Need: Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Over 65% of the populations lives on $1.90 per day or less according to the World Bank. Challenges are greatest for women who lack access to capital and job opportunities. This leads to cycles of poverty that is compounded by lack of access to quality health care and education. Women living in poverty struggle to survive and to provide necessities for their families. By providing women who lack a credit history or collateral with access to small loans to start or grow enterprises, profits increase, and mothers invest in the health, education, and welfare of their families, which helps to break cycles of poverty.
Proposed Project: To enable underserved women living in impoverished communities of Roatan, Honduras with microloans and education to start or grow enterprises and become self-sufficient. This project intends to serve 250 women over the course of two microloan distribution cycles initially and hundreds more beyond the project timeline.
How: Cooperating Organization, Adelante Foundation, has over 20 years experience providing microfinance to this population in Honduras. They also have a series of education modules related to financial literacy that spans content related to debt burden appropriateness/assessment, budget planning and monitoring, the importance of savings, how to develop good credit history, to more specific industry related information for entrepreneurs working in retail, the food industry, agriculture, etc. Adelante Well-Being Officers are trained to identify gaps in knowledge to make suggestions on which areas the beneficiary should become more knowledgeable about. Adelante then provides the borrower with online education modules or offers to screen the training at a centrally located and accessible community space for small groups of women.
Timeline: Projected launch date is Fall, 2023. We anticipate it will take 18 months for two cycles of microcredit disbursements. Once funds are secured, Roatan Rotary Club will work closely with the Cooperating Organization to identify a suitable Well-Being Officer. Once hired, training and training of trainers will commence followed by borrower screening and microcredit business applications. Typical loan cycles are 6-12 months with an average closer to 10 months. Cooperating Organization will provide periodic updates and reports, and a final report upon completion.
Rotarian involvement: The international Rotary club has been actively involved with Rotary projects in Roatan and in mainland Honduras in the past. Nearly a 1/3 of the club (at least 10 members) have been to Honduras at least once, several have been on multiple occasions. The club members and their guests hope to do site visits once microloans for this project have been disbursed. The club has an upcoming dental mission also in Roatan later in 2023 and can coordinate activities and help where and if needed on the microfinance project.