ArribaYa,  Update August 2009

 

This page provides a quick overview on ArribaYa and its performance until now. Moreover a glance into its future is provided.

 

Below the main figures of ArribaYa and how it has operated until now are represented. A division has been made between two different types of micro finance. The initial idea was to hand out the loans and receive weekly payments for a year. This means that 52 repayments would take place. The interest rate was 50%.

 

The figures of this type of loans are:

 

Total number of socias

105

Total number of loans

116

Total amount of loans

31,460.00

Total amount to be reimbursed

47,140.00

Total amount reimbursed

35,512.20

Total amount remaining

11,988.80

Note: All these amounts are in Peruvian Soles. Currently $1 = S/.3

 

Due to some misfortune, which is explained in this report, changes were implemented and a new type of loans were granted. These loans required a monthly reimbursement with completion in 4 months after the initial granting of the loan. These socias received an interest loan of merely 12% due to the fact that the costs attached to these loans were much lower as well.

 

The figures of this type of loans are:

 

Total number of socias

20

Total number of loans

30

Total amount of loans

9,100.00

Total amount to be reimbursed

10,434.00

Total amount reimbursed

9,185.00

Total amount remaining

1,249.00

Note: All these amounts are in Peruvian Soles. Currently $1 = S/.3

 

It can be concluded that this ultimate type of loan with a monthly reimbursement worked out better than the initial one with weekly reimbursements. However, the results are not fully satisfying. In fact, most of the Dutch funding has been used for this and around 15% of the initial funding from The Netherlands still remains. What was it used for This is not acceptable and is due to the malfunctioning of the micro finance project. Therefore some changes will be implemented in the very near future.

 

We will continue with ArribaYa in the following three ways:

1.                  Micro Finance - we will do the selection and training of the socias. However, the financial part will be covered by a different micro finance institution with which we will set up a collaboration. Names

2.                  Education - we will educate women and prepare them for a different job outside of our organization. We will get them qualified in order for them to have more chance on the labour market.

3.                  ArribaYa has plans, and is proceeding in them, to advance in business. Different projects are on the line. In these projects the socias will play a key role. They will enjoy a lot of responsibility and will be co-owners of the project. Two projects are expected to advance; hand-sewn, ecological jeans and potato seeds. More on them will follow in a next report as this is where most of the remaining funds will be dedicated to.

 

 

What will follow is a brief history of the ArribaYa micro economic community development and poverty eradication project - from its first days of operation, (early 2007) until the present. Including accounts of what we have done, what we are doing now and what we intend to do in the future. Detailed explanations are provided on the different matters.

 

The history of ArribaYa

The first many months were spent with a success rate of around 95%. We were forming groups of five women who trained together and were responsible for one another (both in terms of seeing to one another's success in their respective micro enterprises as well as to their making their weekly payments on time and in full).

Then at the end of the year I had to go to Europe for a month, and replaced myself with someone with more charisma (our mutual friend Bart), but even his strong positive personality was not enough to keep the women in line. When I returned, with Bart’s help we got things partly back together, but women who had by then missed several payments started to behave differently to how they had in the first year. The default ratio had been deteriorating for a while, therefore together with Bart we implemented some changes in the structure of ArribaYa and things started to improve. The obvious oversight in the first year was that the women were not bound together in the little communities they had formed at our insistence, but they felt bound together in a larger group which included my wife and me, and then Bart.

By this time last year things were working well enough again to hold a celebration for all the women who had succeeded in launching a business which continued to succeed and sustain their families.  We called it an anniversary. The press came and a TV program was broadcast in Lima.

 

Late in 2008 a large microfinance NGO, Manuel Ramos, from Lima came to Trujillo and went straight to the barrio where we worked. This caused another threat to the organisation. Manuel Ramos located our women and, on the strength of our preparation of each and their reported success, offered loans larger than we had given, at a lower interest rate. This on the understanding that the women would not work again with us. The result was women who accepted loans from Lima stopped repaying their loans to us. We are still collecting these little by little (and at disproportionate cost), because in community development one must never accept a default - because thereafter many will stop paying. There will always be defaults, such is reality, but one can never forgive a debt. This is for the sake of the women themselves.

 

Period of evaluation and reconsidering

What we now possess which will ultimately assure our success in the ArribaYa project are the valuable lessons learned from the errors I just listed, our very talented staff and the fact that I do not give up. As in our project to educate street kids (and others before) now successful, with each early failure we put the project  back on the drawing board, until sooner or later we got it right.

For instance, since we concluded that we have not succeeded in forming communities of urban slum women which are bound together strongly enough to assure the performance of each member in every community; we went in search of alternatives: existing impoverished communities which both possess these civic qualities and might be interested in receiving our helping to raise its members out of poverty. In our research we discovered that some religious communities possess a strong sense of sorority and peer respect, perhaps enough we hoped to perform as our earlier communities should have done.

ArribaYa therefore, in September/October 2008, with the collaboration of Priests and Pastors began preparing groups of poor women from their congregations. After a period of civic instruction and practice as well as preparation in the skills of their chosen micro enterprises we determined that these women qualified to receive micro loans.

 

Note: We found that we were much more conservative in approving new applicants than we had been in our first 18 months due in part to the falling compliance rate after the first year, but mostly because the money invested prior to October 2008 had come personally from the founder of ArribaYa, and everything after October 2008 was given by donors from the Netherlands.

 

The good news from this variation on economically developing barrios full of poor urban women, is that those already related to one another within a single purpose structure, are performing at a rate of nearly 100% success in their micro businesses (even at this time of universal economic recession), and ArribaYa therefore has been recovering the funds invested in them. Based on this we have granted up to three loans each to the members of these communities

The disappointment in working only with existing single purpose community structures has been that there are only a few such social structures in each urban slum. In consequence we have been limited in the number of loans we could make and have not been putting out enough money to justify the cost of the Arriba Ya permanent staff, transport, communication and administration. In short Arriba Ya has been operating at a loss.

 

This is not to say ArribaYa has been altogether unsuccessful. We have succeeded in launching practically all the women we have thus far prepared and funded into their own varyingly successful micro enterprises - a few have gone on to build small businesses with up to eight and ten employees or associates. We have prepared our women so well that 43 of them, rather than become self employed, qualify for jobs which are paying three times the minimum wage. What we have so far failed to accomplish is to get ArribaYa to be self sustaining.

 

Our assets

-We have enough capital to continue funding the micro enterprises of small single purpose communities such as we have been doing since October 2008, but not enough to either grow or even sustain our present staff.

- We have succeeded in helping nearly 200 families raise their economic status, many in sustained business or jobs.

- We are fairly well known in our own region and to a lesser extent in Lima and even somewhat nationally, and we enjoy a good reputation.

- Our most prized asset however is our talented, dedicated and experienced team who successfully recruit, prepare for work and business our mothers. Improving their lives, discipline, skills and wellbeing (and thereby indirectly that of their children), helping women who are still raising themselves out of poverty through community economic development.

 

So, what have we learned so far?

- We know our staff are effective in inspiring poor women to improve their discipline, skills and performance, and to grasp the fundamentals of operating a micro enterprise at a profit.

- We know that poor women, especially mothers, even though living in the desperate circumstances of an urban slum, can - with a little help - rise to become productive, industrious and economically self sufficient.

- We accept that, despite early indications to the contrary, we either are unable or else the investment required it too high warrant our pursuit of a project which depends on creating in urban slum conditions communities of women sharing bonds similar to those shared by women who have lived together all their lives in small rural villages.

- We have come to believe - contrary to the majority of microfinance NGOs which have opined on the subject - that the level of economic poverty in which a person lives is not a limiting factor to their ability to rise out of poverty, so long as they are offered an opportunity. We believe that what limits our ability to help the women we have worked with so far is not their economic but to ignorance, emotional disorders, laziness, moral poverty. We truly believe that mothers whose only impediment is the hopelessness of life in abject poverty can, with only a little help, rise exponentially and disproportionately faster up the economic ladder than people who started from a point higher up than they.

- We have observed that people who are succeeding at sustaining themselves and their families at the bottom of the economic pyramid are almost impervious to the vicissitudes of the broader economy. They are not hurt by a recession. Whose enterprise might therefore prove to be a better all weather investment than something at the macro level – provided a vehicle can be designed for conveniently injecting capital into this virgin sector of the economy..

- We have come to believe that investing the skills, care and time required to raise a poor woman’s personal capital to a level which qualifies her to receive financing, investment or a decent job is essentially a social function, and should not be meted out on the basis of investing to chase a profit. And by this token the people who fulfill this role in community development have motives and a skill set which are particular to this function, which would not necessarily be suited to managing, administering or executing the post financial investment relationship with a woman they had so prepared. Likewise the motivation and skills of the person managing a poor woman’s loan portfolio are likely to be different to those required of the person who prepared the woman to qualify for the loan. So too the relationships between these two types and the poor woman will inevitably be different. One is her teacher, disciplinarian, supporter, while the other approves her loan, manages her post investment compliance; may even confront her one day in the role of debt collector.

- We consider that the capital base for an NGO which would undertake to prepare women for micro economic development in an urban slum environment and to fund them should be large enough to afford both personnel who specialize in preparing poor women and those who specialize in loan approval and managing the post-investment compliance of poor women. With enough funds to satisfy a quantity of credit adequate to generate enough interest to sustain the NGO.

 

Note: The erudite funding plan designed for us by Bart Van Eijk. (http://arribaya.com/bart12/) could not have for seen what the microfinance NGO, Manuela Ramos, would do with our women, nor that we would have to lower our interest rate to compete with Manuela Ramos and others, etc.

 

Status of ArribsaYa as a registered Non Governmental Organisation -

 

Due to the above mentioned obstacles to our operating as intended pursuant to Bart`s plan, it became apparent that the cost of maintaining the infrastructure of a separate NGO for the Arriba Ya project was not justified, and so the NGO was closed and Arriba Ya became a project withing the Bruce Organisation.

 

Utilisation of and current disposition of funds raised for the Arriba Ya project

 

For disposition of funds loaned to and received from poor women in the Arriba Ya project, see the two tables presented at the beginning of this report. The last disbursement of funds under the “loan/investment” phase of Arriba Ya`s evolution was made on Thursday, 20 August. 2009.

 

Arriba Ya operating costs during the year since funds started to arrive in response Bart`s initiative.

 

Note: The Arriba Ya Project has been in operation for nearly three years, but the statement of income and expenses set out here, reflects only the year from 01 August 2008 through 31 July 2009.

 

 

Income / Loss Statement (Stated in New Peruvian Soles):

 

  Interest                                                                                                          S/ 2,085

 

Expenses

  Staff (photos below)

     Pedro (80% of his income) 12 months                              S/ 8,384

     Charo (50% of her income) 12 months                             S/ 5,240

     Victoriano (100% of his income) 2 months                       S/ 1,000

  Transport                                                                              S/ 1,050

  Recruitment promotion and publicity                                    S/ 2,500

  Overhead and Administration                                               S/ 3,918

                                                                                                                        S/ 22,090

                                                                                                                       (S/ 20,007)

 

Current Financial Posit-ion  (Stated in New Peruvian Soles):

 

Donated capital (Not counting what Bruce put in 07&08 before Bart)             S/  59,200

Loans outstanding which we expect to recover                                                S/   2,000

Cash on hand                                                                                                   S/  5,707.55

Result of ArribaYa one year operatins                                                              (S/ 20,007)

Funds committed by Bruce Organisation (exclusively to fund start  

up of Potato and/or Blue Green Jeans projects – Co-operatives)                    S/ 31,485

 

Future operation of ArribaYa

 

What we will not change:

We will continue to work with communities of women pertaining to parishes and congregations in the same way we have been working since October 2008. The only difference will be that the two members of our permanent staff who handled both the preparation and after investment

Relationship with the women will henceforth work solely in recruitment and preparation of the women. Administration of accounts will be managed by the existing accounting staff. A new team member who previously worked for 20 years managing the assets of a small bank (and therefore worked for Ana Teresa for some of those years, when she was the second officer in the same bank – and she is therefore aware of his skills and integrity) will be responsible for collections.

 

Principal changes:

-                      We are negotiating with Micro Finance NGOs and small banks which were until recently micro finance NGOs themselves, with a view to maximize the effectiveness of our recruitment and preparation team. The team will concentrate only on recruitment and preparation, and leave account management to others. They will first recruit and train women who will enter our single purpose communities, and they will also recruit and train women who do not pertain to an existing community. When these women are prepared to the team’s standard they will either be presented to one of the aforementioned micro finance NGOs, shepherded into a relationship with a small ex micro finance bank or else be placed in a desirable job. (See attachments, at the end of this report)

Note: We feel no conflict or disappointment in this adjustment since our mission and our reason for starting Arriba Ya in the first place were simply to help as many women out of poverty as possible. We view this adjustment to our previous modus operandi  as utilization of our most effective tool and best asset is the service of reaching that end.

 

-                      Arriba Ya will remain within Bruce Org. as a community development / poverty eradication project, and will not be set apart in a unique NGO.

-                      Funding for the part of ArribaYa’s budget which will exceed the amount that can be realized from small scale funding of micro enterprise projects through the single purpose parish communities will either be directly fund raised or else requisitioned from the general budget of Bruce Org. The latter can be justified under the Bruce Org. mission statement because it has already been demonstrated that by lifting mothers of out-of-school children into a position where they can support the families by their own earnings; the children are freed from child labor and can enter school.

Note: The main project of Bruce Org., to get out-of-school children into education is currently enjoying success and rapid growth.. We hope this will soon translate into greater financial supports, from which ArribaYa might also benefit.

 

-                      ArribaYa has plans, and is proceeding in them, to advance in business. Different projects are on the line. In these projects the socias will play a key role. They will enjoy a lot of responsibility and will be co-owners of the project. Two projects are expected to advance; hand-sewn, ecological jeans and potato seeds. More on them will follow in a next report as this is where most of the remaining funds will be dedicated to.

 

Personal statement

I am an economist with more than 40 years in this sort of work. I was trying micro finance before Muhammed Yunus taught us all how to do it right. My only successful micro economic development projects so far have been in small villages in Africa and Latin America, so far not in urban slums. Though in one of the early videos on the ArribaYa site I boastfully claimed “we had found a way to overcome the challenges of forming effective communities among women in an urban slum environment”. I was wrong.


The letter below is indicative of how we have adapted to circumstances and conditions.
We now prepare the women the same as always, but when they are ready to have their
start-up micro enterprises funded, we present them to our friends at CrediChavin, who
fund the small loans the women require to get started. The result for the women is the same.