A few kilometres from Huaringa is the Chua Visalaya canton. In a corner of the main square, a group of eight women and two men are collecting the money for their monthly instalment to pay the BOB 68,000 group loan (€ 7,425.70). Alberta Mamani (president) and Pacesa Paucara (treasurer) call each member in turn. After counting the bills, they confirm the amount to Carla Albelo, Crecer loan’s officer.
This village bank ‘Ahorro y Crédito II’ has been in business for about 33 years and is in its 53rd loan cycle. It is one of Chua Visalaya’s 12 village banks. The group meets every 28 days and besides repaying, the group receives training from Carla. Today, the subject is the cervical cancer tests. Carla talked to those who had already done the test. She complimented them and encouraged the others to follow their example.
The session ends with an apthapi, an Andean picnic, with everyone bringing food: fresh cheese, potatoes, oca, habas and fish. Delicious!
I sat next to Fabiana Chana to enjoy the apthapi. Fabiana told me she had received BOB 2,500 (about €265) for her pigs and cow. She told me she also grows some products on her small plot of land. It was not easy to talk to Fabiana because her mother tongue is Aymara, as is the case for the other village bank members. Carla translated for us.
The provision of health services, especially those related to cancer prevention, is one of the three development services that Crecer offers. It also offers education, mainly through village banks, and organizes activities to benefit the community, such as sports competitions and environmental awareness programmes. One of the environmental awareness programmes was financed by Oikocredit through its capacity building funds.