Infographic: Financial Inclusion and Microsavings in Burundi
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Our microsavings program in Burundi is three years old, and to celebrate we've created a new infographic!
Micro-Enterprise Development for the Marginalized
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Pick up this month's issue of Foreign Policy and you might not want to open it. After all, it's the magazine's annual "failed states" issue, and the list is, according to the editors, "depressingly familiar."
But go ahead and dig in, or click here for the online version, because in the stories and statistics you will get a glimpse of some of the communities where Five Talents and our partners are organizing savings groups, providing literacy training, teaching basic accounting and marketing skills, and providing access to microloans.
For example, a stunning two-page photo spread in the print edition shows a malaria-stricken soldier resting in a hut in Juba, South Sudan.
Turn the page and you'll find that Five Talents is working in six countries near the top of the "failed states" list, including Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Kenya and Myanmar.
Dig deeper still and you'll find a table of statistics highlighting these countries' poverty, adult literacy, and child mortality rates. In South Sudan, for example, 51 percent of the country's 10 million people live below the national poverty line.
Five Talents works in under-served, at-risk, post-conflict communities because in them are the folks that can most benefit from participating in a savings group, accessing loan capital, and learning how to start or grow an income-generating activity, or micro-enterprise.
Take some time to explore the current issue of Foreign Policy magazine and learn more about the people that Five Talents – and you, through your advocacy, prayers and donations – are serving. Here's some recommended reading from the issue:
Become a Recurring Donor and ‘Walk With Us’ in 2013-2014
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Think, for a moment, what you can buy for $15 a month.
Netflix users can get unlimited streaming on two devices – and DVD rentals.
Washington Post subscribers can get the "Digital Premium" package with unlimited access through computers and mobile devices.
We can easily spend this much on a monthly dinner outing with friends – and that's if we skip dessert.
These are all great ways to spend $15 a month.
Here's another one: by donating $15 a month to Five Talents you can help up to seven people annually access savings groups, business skills training and micro-lending opportunities.
The number of annual beneficiaries depends on the program you choose to support – after all, each is different and tailored to the needs of the local community.
As we kick off our 2013-2014 fiscal year, we want to invite you to "Walk With Us" by donating as little as $15 a month toward the program of your choice.
All of our recurring donors receive a quarterly e-update with exclusive content, including video footage from the field, infographics and interviews.
And by designating your recurring gift for a specific program, you can choose to fund a range of services, including – for example – savings group formation in Bolivia, micro-lending in Indonesia, and business skills training in Myanmar.
Weekly Window: Five Talents' Partner in Peru Meets With Loan Group Members
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This photograph from our 2011 archives shows staff with our partner in Peru visiting a loan group in rural Huancavelica.Five Talents works in the country with ECLOF Peru to provide savings and lending opportunities, business skills training and spiritual mentoring, mostly to women micro-entrepreneurs.
The program works like this: The micro-entrepreneurs self-organize into groups with other entrepreneurs that they trust, and with whom they share common business goals. Each entrepreneur is given their own loan, but the re-payment of the loan is guaranteed by the group. These loans have short re-payment cycles. Over time, the entrepreneurs can incrementally increase the size of their loans and incorporate savings into their business practices.
Video: New Community-Owned Bank in Kenyan Village A Cause For Celebration
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In March, we blogged about a community in Kenya – the village of Thungururu – that was gaining access to savings and lending services for the very first time.
Five Talents and local partner Thika Community Development Trust (TCDT) organized Thungururu's first savings group in 2009. Women and men living there needed to travel by two minibuses to access a banking facility 60 kilometers away in Thika.
The savings group was the first step to bringing financial services and business training to the people of Thungururu.
We're delighted to report that the village now has it's very own community bank.
Five Talents UK Program Manager Rachel Lindley spent the last week in Thungururu to help celebrate the bank's opening. She filmed this video beside the new bank:
We'd love it if you would share this video on Facebook and Twitter, as it's a great example of the community transformation we are seeing across all of our programs.
Weekly Window: Local Indonesia Partner Moves Into New Jakarta Office
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Five Talents' Jakarta-based partner, GERHATI
, recently moved into a new office space. GERHATI now has two offices: this one in Jakarta and a second in Cileungsi. The Cileungsi office opened in early 2012.
Pictured here are GERHATI staff memebrs (L-R) Gunawan, Martina, Sherly, Edy and Yakub.
Our program in Indonesia serves women and men living in slum communities on the outskirts of Jakarta. Five Talents helped to found GERHATI in 2005 and, since then, has been partnering with the local Christian organization to set up loan groups that give participants access to microloans, business skills training and spiritual mentoring.
Five Talents Videos To Be Featured By the Giving Library
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Watch this new video featuring Executive Director Sonia Patterson talking about Five Talents' unique approach to micro-enterprise development.
Our Take on Christianity Today’s Article 'Solving Poverty Is Rocket Science'
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In a lengthy article over at Christianity Today, Richard Stearns, the president of World Vision, looks at how Christians can miss the mark when taking aim at that elusive target – poverty.
"Simple solutions just don't work, and well-meaning amateurs can not only waste valuable resources but even cause unintended harm in their efforts. We are right to help, but we also need to help in the right way," Stearns writes.
He then goes on to give a hypothetical example of a US-based church partnering with a sister church in Zambia. The well-meaning church sends short-term missions teams and bags of grain and beans. The church raises money for a new village health clinic. But then Stearns goes on to show how each of these "solutions" can actually harm the local community.
How, then, should the church have approached its calling to Zambia?
Stearns argues that Christians and their churches should instead seek to empower communities by addressing "water and sanitation issues" and organizing "economic development initiatives, safe childbirth courses, and AIDS and malaria prevention":
"We have to get beyond the notion that providing 'stuff' to poor communities will lift them out of poverty," he writes. "No amount of material assistance will transform a community that struggles with gender inequality, domestic abuse, alcoholism, inadequate education, tribal tensions, and other cultural issues. It isn't enough to just provide things—schools, clinics, food—to a community.
"Thriving communities also need good governance, committees to manage community health, water and education, savings and loan groups, business training for farmers and entrepreneurs, support groups for domestic violence victims, farmer's cooperatives, access to markets, and strategies for disease prevention, neonatal care, and child nutrition. We may also equip the community to advocate on their own behalf for better services – roads, electricity, teachers, and health workers – through their local government."
If you're a long-time supporter of Five Talents you will recognize that our organization has been a leader in advocating for this community-centered approach to alleviating poverty.
We set up savings and loan groups. We train these group members in basic business skills, focusing on key disciplines like accounting, planning and marketing.
What's more, many of our groups in post-conflict countries like Burundi govern themselves. They write their own group constitution, set their own interest rates, and take responsibility for caring for the needy in their village, ultimately becoming activists for the development and growth of a healthy community.
Weekly Window: Matilda in Bolivia Discusses Her New Cosmetics Micro-Enterprise
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Last week, we heard from Matilda, a mother of four in Bolivia who has challenged her family to help her save money both for their children's education and also for the construction of a small shop into which she hopes to expand her cosmetics micro-enterprise.
"I had washed clothes for the last 15 years, and my hands were very battered," she told us. "The doctor told me to stop washing clothes; if I didn't, I would lose my hands. So I was very worried. I didn't know what to do to work because on some occasions my husband's income was not enough. One friend told me that selling cosmetics was a good business, but I needed money for my capital investment. So we used the money that we had collected in the savings group to begin building a shop that I really wanted, and also to start my cosmetics business. Now, I earn money and my hands do not suffer, and with the income we can help our children to study."
Job Opening: We're Hiring a Development Associate
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We'd love your help in spreading the word about our job opening for a Development Associate.
This person will be responsible for managing the internal processes for two important fundraising areas – grant acquisition and major donor moves management -- and should have at least three years of experience in non-profit fundraising/development and a heart for fulfilling Christ's call to serve the poor.
You can view the complete job listing here.