We are very happy to be partners with Pro Mujer (Program for Women), in Bolivia. This organization is known not only in Bolivia, but throughout the Americas, for the quality and success of its microenterprize and training programs, focusing on poor women. Both the credit and the training portions of the program have as their ultimate goal, the empowerment of women. As in the project we support in Bangladesh, these women can take on leadership roles in their communities, and can use their increased economic resource for a better life for themselves and their families.
All our projects are evaluated from time to time, to gauge their success. In August of 1997, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which partly funds Pro Mujer, did an evaluation of that organization. Then in early 1998, a locally-based consultant who is experienced in micro-enterprise did a mid-term evaluation of the Cochabamba branch.
The USAID evaluation of Pro Mujer stated that the program's performance to date has been very good. The program participants are among the poorest in the community. The program success is due to several factors. First, Pro Mujer has a highly committed staff, which work well as a team. Second, it has a well method. Most of Pro Mujer's supporters rank the institution among the best they have worked with.
The evaluation of the Cochabamba project in March 1998 stated that the project fostered positive changes in the lives of the beneficiaries, both economically and socially. It was considered to be one of the most successful training and credit programs in Bolivia.
Staff from Gems went to Bolivia in March 1998 and we were fortunate to be able to participate in the Cochabamba evaluation, and to visit a number of village banks and members' micro-enterprises. All of the women we met with were getting loans from the Gems/Pro Mujer Program. The loans had enabled women to expand their businesses or to buy essential materials, and they saw the training as an essential component so that they could better manage their enterprises. Pro Mujer is intending to add some clinical health services to its program much as TCA does in Calcutta. Women who come to the meetings will then be able to see a doctor or nurse and have their medical needs filled.
To learn more about our program in Bolivia, send for our video.
Write to :
Gems of Hope,
8 King Street East,
Suite 1105, Toronto,
Ontario M5C 1B5
Tel: (416) 362-4367
Fax: (416) 362-4170.
----------------------- Extracted from Gems of Hope, May 1998, #24