Country Reoport

First Lady Visits Grameen Project

The Honorable First Lady of Guatemala visits ACGGC, Guatemala
Asociacion Civil Guatemalteca Grameen Credit (ACGGC) is a "Build-Operate-Transfer" (BOT) project of Grameen Trust in Guatemala. It was set up in December, 2005, with financial assistance from the Whole Planet Foundation. ACGGC was initiated to combat poverty in Guatemala through Grameen's microcredit program. The project targets the poorest of the poor as its client, and has a special consideration for women. ACGGC has now reached out to 6,617 of the poorest in the community, with a total loan disbursement of US$ 1,489,414. All members are women and 90% of them are from the indigenous Mayan community. Most of the women use their loans for weaving, handloom, handicraft, embroidery, stationary, grocery store, pig and cow fattening, agriculture etc. The project is enjoying a 100% repayment rate, with no portfolio at risk.

Mrs. Wendy W. de Berger, the First Lady of Guatemala, visited Panajachel branch of ACGGC on 26th April, 2007, to see for herself the project operations. She was very impressed with the overall performance of the project and the impact it has had on its clientele. During her visit, the First Lady talked to the members and saw an exhibition of products made by them. She also witnessed first-hand business activities of three borrowers, which included weaving and chicken farming. She showed deep appreciation for the positive changes the project has brought about in the lives of borrower families, who have become self-sufficient and improved their living standards. The First Lady also proposed setting up a partnership between ACGGC, her organization Creciendo Bien and Banrural, the biggest bank in Guatemala.

An international conference of all first ladies of Central American and Latin American countries was held in Guatemala from June 11 to 13, 2007. The First Lady of Guatemala talked about microcredit in her country and focused on ACGGC program in her presentation at the conference. Mr. M. Alomgir Hossain, Project Director, ACGGC, was invited to make a presentation on Grameen methodology and share his experiences in Guatemala before the six first ladies from Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Panama. All the First Ladies expressed their keen interest in replicating the Grameen model in their respective countries. The First Ladies of Honduras and Dominican Republic also enquired how Grameen can help to replicate this program in their countries.