This award, bestowed to the Foundation by the Trust for the Americas/OAS acknowledges its program to promote women’s economic empowerment in benefit of low-income female entrepreneurs, “to push for gender equality by offering economic opportunities to women and girls in the region”
The BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF) has just received the “Corporate Citizen of the Americas 2018” award, from the Trust for the Americas and the Organization of American States (OAS), for their contribution to women’s access to opportunities, allowing them to progress. With the Foundation’s support, more than one million women entrepreneurs have access to microcredits, savings accounts and financial education to improve their lives. They represent 60% of the two million people served by BBVAMF in Latin America: 41% of these women possess primary education at best, 45% are heads of households with dependants under their charge and 26% live in rural areas.
“Women’s empowerment is about recovering the dignity of women as individuals,” shared the Foundation’s CEO, Javier M. Flores in Washington DC. He also stated that: “Our experience shows that given the same conditions as men, their businesses perform better, they save proportionally more, and they spend better on nutrition, health and education for their children.” The award has been handed to him by OAS secretary general, Luis Almagro, who noted that “the Foundation’s cross-cutting strategy encourages women’s economic empowerment, listens to their concerns, their needs and obstacles they face.”
For instance, the Foundation in Peru offers Palabra de Mujer (Woman’s Word), consisting of a loan provided in groups, so that women living in remote areas and who are excluded from the financial system could have access to credit, learn the importance of savings and manage their small businesses. In the Dominican Republic, Agromujer loan allows female farmers to work and develop a livelihood in rural areas. BBVAMF also supports victims of gender-based violence, in alliance with the Dominican State Prosecutor’s Office, so they could rebuild their lives through entrepreneurship. And in Chile, where women represent more than 80% of the entrepreneurs locally served by the Foundation, the Escuela de Emprendimiento (School for Entrepreneurs) gives a two-year training course in business management, empowerment and family well-being.
These are just some of the initiatives implemented by the Foundation to create more opportunities for women in the five Latin American countries where it is present. According to the head of Women Empowerment for BBVAMF, Laura Fernández Lord: “Through our six microfinance institutions, we accompany low-income women to strengthen their enterprising capacity and open new markets for them.”