Economic Inclusion Project Efforts Boost Sustainable Livelihoods for 70,000-plus in Peru and Ecuador
USAID/WOCCU data shows substantial progress providing access to savings, credit services and entrepreneurship opportunities for Venezuelan migrants and vulnerable local residents
LIMA, Peru—The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) on May 20 brought together partners virtually for the sixth quarterly meeting of the Economic Inclusion Project, where stakeholders presented data showing just how successful EIP staff has been in generating better opportunities for the Venezuelan migrant and refugee population, and vulnerable local communities in Peru and Ecuador.
“We have found that without financial education and access to formal financial services for vulnerable populations, efforts to boost entrepreneurship, promote employability and prevent gender-based violence are not truly sustainable,” said Jene Thomas, USAID Mission Director in Peru, in his opening remarks. “That is why, thanks to our 14 (financial institution) partners in Peru and Ecuador, we have helped 71,272 beneficiaries get access to savings and credit services and achieved, for the first time, in providing Venezuelan citizens with access to loans."
During the first 20 months of the Economic Inclusion Project, 5,624 Venezuelan, Peruvian and Ecuadorian entrepreneurs have also benefited from programs designed to consolidate their businesses in conjunction with EIP partners.
“For me it is a great satisfaction to finish paying my third loan and to be able to request another one for a fourth time, with a vision of a greater future than the one we had a year ago, showing that we can grow as companies, that we can be recognized as a stable business and, above all, to grow our credit history so that many more doors will open for us,” said Deisy Arbelay, a Venezuelan entrepreneur and beneficiary of financial services provided by MF Prisma Credit Union.
The Economic Inclusion Project has also trained 8,387 beneficiaries through its financial education programs, and trained employees in partner financial institutions on the program methodology, so they can continue providing financial education to more people moving forward.
Since 65% of EIP participants are women, many of whom are in vulnerable situations, the Project is also developing a strategy for the prevention of gender-based violence, with the objective of helping them achieve economic autonomy in order to reduce the recurrence of violent situations.
"To continue…I think that is the biggest challenge. To continue with this project that has definitely transformed the lives of so many people here in Lima, and I know it is happening the same in Ecuador. Continuing in a planned manner will allow more financial institutions to join what is already an unstoppable movement of institutions that believe that Venezuelan migration can have a positive impact on the host communities," said Oscar Pérez, President, Unión Venezolana in Peru.
The Economic Inclusion Project will continue through June 2023.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development platform for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented 300+ technical assistance programs in 90 countries. Worldwide, 86,451 credit unions in 118 countries serve 375 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.