Micro Economic Development project
among single mothers in extremely poor
slum communities beginning in
A project of
Bruce Organisation ngo
[Part of Agenda SOS International]
Update October 2008
ArribaYa, one way of helping the very poorest mothers ijn the poorest societies to become financially independent.
In this project we work with women whose poverty and characteristics
disqualify them from conventional credit sources and in many cases even from
microfinancing schemes provided by non governmental organisations. We work intensively with each woman for up to three months facilitating an appreciation in the level of their personal capital: their reliability, self esteem, hygiene, quality of parenting, work ethic. During this time we help them prepare a business plan for a micro enterprise, and when we feel they are ready we invest in them (we do not lend to them, we invest in them). Thereafter we monitor their fledgling businesses, offering helping where needed; and little by little they buy back our stake in their enterprise at a price higher than we paid for it.
We had, since late 2003,
been considering ways to economically reinforce extremely poor single mothers
Their children go to school even if Bruce Org. paid all the initial costs: because their children had to work, their income was all the family received to buy food.
During 2004 through 2006 we evaluated existing micro-enterprise schemes and projects, and we were able to further assess the need for financially reinforcing the poorest single (mostly abandoned) mothers, as we opened lots more of our schools in new cities, new countries.
By early 2007 Bruce Thornton, our founder and an ex banker and microfinancier, completed the project plan for ArribaYa micro economic development and personally provided the funds and credit needed for a one-year-100-woman pilot project.
Selection and preparation of the women began in February 2007, and the first investment was made 22 April 2007. Over the next several months more than 600 women joined the project, but we invested in only a steady flow of the most qualified candidates, until we reached our quota of 100.
Note: Because so many more women wanted to join the project than we had places or finances to satisfy; we began to find jobs for women who qualified, but exceeded out limit. We succeeded in getting good jobs for 43 of them – jobs they still hold, some for more than a year, at this writing.
In our 100 pilot project women we normally invested $100, [the lowest single investment was $40 and the largest $300].
Here are the small businesses we helped these women develop:
The pilot project was directed by Bruce with help from Ana Teresa, president of Bruce Organisation, and included help from staff borrowed from Bruce Org. as well as volunteer economist and business management students from local universities. In 02 February 2008 we were joined by Bart Van Eijk, whose investment banking experience, management and personnel skills made him
The obvious choice to direct
the Arriba Ya project during his tenure as volunteer
with Bruce Org. Bart not only directed the final part of our pilot project, but
also conceived and designed the permanent phase of our programme,
once the successful pilot project had been concluded and fully evaluated. Bart
has returned to the
The pilot project officially ended 31 April 2008, though women in whom we invested later in 2007 continued to make their regular payments.
Results of 100 women in pilot project.
- All continue in the businesses we helped them launch and grow. A sweets confectioner now employees 6 other people to help her confect over 2,000 boiled sweets (“lollypops”) per day, the silver smith now provides a living for 8 to 10 workers and sales persons, and there are lots of lesser success stories. Most of these community based micro businesses are not as affected by variations in the global economy as are larger businesses.
- 80 paid regularly and on time, 18 paid irregularly, but always caught up and eventually paid everything. 2 women defaulted after repaying the original investment.
We evaluated data generated during the pilot project, adjusted the project accordingly, and Bart prepared an operating plan for the official operating of Arriba Ya project taking it to the point where 300 more women have been helped, and the project has become self sustaining. [Please see: http://arribaya.com/bart2/ ]
ARRIBA YA launch: A pilot project
On 14 July we staged a celebration of the completed pilot project and announcing the launch of the official Arriba Ya project. We included in this event some of the most successful women from the pilot project, and we held a nationally televised press conference to introduce Arriba Ya project to our city and the population in general: [Please see a brief clip from a national TV channel http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9165328250333101330&pr=goog-sl ]
Starting in July we have, with Bart and Marjolijn Beekwilder leading the fund raising drive, raised $9,277, with the promise of more than this from a dear lady who is dedicating the proceeds from her 50th birthday party to this fund. Here are the proceeds raised until 17 October 2008:
Here is the transfer of these funds + interest from savings to active account,
22 October 2008, to begin disbursement as investments in the women qualified during the current phase of Arriba Ya project [pursuant to Bart’s projection].
Alta Trujillo, Barrios 5 & 6 (including women from the pilot project)
Alta Trujillo Barrios 2,3 &4 (including women from Nuevo Jerusalen)
[pursuant to Bart’s projection].
Also Milagros Barrio (mothers & children living in the regional land fill)
*Note: "Developing for investmenr":
this consists of working with the women who will receive investments,
to increase their personal capital, as spelled out on the ArribaYa website, at the following pages.
For a detailed map and explanations, please see:
Further supporting material, a brief video report recorder by Bruce Thornton:
Projection for next 3 months
Before the new year we intend to invest in 5 to 10 women from each of the four communities we have recruited and been preparing the past two months. We plan to do the same in January 2009.
involved in the Arriba Ya project is very pleased
with its progress so far, and we are highly optimistic about its ultimate
success in reducing poverty among the very poor mothers of children we are
helping to educate. We humbly thank you for joining us in this worthwhile