Exploring Oikocredit’s work in Bolivia
Village banking with Bolivian Oikocredit partner, CRECER.
Oikocredit’s second study tour for this year is about to begin. A total of 15 participants, including staff, volunteers, members and investors will travel to Bolivia to visit partners, those organizations Oikocredit invests in, from 11 to 17 May.
The Bolivian study tour will begin in Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Santa Cruz). Study tour participants will meet with Oikocredit staff and gain an insight into how Oikocredit partners contribute to financial inclusion and development in rural areas of Bolivia.
In Bolivia, one of the poorest countries in Latin America, poverty is widespread, particularly among the various indigenous populations. The percentage of Bolivians that live below the national poverty line is higher in rural and peri-urban areas where three out of four people live in poverty. Bolivian rural areas have traditionally been deprived of investment but the country is now addressing the social exclusion of the indigenous population as well as women. Oikocredit in turn has been investing in various microfinance institutions and agricultural businesses to improve livelihoods.
Social and financial benefits that Oikocredit’s brought
Oikocredit’s financial involvement in Bolivia began in 1987 through staff visits from the regional office in Uruguay. A Bolivian country office was opened in 2007 and currently has six staff members. Since 2006, Oikocredit has disbursed approximately € 79 million in Bolivia with a current outstanding portfolio of € 45 million. In addition to providing financing, Oikocredit Bolivia promotes social performance management among its partners.
Participants of the study tour will visit 10 Oikocredit partners to see first-hand the financial and social benefits Oikocredit has brought to the region. This will include seven microfinance institutions, one production partner and two former partners in Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, and La Paz. The participants will visit the former partners to show how Oikocredit helped them to become sustainable businesses.