Pro Mujer believes that women are powerful agents of change capable of breaking the cycle of poverty.
Pro Mujer commits to provide poor women in Latin America with an integrated package of microfinance, healthcare and training - tools that allow women to take an active role in changing their lives and creating a better future for themselves and their families. Pro Mujer's successful three-pronged approach directly addresses the fact that poverty is a multi dimensional problem that cannot be resolved with credit alone. With small loans, women increase their income and savings. With access to affordable, client-centered healthcare and preventive health education, women and their families prevent illness and improve their quality of life. And with training, women grow their businesses, develop leadership skills, assert their rights and learn to utilize all the services available to them. What sets Pro Mujer apart is its unique combination of services that it delivers through communal banks, groups of 20-30 women who receive loans and training as a group. The banks foster group support and create a social network, enabling women to become agents of change and active members of their communities. The organization's goal is to expand its reach to 350,000 women and impact the lives of more than 1.7 million children by extending coverage throughout the countries in which it currently operates, and expand into a sixth country, provided that financing and key partners can be identified. Among the countries being considered is Colombia.
Pro Mujer will expand coverage in Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and expand into a sixth country, provided that financing and key partners can be identified. Among the countries being considered is Colombia. Our goal is to reach 350,000 poor women through 23,000 communal banks, impacting the lives of more than 1.7 million children.
Expansion by Country:
- Argentina= 1 new region
- Bolivia= 8 new neighborhood centers*
- Mexico= 35 new neighborhood centers
- Nicaragua= 3 new regions
- Peru= 5 new regions and 9 new neighborhood centers
II. By offering all clients an integrated package of services, which includes:
a) Financial services
Pro Mujer has led the industry in recognizing that the very poor are not homogenous and require more than one standard credit product. Over the past 20 years, Pro Mujer has provided loans to more than 1 million poor women in Latin America. Pro Mujer also promotes asset-building through savings. As of June 2009, clients have saved over million in individual accounts. The financial services Pro Mujer offers in the 5 countries include: regular loan, education loan, seasonal loan, health loan, rural loan, housing loan, life and credit insurance and savings.
b) Health education and services
Pro Mujer uses its neighborhood centers to educate clients about their health and deliver health services. By doing so, Pro Mujer offers clients 'one-stop shopping' for their business and health care needs, increasing the odds that clients will get the medical care they need to stay healthy. In Bolivia, for example, more than 65 percent of clients in Bolivia reported having seen a healthcare professional in the last six months.
Pro Mujer provides training and consciousness-raising in preventive health, covering topics such as: prevention of cervical cancer, family planning, sexual and reproductive rights, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, hygiene, children's health (e.g. breastfeeding, dehydration, respiratory infections, vaccines, nutrition, menopause and mental health.
In the coming year, Pro Mujer will deliver the following health care services, either directly or through partnerships with local healthcare institutions: primary healthcare consultations, pre- and post-natal monitoring and vaccinations, counseling in family planning and sexual and reproductive health
Business skills and training:
Before receiving a loan, Pro Mujer's clients prepare business plans that project future earnings and detail how clients will use their loans. After obtaining a loan, clients receive ongoing training that addresses the following topics: Cash Flow and budgeting, debt management and savings
Empowerment and anti-domestic violence:
Women gain a new sense of empowerment as they become leaders in their communal banks. Women gain confidence as they successfully borrow and repay their loans, set up savings accounts, and become more aware of their own potential and abilities. Women also receive training that addresses the following topics: Women's rights and self-esteem, anti-domestic violence and leadership skills.
III. By strengthening operations with a 3-year strategic plan
Pro Mujer's recent strategic plan positions the organization well for growth and maximum impact on the lives of poor women entrepreneurs and their families in Latin America. The plan confirms that Pro Mujer's strength lies in its strong relationship with clients - relationships based on trust and mutual respect. Pro Mujer will invest in the following areas and strengthen its capacity by: Investing in human resources to improve client services, developing new products to meet the needs of clients, piloting an improved health model and improving management information systems (MIS) to lower costs and improve service delivery.
Pro Mujer invests in women and provides them with the tools and resources they need to give their children a better start and become strong role models for girls. As figures show, women and girls invest 90 percent of their income in their families, whereas men invest only 30-40 percent. When women realize their potential for change, the benefits are immediately apparent: families are healthier and better fed and their income and savings increase. And what is true of families is also true of communities and, in the long run, of entire countries. When women thrive all of society benefits and succeeding generations are given a better start in life.
In Latin America, 200 million people, almost one-third of the population, live below the poverty line. Of these, 70 percent lack access to health services.
Women in particular suffer at the hand of poverty and its consequences: violence, disease and ignorance. Today, women comprise approximately 70 percent of the world's poor. In Latin America almost half the women over the age of 15 have no income of their own. On top of this, women and girls have higher rates of malnutrition, lower educational levels, and are disproportionately the majority of the victims of sexual assault and family violence.
Pro Mujer combats poverty and discrimination against women by providing women with the resources and training they need to increase their income, maintain their health and that of their family, and achieve equality in their homes, workplaces and communities.
Pro Mujer understands that poverty is a multi dimensional problem that cannot be resolved with money alone. Therefore, Pro Mujer has developed a three-pronged approach involving micro lending, healthcare and training to empower poor women to lift themselves and their families out of poverty:
- Financial services: helping women increase income and savings
- Healthcare and education - helping women maintain good health, prevent illness, and become educated about the importance of healthcare for themselves and their families. Pro Mujer's long-term goal is to make its health services sustainable by developing services that have the maximum impact at the lowest cost possible.
- Training - helping women to manage their business, increase self-confidence, develop leadership skills and understand their rights
Pro Mujer is uniquely positioned to educate its clients thanks to its communal banking methodology. Communal banks, groups of 20-30 women who receive loans and training as a group, provide women with built-in group support and serve a social network that promotes their development as agents of change and active members of society. Over the past 20 years, Pro Mujer has formed over 55,000 communal banks.
- Funding for capacity building (MIS and new technologies, human resources, financial management, compliance systems, client data management)
- Funding for health services
- Funding for expansion of services and infrastructure in Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru
- Funding to help Pro Mujer transform into regulated financial institution
- Loan guarantees
- Web development and strategy consulting services.
- PR Agency, photography, videography, and/or collateral material design pro bono support.
- Branding consultancy services.
SEEKING: financial resoucres, media/marketing.
- Funding for capacity building (MIS and new technologies, strategic planning, financial management, impact evaluation, customer service, compliance systems, client data management).
- Funding for health services.
- Funding for expansion of services and infrastructure in Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru.
- Funding to help Pro Mujer transform into regulated financial institution.
- Funding for client data management.
- Loan guarantees.
- Loans to fund microfinance portfolio.
- Web development and strategy consulting services.
- PR Agency pro bono support.
- Branding consultancy services.
- Production of video series 'My Mother is a Changemaker'. The series will feature children of Pro Mujer clients talking about the impact their mothers' empowerment has had in their lives and their future.
- Production of a PSA (Public Service Announcement) and support with its distribution in the Unites States.
OFFERING: implementing partners, best practice information
- Help foundation and corporations disburse grants or create economic partnerships to reach poor women in Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru (e.g. Whole Planet Foundation awarded $300,000 to expand Pro Mujer services in regions where they have store suppliers).
- Pro Mujer can also serve as a services delivery platform for other partners. Under our communal bank methodology women meet every two weeks, so implementing partners can access our clients. Our infrastructure in the 5 countries serves more than 13,000 communal banks, reaching more than 210,000 women.
Best Practice Information
- Communal Bank Methodology.
- Integrated model: microfinance, health and training.
NoVo Foundation and Nike Foundation - Funding to reach our goal of improving the lives of 350,000 women and 700,000 girls.
Brighstar (Marcelo Claure) and Cisco - Technical assistance and funding to improve our Management Information Systems.