Healthy Women = Healthy Businesses

Throughout my Kiva fellowship, I have met with a number of borrowers and have personally witnessed the impact that micro-loans have had in their lives whether it be growing their business, providing for their family, learning how to save money, or giving a borrower an opportunity they wouldn’t have otherwise. As with many of Kiva’s field partners, the impact is not only offering a source of economical development, but the complimentary services provided to the borrowers. FAPE (Foundation for the Assistance of Small Business) is one of these field partners.

FAPE’s Dr. Teresa Upún and me

In 2010, FAPE initiated its health project for borrowers focusing on health care and preventative health education. FAPE recognized that when a borrower suffers from an illness, the business and the family also suffer, as well as their savings. “Healthy Women = Healthy Businesses” is FAPE’s motto for its health project. Last year FAPE decided to extend its health project in one of the most impoverished rural areas of Guatemala, Alta Verapaz. Because this region is far away, many of the borrowers do not have access to heath care and many children are malnourished. 

Dr. Teresa Upún providing information on parasites and prevention

During one of FAPE’s visits to Alta Verapaz, I was able to participate as FAPE’s Dr. Teresa Upún provided antiparasitics and multi-nutrients to borrowers. Borrowers from nearby rural communities entered FAPE’s office in Alta Verapaz and received information regarding parasites and prevention from the doctor. The information was then translated from Spanish to Poqomchi’, the Mayan language in the area.

Family receiving information regarding antiparasitics and multi-nutrients

After the borrowers listened to the information, one by one Dr. Teresa gave them antiparasitics and multi-nutrients. 

Family receiving the antiparasitic

A total of 78 families from seven communities visited FAPE’s office that day. This health care was provided entirely free to the borrowers and their families.

Borrower showing her multi-nutrients

Dr. Teresa Upún says she is happy to help people in their time of need with her medical services. With FAPE, she is able to care for those who are more vulnerable and don’t have the opportunity to receive health consults. Dr. Teresa is motivated to continue with her work when she is greeted by more healthy people and sees more smiles in these communities of need. 

About the author

Kelly Diggins

Kelly was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. She received a BA in Global Economics and Latin American Studies from UC Santa Cruz, which included studying abroad at Complutense University of Madrid, Spain for one year, and a summer in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Kelly also received a Trans-Global Executive MBA from Saint Mary’s College of California. During the MBA program, Kelly became interested in corporate social responsibility, including the social and environmental benefits and impacts of an organization. Additionally, Kelly co-authored a business plan to promote her client’s sustainability principles across Zanzibar, East Africa in a way that resulted in certain social, cultural, and financial benefits to local communities at the base of the economic pyramid. Kelly has extensive experience in Latin America as an Amigos de las Americas volunteer working on community service projects and focusing on sustainable development while living in Honduras, Paraguay, and The Dominican Republic. Kelly is excited for this opportunity to serve as a Kiva Fellow and participate in collaborative economic development.