The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and World Council of Credit Unions brought together partners virtually for the sixth quarterly meeting of the Economic Inclusion Project (EIP) May 20. Stakeholders presented data showing just how successful EIP staff has been in generating better opportunities for the Venezuelan migrant and refugee population, and vulnerable local communities in Peru and Ecuador.
“We have found that without financial education and access to formal financial services for vulnerable populations, efforts to boost entrepreneurship, promote employability and prevent gender-based violence are not truly sustainable,” said Jene Thomas, USAID mission director in Peru. “That is why, thanks to our 14 (financial institution) partners in Peru and Ecuador, we have helped 71,272 beneficiaries get access to savings and credit services and achieved, for the first time, in providing Venezuelan citizens with access to loans."
5,624 Venezuelan, Peruvian and Ecuadorian entrepreneurs have benefited from programs designed to consolidate their businesses in conjunction with EIP partners. Data shows progress in providing access to savings, credit services and entrepreneurship opportunities for Venezuelans.
“For me it is a great satisfaction to finish paying my third loan and to be able to request another one for a fourth time, with a vision of a greater future than the one we had a year ago, showing that we can grow as companies, that we can be recognized as a stable business and, above all, to grow our credit history so that many more doors will open for us,” said Deisy Arbelay, a Venezuelan entrepreneur and beneficiary of financial services provided by MF Prisma Credit Union.
EIP has trained 8,387 beneficiaries through its financial education program, and trained employees in partner financial institutions on the program methodology, so they can continue providing financial education to more people moving forward.
65% of EIP participants are women, many of whom are in vulnerable situations. EIP is developing a strategy for the prevention of gender-based violence, to help achieve economic autonomy to reduce the recurrence of violent situations.
"To continue…I think that is the biggest challenge. To continue with this project that has definitely transformed the lives of so many people here in Lima, and I know it is happening the same in Ecuador. Continuing in a planned manner will allow more financial institutions to join what is already an unstoppable movement of institutions that believe that Venezuelan migration can have a positive impact on the host communities," said Oscar Pérez, President, Unión Venezolana in Peru.
EIP will continue through June 2023.