'Crying Won't Do Us Any Good': Typhoon Haiyan's Impact on CCT Clients in the Philippines
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Editor's Note: Valerie Malabonga, a guest blogger for Five Talents and a long-time supporter of our partner organization in the Philippines, the Center for Community Transformation (CCT), is currently in the country working as a volunteer to aid CCT's relief efforts. She has graciously offered to write a series of blog posts about the ongoing efforts to support the clients, or "community partners", of CCT.
Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on Friday, November 8, and decimated entire provinces in its path with winds over 150 mph and tsunami-like waves. My family was scheduled to be in the Philippines from November 15-December 1, so I volunteered and was invited by the Center for Community Transformation (CCT), Five Talents' partner in the Philippines, to visit the provinces of Iloilo and Capiz.
A twisted electric post in Estancia, Iloilo. It will take four months to completely restore power.
According to CCT staff member Dennis Monong, there are no casualties among their 3,762 community partners in Iloilo and Capiz, but 100 percent of the latter's homes and micro-businesses were affected, and in most instances totally wiped out. CCT staff members' homes and even CCT's office in Capiz were likewise damaged by Haiyan.
Download and Read Five Talents' 2012-2013 Annual Report
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To all of us here at Five Talents, November is an important month. It is around this time that we get to release our latest annual report and share stories, statistics and testimonies about the transformation that is happening across Asia, Africa and Latin America -- because of you.
Your prayers, advocacy and donations helped Five Talents serve 72,725 women and men in 2012-2013. As Dr. April Young, Chair of Five Talents USA's Board of Directors, puts it in her letter on Page 2 of the annual report, that is "72,725 stories" that each of you have played a role in over the last 12 months.
We are so grateful for the support of our friends and donors, and we trust that you will find our 2012-2013 Annual Report as inspiring as we do.
When you hear a woman like Matilda, in Bolivia, explaining how she challenged her family to save for their children's education; when you hear Consolate, in Burundi, attesting to her husband's transformation as a father and as an image-bearer of God; when you hear Nena, in the Philippines, explaining how she uses some of the profit from her micro-enterprises to help her neighbors, we hope you will also hear the voice of the Master saying to his faithful, trustworthy servant, "Well done."
Weekly Window: Photographer Ross Oscar Knight Raises Funds for Five Talents
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On Saturday, November 9, photographer Ross Oscar Knight took to the National Mall in Washington D.C. to lead a "photo walk" and raise money for Five Talents. We are extremely grateful for Ross and the other photographers who turned out for the event. They raised almost $400 for our micro-savings, microcredit and business skills training programs!
To view some incredibly beautiful photos from the event, check out Ross's blog or search for the hashtag #ROKDCPHOTO on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Five Talents Partner Issues Call for Help After Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines
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We are still days from learning the full extent of the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, but the latest estimates are sobering.
The government of the Philippines estimates that at least 4 million people have been affected by the typhoon. There are reports that in one area alone, Tacloban, 10,000 people have died. The number of fatalities is likely to rise as communications channels are restored and access improves to impacted areas. At this stage, more than 660,000 are estimated to be living without shelter.
This storm was considered one of the strongest tropical storms ever to hit land and caused catastrophic damage.
At times like these, we all want to do something that can make a difference. The good news is, we can.
What Is Financial Inclusion? This Video Provides a Great Explanation
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If you've spent much time on this blog, or if you read our daily tweets, you've likely stumbled across the words "financial inclusion".
Like many other buzzwords in the world of microfinance and international development, "financial inclusion" doesn't exactly define itself. The expression refers to the movement to provide basic financial services -- like formal savings and lending opportunities -- to folks who, for one reason or another, have never been able to set foot in a bank.
Where we live, it sometimes seems like there are more banks than 7-Elevens and Starbucks cafes combined. But in countries like Burundi, South Sudan, Myanmar and Bolivia, banking institutions are often few and far between. Even when women and men living on less than $2 a day are able to walk to a bank, or bike to one, they often cannot afford the fees that are required to open an account. As a result, they lean on family, friends and informal money-lenders for infusions of capital to grow their business, improve their homes or pay for their children's education.
Designate Your Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) Pledge to Five Talents
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It's that time of year again! Did you know that federal civilian, postal, and military donors participating in the Combined Federal Campaign can donate to Five Talents using our CFC code: #10122?
All contributions are tax deductible, as allowed by law, plus convenient payroll deductions make giving even easier. Contact your workplace or area Combined Federal Campaign manager for a pledge card.
Or you can download a pledge card by clicking here. But don't forget to enter the Five Talents charity code: #10122.
Weekly Window: Melina at Her Roadside Shop in Tanzania
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This photo by Adam Dickens captures Melina at work in her kiosk in Iringa, Tanzania. She is one of 3,548 women who participate in weekly group meetings, where members can make savings deposits, borrow money and receive training in core business skills. Five Talents partners in Tanzania with the Mama Bahati Foundation (MBF), a local organization that was registered as an NGO in February 2006.
One of the standout features of Five Talents' programs is the business skills training component. Click here to read about the MBF credit officers who serve as coach and mentor to women like Melina.
Survey: Your Answers Will Help Us Increase Online Engagement
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We love receiving donations, of course, but you can support Five Talents in other ways, too. In fact, online engagement -- such as commenting on blog posts or sharing links on Facebook and Twitter -- is critical to awakening new friends and supporters to Five Talents' transformative microsavings, microcredit and training programs.
Please take the following five-question survey designed to help us gauge supporter engagement. You should spend no more than 1-2 minutes on the survey. Your honest feedback will help us continue to grow and mature our online marketing activities.
Weekly Window: On the Road Outside of Thungururu, Kenya
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This lovely photo was taken by Mahoo Lyimo, Development Officer with Five Talents UK, during her recent program visit to Kenya. She was on the road outside of Thungururu Village, the latest community to celebrate the arrival of a new community-owned bank, when she and those with her came upon this group of school children.
In a recent blog post, she wrote about the folks she met in Thungururu:
Formerly some people were travelling up to 60km to visit their local bank. These village banks have improved financial access considerably. The village banks are also flexible enough to adapt to the changing needs of their communities and can adapt their products accordingly. For the savvier minded member they can even own shares in the village bank and get a healthy return at the end of the year.
Savings Groups Making Healthier Families and Churches in Rural Kenya
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NAIROBI, Kenya -- I saw a miracle yesterday.
I've been in Nairobi attending the second GAFCON Conference with a number of fellow Five Talents Board Members and leaders, meeting many of our clients and partners and making new friends. We took a day away from the conference yesterday to drive up to Thika to visit the Thika Community Development Trust, a savings group sponsored by Five Talents.
Under the guidance and leadership of Bishop Gideon Githiga, and the direction of Peterson Karanja, Program Director, the Trust has grown dramatically from its modest beginnings in 2005. The program now has almost 5,000 members, 41 savings groups, and over $1 million in accumulated savings. The program is being acknowledged a great success, and is already being replicated in one adjacent diocese, with two more dioceses planning to launch similar programs. I spoke briefly this morning with Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, the Primate of Kenya, who spoke highly of the Thika program and said that he hopes that they will eventually have similar programs in every diocese in Kenya!
Exciting as this is, Five Talents has always been about more than numbers. Indeed, there are numerous microfinance programs in existence that can boast growing membership and good financial performance. However, Five Talents has always had a commitment to reach the "riskier, poorer, and smaller" areas that have been underserved by commercial programs, and has maintained a focus on the whole person, rather than just financial performance. And by that standard, this program is even more impressive.
I had visited Thika twice before, and had heard Bishop Gideon state previously his commitment to microfinance as a key part of ministry in his diocese. But yesterday I heard firsthand the testimony of a parish priest, who stated that families in his community had grown stronger as a result of their participation in their savings group, and that their prosperity and well-being had increased to the point that they were able to meet their own needs, and were able to contribute more to the life of the church as a result.