Fighting Poverty through local economic development
Crossroads International is working with community organizations to reduce poverty through the development of local, sustainable economies. Crossroads works with partner organizations in Bolivia and West Africa to strengthen local economic development initiatives including cooperatives, communal banks and microfinance and small businesses. Through these initiatives people living in poverty earn an income and gain increased confidence and skills to participate more fully in their communities.
A faire trade: new loan fund ensures decent work for Bolivian coffee producers
Crossroads has been working with local partner Foncresol, a microfinance institution working with impoverished communities in Bolivia, for more than a decade. In 2006, Crossroads volunteer Kevin McCarty conducted a needs assessment which looked at every stage in the value chain for rural coffee producers in Bolivia to identify where capital investment was required. For several years following his placement, McCarty continued to support Foncresol and rural producers as a Crossroads e-volunteer doggedly researching potential markets for coffee producers. More volunteers followed to help develop the program and the new loan product and to conduct market analysis with Foncresol.
Banking on Women’s Success
“Just to see the women sitting down together, figuring out exchange rates and interest, discussing plans and making decisions for social projects they could fund with the interest, with pencils and pieces of paper… The women were just doing it, because they finally had a little bit of money to manage as a group, with just enough support to give them confidence in their calculations and in their plans.
Making Mali Proud
Dressed in their finest garb, eleven women belonging to the Coprokazan shea butter cooperative arrived at the Canadian embassy in Bamako, to take their place as guests of honour among government officials, NGO representatives and diplomats, including the Canadian ambassador.
Community Economic Development: Micro-credit for Women in Bolivia
For women struggling to escape the cycle of poverty, even a small investment can be enough for start-up materials for all kinds of small businesses. That is why Crossroads has partnered with the Asociaicion Nacional Ecumenica de Desarollo (ANED), a Bolivian financial organization working to alleviate poverty.
Creating Jobs in Bamako
Crossroads' partners develop innovative programs to provide youth with practical skills to find employment or establish small business that respond to reality of Mali’s economy.
Supporting Food Security in Niger
Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. More than 80 per cent of the population makes a subsistence living from farming.Seasonal food insecurity is common, leaving already poor communities extremely vulnerable, particularly women and children.
Supporting Niger’s Small Scale Farmers
As market forces have driven down the costs of many food staples, European producers have flooded Niger’s market with agricultural products selling below cost. The impact on local farmers has been devastating.
Community Economic Development in Bolivia
For ANED and Foncresol, microfinance is more than a tool to reduce poverty. It is a powerful agent for social change. In addition to managing and disbursing small loans (US$50 to $300) for farms and small businesses, both organizations work with communities to establish communal banks.