business. Currently, there are a number of groups awaiting funding. To learn how you can sponsor a group, please contact us or donate online. This program is a wonderful example of sustainability and paying it forward!