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Seeds of Savings: Investing for Change

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Alejandro

Community Bank member Alejandro Romero invested his savings to improve his small business.

Gracias to our Philanthropiece team member, Martha Drew, for providing this blog post about our Community Bank Program in Baja California Sur, Mexico. This is the first in our “Seeds of Savings” reports from the field! Martha, our Regional Coordinator in Loreto, trains community members in our savings group methodology and empowers them to create a culture of savings in their families and communities. Please see below for the English translation.

En este momento en Baja California Sur, México, Philanthropiece maneja 26 Bancos Comunitarios quienes sirven mas que 500 personas. Acabamos de terminar una etapa de las liquidaciones de los ahorros, y arrojan datos interesantes. Es evidente que las necesidades de cada comunidad y sus socios son diversas. Hemos visto que los socios están ahorrando para: la educación de sus niños, gastos medicales, cosas personales, reparaciones de la casa, compra de tierra, comida para las familias, y más.

El avance en los grupos es palpable en general. Los grupos están implementando el Fondo Extra, que es una manera para los socios de ahorrar más de las acciones máximas cada semana. También, los socios están practicando la reinversión de sus ahorros en los negocios, mostrando un uso excellente de sus ahorros. Un  ejemplo de esto es el socio Alejandro Romero del Banco Comunitario Las Lomas en Loreto,  quien tiene un pequeño negocio de lavado de autos. Alejandro, después de una liquidación del verano, invirtió sus ahorros para compar una máquina de presión para lavar motores y una más para pulir autos. De este modo, su participación en el Banco Comunitario le ayudó de ampliar los servicios de su negocio, y por lograr más ingresos para la familia.

[English translation]

Philanthropiece currently manages 26 Community Banks in Baja California Sur, Mexico, that serve more than 500 people. We have just completed a round of savings liquidations, and our data collected from program participants is interesting. It’s apparent that the needs of each community, and of each savings group member are diverse. We have seen that members are saving for: their children’s education, medical expenses, personal items, home repairs, land purchase, food for their families, and more.

The progress that the groups are making is palpable. Many of the Community Banks are implementing the “Extra Fund,” which is a way for members to save more than their maximum actions each week. As well, members are reinvesting their savings into businesses, showing an excellent use of their funds. One example of this is Alejandro Romero, a member of the Las Lomas Community Bank of Loreto. Alejandro has a small car-washing business. After the summer liquidation of his group, he invested his savings to purchase a pressure machine to wash cars, as well as a car polishing machine. In this way, Alejandro’s participation in the Community Bank has allowed him to enhance the services he offers with his business, and has also helped him to achieve a higher level of income for his family.

MarthaIMG_5756 Drew has been working with Philanthropiece since January 2014; she is passionate about community development. Martha also serves as an instructor at the Universidad Autónoma de México in the department of Alternative Tourism, and is a mother of two school aged children.

 

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