When they read about the call for interns from the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, none of the five students doubted and all decided to apply in a matter of seconds. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: a chance to get to know vulnerable entrepreneurs who persevere to improve their lives, and to observe how a small loan is able to help them achieve it.
Eager to make the most of their summer, Beatriz, Brezo, Cristina, Ignacio and Jesús sent in their applications for the Development, Inclusion, Microfinance & Entrepreneurship (DIME) internship program that BBVA Microfinance Foundation was offering to Spanish university students, for them to discover how microfinance contributes to enhancing the lives of low-income people. It also provided a possibility to see the Foundation’s work in five Latin-American countries.
This is the first year that the Foundation has launched this program. The chosen students are the first batch of Spanish students to pass the selection process that will entitle them to cross the Atlantic and travel one month through Colombia or Peru to learn about the work being done by Bancamía and Financiera Confianza, the Foundation’s microfinance institutions in the field. They will be able to visit various clients and talk to them, getting a real understanding about their small businesses and what it means to provide opportunities to people who want to progress and dream of a better future for their families.
The credit officers will act as their guides; they are the soul of the Foundation. They reach out to the remotest locations, in places where nobody else goes. They personally attend to each entrepreneur and after finding out their needs, they offer them financial products and services that could, for example, help them boost the output from a vegetable plot, a pottery stove or food stalls, among others. After this summer, small livelihoods like these will be real-life cases, run by people they have met and learned from.
“They will be able to visit various clients and talk to them, getting a real understanding about their small businesses and what it means to provide opportunities to people who want to progress and dream of a better future for their families.”
The five of them were among 300 candidates who applied, and who competed in different selection stages.
“Unlike other on the job training schemes, the DIME internship does not necessarily expect students to contribute to the objectives of the organization with their time or knowledge. It simply offers an unforgettable life experience for the winners, a chance to reflect on what they want for the future, both personally and professionally. The experience will stay with them forever,” explains Víctor Herrero, from the Microfinance Foundation’s Human Talent department, who runs the internship program.