Financial Education & Fundación Paraguaya – ACCION Ambassadors Blog the World – June 15, 2011

> Posted by Center Staff
From China to Paraguay, ACCION International’s Ambassadors are blogging from the field.  Their dedicated blog is a great view of microfinance from roughly 5-6 feet, instead of the frequent bird’s-eye view from 30,000′.  We’ll be cross-posting, but it’s also a good idea to consider subscribing.
We recently showcased Jason Loughnane‘s  post on Akiba’s new loans via a program that bears a passing resemblance to Energy Links. This time around, we’re excited to share “The Classroom Beneath the Tree,” Leah Vinton‘s take on financial literacy as promoted by Fundación Paraguaya.
Vinton’s June 14 post starts out:
2,700 women by December. If Fundación Paraguaya has their way, they will reach 2,700 women with enhanced financial literacy training in order to reach the even larger Fundación goal of assisting more than 6,000 women to increase their incomes enough to surpass the poverty line by the end of December. No small task.

On Friday I was privileged enough to experience one of these training sessions with Eliana, a capacitadora, or trainer, that works with the Educación Emprendadora, or entrepreneur education, initiative of Fundación Paraguaya. We waited under a large tree near the neighborhood of San Carlos, about 45 minutes outside Asunción. Class would be held there as various benches circled the tree, making it a suitable outdoor classroom. We sat underneath its long shadow and looked towards San Carlos’ dusty streets, waiting for the women to appear.
Financial training is a tough topic. While it could no doubt be of use to borrowers who have had little formal education, its implementation in MFIs that are already stretched thin in both staff and resources can be daunting. One asesora I spoke with oversees 58 comites of women, about 870 individuals. Additionally, as one of the Fundación managers told me, some women cannot attend meetings because it is time that they have to spend away from their businesses and families. Time is money for these women. Additional training is a cost to both the institution and the borrowers.

Read the rest of Vinton’s post, and check out the other Ambassadors’ reports, by clicking here.
Image credit: bdesham

Have you read?

Martin Burt of Fundación Paraguaya: Stretching Microfinance, Narrowing Poverty
Measure? Alleviate? No, Eliminate Poverty