by Josh Wilcox, KF10 Ecuador
Please join me in welcoming the latest Field Partner to the Kiva platform and third in Ecuador, Cooperativa San José! They are headquartered in the small village of San José de Chimbo and have 5 other branch offices within the Bolivar and Los Ríos provinces. Located in the heart of the country up in the Andes Mountains, Cooperativa San José offers various types of savings and credit products to its members.
Cooperativa San José will be working with Kiva to administer loans to their ventanillas rurales (group loans in the countryside). The majority of these borrowers works in agriculture and predominately grows corn, potatoes, beans, tomatoes, among other crops. Many also raise small animals or have a small store within their home to augment their income, since their harvests often do not provide them with adequate income to support their families. These farmers will also travel weekly to the fairs in the village to sell their grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Each ventanilla rural consists of 12-30 people within the same community who all take out a loan of the same amount. Upon forming the groups, the borrowers have the opportunity to choose the terms of the loan depending on the needs of their businesses. During the harvest season, for example, loans are often paid back in one lump sum after 10 months once their crops have been harvested.
Cooperativa San Jose also offers informal education to all members of the groups during their monthly meetings with a loan officer and is instilling the importance of saving within its borrowers by requiring each member of the group to save $10 each month over the course of the loan term. These funds are put into a group savings account and can be used as the group sees fit once the loans have been successful repaid in full.
Josh Wilcox is serving his second and final placement with Cooperativa San José in Chimbo, Ecuador. Help out the Ecuadorian farmers with Kiva’s newest Field Partner here. If there are no currently fundraising loans, feel free to support other South American entrepreneurs here.