54% of the microentrepreneurs served by the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, through Bancamía, cross the poverty threshold on the third year

The BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF), which operates in Colombia through Bancamía, has presented its Social Performance Report today, at the BBVA Colombia headquarters in Bogota. This report reflects the progress of the two million people it serves in five Latin American countries, out of which 50% are clients of Bancamía.

The Foundation’s Impact Assessment and Strategic Development director, Stephanie G. Van Gool, presented key data on the Colombian MFI’s social performance. According to her, “44% of almost 400,000 credit clients live in rural areas, where access to financial services and other basic services is limited. Out of these microentrepreneurs, 79% are economically vulnerable, based on the net incomes from their businesses, which shows that we are reaching people who need financial products and services the most, and who, until recently, were excluded.”

79% of the microentrepreneurs served are economically vulnerable, which shows the depth of our outreach to people who are most in need of financial products and services, but have been traditionally excluded

The report showed that Bancamía’s clients are 54% women, 44% residents in rural areas and 54% possess basic education, at most. Likewise, Stephanie G. Van Gool noted that, “the microentrepreneurs’ businesses are moving forward and we know this because we registered a 14% inter-annual increase in their sales and 15% and 25% growth in net incomes and assets, respectively.”

This is how the Foundation, through social impact measurement, obtained evidence on the satisfactory performance of the microentrepreneurs it serves. This allows 54% of Bancamía’s clients to cross the poverty threshold after two years of working with the MFI.

Presentation of the 2017 Social Performance Report in Colombia (L-R): Stephanie G. Van Gool, director of Impact Assessment in BBVAMF ; Jesús Moreno, microentrepreneur served by Bancamía; Margarita Correa, president of the board of directors for Bancamía ; Miguel Ángel Charria, executive president of Bancamía; y Rodrigo Suárez, consultant for UN Environment

Bancamía drives sustainability to Colombian rural areas to preserve the planet

The Foundation and Bancamía have worked in strengthening their commitment to sustainable agriculture that includes access to credit and advise, as part of the Microfinance for Ecosystem-based-Adaptation (MEbA), promoted by the UN Environment and the German Ministry for Environment.

“Crediverde was conceived out of our adhesion to MEbA to offer economic and technical support needed by farmers so they can be more resilient and be able to adopt more sustainable farming practices. For this purpose, we have worked in three regions: Ubaté (Cundinamarca), Chaparral (Tolima) and Planeta Rica (Córdoba), where we are currently financing more than 300 farmers who are applying measures for climate change adaptation in their farms”, shared Bancamía’s executive president, Miguel Ángel Charria.

One of these farmers is Jesús Moreno, present during the event. Thanks to this initiative, he discovered the benefits of sustainable agriculture: now he has a greenhouse, an orchard and he practices vermicomposting (composting with worms). He sells part of his harvests to neighbors and keeps the rest for his family’s consumption.

“The planet needs these responses. We are contributing to preserve the environment, even in our small ways. We receive technical advice to bring out the best in our crops which would allow our project to progress”, Jesús recounts during the event. He also said that apart from the money he needed to implement climate change adaptation measures, Bancamía also advised him about irrigation techniques and how to avoid the use of chemical products.

Rodrigo Suárez, consultant for UN Environment, guaranteed that, “MEbA seeks to reach vulnerable populations in rural areas so that through microfinance institutions, they could access financial products and services that would allow them to invest in activities related to ecosystems’ sustainability, at the same time improving their incomes and their capacity to adapt to climate change effects.”