Women in Nicaragua cannot access traditional loans without presenting significant assets for collateral and, traditionally, Nicaraguan women do not own such assets. Therefore, it is extremely difficult for them to get seed capital to start their own businesses and supplemental capital to continue to grow them. JustHope’s Microcredit Coordinator explains, “What we want is that women have the resources to live their lives without depending on other people.”
Since 2009, JustHope’s microcredit program has provided over $50,000 in microcredit loans to 157 women through 15 microcredit banks in Nicaragua. What began with 10 women in Chacraseca has expanded to 13 banks within the community as well as banks in the smaller villages of La Flor and Santa Emilia. After 10 years, the repayment rate continues to be 100%!
JustHope’s microcredit banks are:
- Boca de Cántaro (Chacraseca)
- El Paraiso (Chacraseca)
- El Recreo (Chacraseca)
- La Arnera (Chacraseca)
- La Bolsa (Chacraseca)
- La Concepción (Chacraseca)
- La Flor
- Las Lomas (Chacraseca)
- Miramar (Chacraseca)
- Mojón Sur (Chacraseca) (2)
- Pedro Aráuz Norte (Chacraseca)
- Puerta de Piedra (Chacraseca)
- Raúl Cabezas (Chacraseca)
- Santa Emilia
JustHope's microbanks are capitalized by our partners
- All Souls Unitarian Church of Tulsa, OK
- Christ Episcopal Church of Cody, WY
- College Hill Presbyterian Church of Wichita, KS
- Columbus Community Congregational UCC of Columbus, MT
- Disciples Christian Church of Bartlesville, OK
- First Christian Church of Smithville, MO
- First United Presbyterian Church of Bushnell, IL
- Ktizo UCC of Phoenix, AZ
- Medical Students of A.T. Still University in Kirksville MO
- Messiah Lutheran Church of Denver, CO
- Redeemer Covenant Church of Tulsa, OK
- St. Andrews Lutheran Church of Champaign, IL
- Woodridge Christian Church of Wichita, KS
- various individual donors
Here’s how it works
JustHope’s microcredit program is built on social capital instead of collateral, so each woman in the program backs the loans of the other women in her microcredit bank. If one cannot pay a regular loan payment, the others pay it for her. For this reason, it is extremely important that members invite only those they trust and believe are responsible.
Once a woman is invited by her neighbors to join a microcredit bank, she submits an application to JustHope’s microcredit coordinator, who visits her to discuss the practicality of the proposed project and the amount of money requested. Then, the proposal is submitted to the group of women, who make a final decision.
All women in the program are required to go through training, which consists of learning how to choose a project that is likely to succeed, how to make a budget, how to market their business, and how to manage their income and expenses. JustHope’s microcredit coordinator continues to train the women, and they meet monthly to talk about their successes and failures and to figure out ways to support one another when problems arise.
The women who participate in JustHope’s microcredit program primarily run small stores, grow pigs, sell tortillas, or farm small plots of land. Loan amounts range from $100-$500 with the amount a woman can borrow increasing each year she is in the program. Paying off one loan earns her the right to receive a larger loan the next cycle. Different projects have different repayment terms since the types of businesses – and, therefore, the regularity of income – varies, but we continue to have a 100% repayment rate on these loans.
Today I feel secure because I have a way to earn.