Written by Denis Gaitan, Executive Director GB Nicaragua
In 2019, Global Brigades Nicaragua was able to facilitate the establishment of four new Community Banks!
In total, there have been 19 Community Banks established since 2017. Community Banks create economic opportunities, increase financial access and empower the communities that they are in, as well as nearby communities. A major key to the success of the sustainability of Community Banks are the female members.
An astounding 67% of all members of boards of directors in these Community Banks are women! They play an essential role in the positions of presidents and treasurers; on one hand promoting the participation of all bank members and on the other hand managing finances and ensuring accountability to all partners.
“Today, our bank’s executive board is made up of only women, and although at the beginning there were fears, those have subsided, and the men recognize that we are creative and organized in our management apart from the fact that we make up the majority. I believe that this initiative should be replicated in other communities so that women have the same opportunities,” explains Betsabe, president of Community Bank of San José.
The Community Bank of San José and 12 others have disbursed a total of 206 loans in 2019, amounting to $54,306.36 USD. 56% of these loans have been given to women. These loans generate a positive impact on living conditions and have been used to invest in small businesses, which increase income and savings for their families. Additionally, through Kiva, we have been able to channel seven loans of $3,000 USD each to the women who are members of the Community Bank of San José. These loans have been used to invest in beekeeping, livestock, agriculture, commerce, and services.
Community Banks are ideal platforms to facilitate impact alongside our other programs. The Holistic Model is not only able to facilitate economic change but also social, like empowering women. Global Brigades Nicaragua remains committed to partnering communities despite not receiving brigades volunteers, and we will continue to create new Community Banks under The Empowered 100 strategy.
We are thankful for our donors and counterparts for all their support, and we look forward to working with you in 2020! To show your support for GB Nicaragua, go to www.globalbrigades.org/donate.