BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF) turns 15 years old, supporting millions of people as they improve their lives. It celebrated this milestone with an event that magnified the voices of individuals who lead these achievements: the more than 6 million entrepreneurs it serves across 5 Latin American countries, along with the launching of the documentary After the rain. It tells the stories of three families who embody the values of overcoming adversity and of bravery. Three families who have beaten obstacles like gender violence, the limitations of rural environments and the Colombian conflict.
This event was chaired by H.M. the Queen of Spain and participants included: the Chair of BBVA, Carlos Torres Vila; the Secretary-General of the Ibero-American General Secretariat, Andrés Allamand; the CEO of the CGAP think tank (World Bank), Sophie Sirtaine; Senior Public Policy advisor to the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), part of the University of Oxford and former Minister of Social Development of Panama, Michelle Muschett; and the CEO of the BBVAMF, Javier M. Flores. Global experts who discussed the challenges of taking digitalization, women’s empowerment and sustainability to the most vulnerable.
Two of the leading participants in the documentary also spoke during the event: the Colombian entrepreneur Olga Nidia Ortiz, and her daughter, Kelly Zapata; they explained how, when given an opportunity, one can hope for a better future, and how after the rain, there can be hope. The short film’s directors, photojournalists Ofelia de Pablo and Javier Zurita, have expressed their admiration at how these entrepreneurs have been able to get ahead with their lives.
During her speech, H.M. the Queen acknowledged BBVAMF’s work: “It’s the determined action in the countries where this foundation is present, and above all, the real transformation in so many peoples’ lives, that urge us to hope and strengthens us”.
Likewise, BBVA’s Chair delivered words of appreciation for the more than 7,000 people who are part of the Foundation. Thanks to their work, the BBVAMF, with its microfinance institutions in Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republic, Chile and Panama, “wish to, thanks to digitization and connectivity, bring financial services, advice and training to millions of entrepreneurs who search for a better future. Their progress is always at the core, giving them solutions tailored to their problems, listening to them first-hand and in situ, in person.” “I have had the opportunity to witness the Foundations’ microfinance agents in action, with a tablet that ‘contains’ their branch offices wherever they go”, shared Carlos Torres Vila.
Along the same lines, BBVA’s Chair has highlighted “the Foundation’s advocacy for the entrepreneurs’ and their families’ training and education, because I am convinced of its transformative power; it is the door to opportunities, the path to reach one’s projects, one’s dreams”.
For her part, First Vice-President and Minister for the Economy and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, has upheld BBVAMF’s efforts, which “represent and symbolize an invisible bridge that crosses the Atlantic and connects Spain with our brother countries in Latin America; we are all aware that we can overcome difficult situations together and it will make us stronger”.
15 years of microfinance to reduce gaps and poverty
Fighting against the rise in inequalities, reducing gender, digital, social, and of course economic gaps, have always been and continue to be the key challenges to achieving inclusion in Latin America.
According to BBVAMF CEO, Javier M. Flores, “to advocate for sustainability has the potential to be one of the most important breakthroughs in history. The current goal is to grow responsibly, inclusively and sustainably, balancing the economic, environmental and social perspectives in all that we do”.
Flores, together with Andrés Allamand, Sophie Sirtaine and Michelle Muschett, took part in the round table that opened the event: Inclusion, Women, Digitalization & Measuring to reduce gaps and poverty. Participants discussed the main obstacles facing both the public and private sector in fighting the inequalities directly confronting millions of entrepreneurs served by the Foundation. Their vulnerability has not stopped them from being an example and a source of inspiration for their children, their communities and for the Foundation itself, which aims to continue reinforcing its most important fields of action: inclusion, women’s empowerment, and sustainability; using innovation (technology, digitalization and connectivity), education and training, as drivers of development, and measuring social impact as a management tool, to remain by their side for the long term.
This strategy taken in the round has meant that in 2022 BBVAMF has once again, for the third consecutive year, been acknowledged as the leading foundation for its contribution to development in Latin America, and the second in the world, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The stories of three entrepreneuring families who overcame adversity, After the rain…
After the rain tells the stories of how three families overcame obstacles, lending a face and a voice to some of the challenges that many of the entrepreneurs served by the Foundation over the years have faced: violence, abuse, hardships in achieving rural development and combating climate change … some of the toughest challenges of our times that feature in the documentary being screened for the first time during the event. The short film showcases the hope that it is possible to progress and have a better future …when the rain abates.