Donate in March and Your Gift Will Be Matched!
Read more »
We're delighted to announce that current and former members of the board will be matching every donation made during March, up to $50,000.
World Mission Sunday: Connecting the Global Body of Christ
Read more »
I remember sitting in a tiny Anglican Church in Tarija, Bolivia, like it was yesterday. During those beautiful moments, I felt so connected to the global body of Christ as I listened to the Spanish-language sermon and took Communion.
As a Program Officer at Five Talents, I work directly with our local partners – the people who help to implement our programs -- to support them and help them track accomplishments over time. I always tell people that I have the best job at Five Talents because I get to interact with our partners on a daily basis and encourage them in their work.
Five Talents is based out of Fairfax, VA, and our mission is to fight poverty, create jobs, and transform lives through microenterprise development and business skills training. We partner with local, grassroots organizations and the Anglican Communion in Bolivia, Peru, South Sudan, Sudan, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Myanmar, Indonesia, and the Philippines. We seek to build the capacity of local people so they can help empower and transform their own communities. We are here because we believe in individual, family, and community transformation.
In the last four and a half years that I have worked at Five Talents, I have had the opportunity to travel to several countries to visit our partners and to see first-hand the work that they do.
If there is anything I have learned through being a part of church communities and Five Talents, it's that we need each other. We were created to be in relationship with one another. Some of the people who have most challenged me in my faith are our program partners. I wish I could introduce you to all of them! Their stories and their faith have inspired me in unimaginable ways.
5 Reasons to Support the Work of Five Talents
Read more »
Find out what makes our organization distinct -- and effective -- in the communities where we work.
Help Five Talents Meet an Urgent Need in Burundi
Read more »
In June of 2013, Five Talents set out with partner organization Mothers' Union to reach 220 new communities in Burundi. So far, 104 of these communities have received funding; 116 are still waiting.
We're asking for your help to close the gap.
The cost of delivering our services to one person in the program is $50. So, for example, a gift of $100 will enable two individuals to join the program. Gifts of $250 and $500 will enable five and 10 people, respectively.
How does $50 transform a life in Burundi? For every $50 we receive, one person will...
- Join a savings and loan association;
- Begin saving and borrowing money;
- Learn key business skills, such as accounting and marketing;
- Grow an existing micro-business, or start a new one;
- Contribute to an emergency savings fund;
- See their household income rise.
Please consider making a donation today! We need your help to reach women and men in the remaining 116 communities.
Have a Heart: Send Friends and Family a Five Talents E-Valentine
Read more »
This Valentine's Day, show your friends and family some love with an e-card that will benefit Five Talents' microsavings, microcredit and business skills training programs in Burundi, South Sudan and Indonesia.
Each e-card costs just $10 to send. These "valentines" will help others in your network -- friends, family, colleagues -- learn about the transformative impact you are having in partnership with Five Talents.
They will also make a direct impact in the lives of the women and men in our programs. For example, by sending just five Burundi-themed e-cards you will help one woman or man in Burundi gain access to a savings group, lending capital, and training.
Click here to select an e-card and support financial inclusion in the developing world.
Share Our Charity Golf Video and Help X-Out Extreme Poverty
Read more »
Do you know someone living in the greater Washington D.C. area who enjoys playing golf?
How a Savings Group Helped One Woman Grow a Banana Business and Send Her Sons Back to School
Read more »
One by one, Josephine added up her children's school fees. With each additional charge, her heart sank even lower.
There were uniforms to buy – and books, as well as pencils and pens. Her sons, Fabien and Isaac, also desperately needed shoes.
When everything was totaled up, Josephine swallowed hard. Where in the world was she going to get 157,300 Burundian Francs (US $102.15)?
To the 54-year-old widow, the sum was a fortune – a fortune she did not have.
Josephine was one of the first women in Kiyange, Burundi to take part in the Mothers' Union-Five Talents program. After graduating from literacy and numeracy training, she joined a savings and loan association (SLA) in 2011.
It was at this point that Josephine's life – and her income – began to change.
With the help of Mothers' Union and Five Talents, she began to save money and develop her small enterprise selling bananas.
In time, her children were also able to re-start their education, which had stalled several years before when Josephine could not produce the funds necessary to keep them in school.
"As a widow, the amount was too heavy for me, and I could not afford it without any help," she said. "This is why I am very grateful for my association, because it helped me to assist my family and other children to go to school. I requested a loan for my business, [and as a result] I'm able to meet my basic needs and [pay for] my children's school fees."
Five Books on Poverty and International Development to Read in 2014
Read more »
The year ahead promises to be a good one for books covering international development-related topics like poverty, financial inclusion and microfinance. Here are a few of the titles we're looking forward to reading in 2014:
The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor, by William Easterly (March 2014)
The best-selling author of The White Man's Burden returns with a much-anticipated book about how the historic "fight" against global poverty has "trampled" on the rights of the very people it aims to help. Easterly argues for a new model of development "predicated on respect for the individual rights of people in developing countries" – one that "understands that unchecked state power is the problem and not the solution."
Indonesia, Etc.: Exploring the Improbable Nation, by Elizabeth Pisani (June 2014)
Indonesia -- with its 13,500 islands – ranks among the world's most fascinating and complex nations. Jakarta, for example, is the Twitter capital of the world. And yet, in Indonesia, 80 million people do not have electricity in their homes. Pisani, who has been a foreign correspondent for Reuters, the Economist and the Asia Times, traveled 26,000 miles "in search of the links that bind this impossibly disparate nation." We suspect the book will be a must-read for anyone desiring to learn more about Indonesia.
A Poisonous Thorn in Our Hearts: Sudan and South Sudan's Bitter and Incomplete Divorce, by James Copnall (May 2014)
As the former BBC Sudan correspondent James Copnall argues in his new book, there's a bitter core to the shiny new country -- South Sudan -- whose formation many in the West have been celebrating. Of particular interest here will be Copnall's interviews with ordinary citizens who make up the fabric of this young, troubled nation struggling to establish itself in the shadow of its influential neighbor.
Things We Love: 'I Was in Awe of the Entrepreneurial Spirit of the Estancia Townsfolk'
Read more »
This photo taken by guest blogger Valerie Malabonga illustrates the perseverance and tenacity that we see time and time again in the lives of the women and men in our programs.
Valerie volunteered to assist with the relief efforts of our partner organization in the Philippines, the Center for Community Transformation, after Typhoon Haiyan in late 2013. We encourage you to read her guest blog posts.
In this photo, snapped just days after the storm in a town called Estancia, a group of micro-entrepreneurs has found a creative way to both provide a service and make a profit.
"The roof of the market was completely torn off, and there was still much debris all around," wrote Valerie. "However, we could see signs of recovery because there were trucks hauling debris. Vendors had set up shop in the roofless market. As I looked around, I was in awe of the entrepreneurial spirit of the Estancia townsfolk. There were several makeshift stands that had signs saying 'Charging Station'. People could fully charge their cell phones or laptops for P20 (or $0.47). I also saw several men piling corrugated iron sheets (roofing material) one on top of the other to sell."
Patience and Attention to Detail Key to Eiber’s Growing Sandal-Making Business
Read more »
Earlier this month, we shared the story of Eiber, a savings group member in Tarija, Bolivia.
Both Eiber and his wife, Marcia, take part in Five Talents' micro-savings and training program and have seen some remarkable changes in their lives and marriage.
In our first post, we focused on the couple's participation in training workshops. Here, the 30-year-old Eiber shares in his own words the successes and challenges of growing his sandal-making enterprise:
Regarding my work, before I got married I was an assistant to my uncle. I remember that no one wanted me to help me [with] capital to form my micro-enterprise. But with the help of God, I was eventually able to obtain a loan. Now that I am a member of a savings group, I can help other people to bring together capital that they need. This makes me very happy.
I make 10 dozen flip-flops (leather sandals) a week because there is so much demand. When I [recently] received a group loan of 280 bolivianos ($40), I used all of it to buy some accessories that I needed for the flip-flops.
This week, a woman came to my workshop and asked me to make 30 dozen flip-flops so that she can take them to Oruro (another department in Bolivia). Since then, other people also have placed orders [to be sent to] the interior of the country.
This is a new experience, and I am excited.
I want to hire three more workers to make more flip-flops and store them for my clients. For this, I will join a rotating savings group that loans more money, because I want to travel to Santa Cruz to buy leather in bulk for the flip-flops.
The most difficult part of my job is making the soles of the flip-flops. I am the only one who does this on my work team, because it [requires] a lot of strength and patience to do it well. If I am not patient to measure with care the leather to the iron, I can lose a lot of money.
I believe that the craftsman is an artist.
Want to see more micro-entrepreneurs like Eiber and Marcia make their businesses sustainable? Donate today to the program of your choice!