The Rotary Solidarity Microcredit project's objective is to promote local development in low-income communities by providing micro-loans, financial education, and business mentoring to women that are victims of domestic violence, migrants, and refugees in the surrounding region of Brasilia, Brazil, and empower them as individual or networked microentrepreneurs (MEI).
The assistance will be made available to those MEI who wish to open, improve or expand their small businesses through micro-loans with lower rates than those available on the local financial market. The unemployment and underemployment rate in Brasilia is staggering. In the villages surrounding the capital of the country, the population rate has grown from 1,5 to 2,6 percent, becoming the fastest growing capital city in Brazil.
In addition, refugees and foreign migration from Bolivia, Haiti, Mozambique, Syria, Paraguay, and Venezuela have literally flooded the already strained social services of the Federal District. Particularly, there is an overwhelming need for Venezuelans to reinvent themselves and put to work skills they bring from their home country and sustain themselves economically. Also, the assistance will be made available to women that are victims of domestic violence and single mothers that demonstrate need and willingness to reinvent themselves. Many Venezuelans arriving in the region are single mothers.
Rotary Clubs in the Federal District are constantly receiving calls from Venezuelan families for financial assistance, especially in this time of pandemics, and many of them include 2 or more children in the household. Thus, Rotary Club Brasilia International (RCBI) is promoting a multi-club project to offer micro-loans, mentoring, and intermediation services to invite these vulnerable women and refugees to join Rotary Community Corps (RCC, by the Portuguese acronym of NRDC) groups in order to obtain necessary training and guidance to make good use of the financial assistance and grow their businesses, with the assistance of clubs and local partners. The RCC's will serve as networking groups for identifying opportunities such as mentoring by Rotarians (locally and internationally by means of teleconference), organize specific business training programs with specialized partners, and also to obtain feedback from the community so Rotary Clubs become more responsive to specific needs in enabling small businesses to stand on their own.
Project funds will be used for setting up a revolving fund, establishing partnerships for training, train the trainer processes for community credit, and finance the kickstart of regional networks assisted by RCCs and Rotary clubs. These activities and components will become sustainable after two rounds of revolving fund operations (approximately 200,000 dollars of micro-loan operations from the revolving fund) which are the minimum requirements established by TRF for microfinancing-related grants. Beneficiaries will pay only for administrative costs of keeping the project going as part of the replenishment of the revolving fund to be sustainable over time. As far as local partners, RCBI is negotiating with the Brazilian Small Business Training Service (SEBRAE), community banks, credit unions and fintech's in order to implement the project in accordance to a workplan described in the Global Grant proposal submitted to TRF. Another important partner of this project is the Central Bank of Brazil (BCB), which is the government agency responsible for financial regulation, that pretends to use this project as a case study to allow non-governmental organizations (like Rotary clubs) to promote micro-loan associated with mentoring projects throughout Brazil.
The project life cycle is estimated at three years. After that first phase, local Rotary clubs might set up a separate organization after the completion of the Global Grant commitments to scale up micro-loans and mentoring services with local partners and increased funding to assist more people in need. The calculated positive impact of the global grant is 3,600 beneficiaries or 12,000 people, approximately. In addition, the local sponsor club has discussed this proposal with the Rotary Action Group for Community and Economic Development (RAGCED) and the LaunchDetroit Rotary project champions in order to validate the workplan and framework to guarantee the project success.