Women bring community bank to San Pedro
July 2009: Juana Ayala is one of 30 women in Calle Arroyense who has helped boost the local economy by setting up the first community bank in the Department of San Pedro.
Supported by Plan’s microfinance programme, the new Piña Poty (Pineapple flower in Guarani language) bank provides the community with access to savings and credit – services that were previously unattainable because of the community’s distance from the nearest urban centre.
All of the bank members are women and they handle all of the savings, demonstrating that with a little support they can handle the business operations.
“Now we see more money in the communities,” explains Juana. “Thanks to the credits that we granted, my neighbour bought a pig and hens. And I sell eggs to all the families.”
In addition to providing credits and saving services, the bank is also helping the community to purchase medicinal grass known as Poha Ñaña, which when harvested will be sold to companies for commercial use.
“We are already contributing money to our homes and we feel safer and have increased confidence in ourselves. The husbands see women with other eyes because they are no longer the only ones earning money and even the relationship has changed. Now, the decisions in the house are taken between both,” says Juana.
Now Juana and the other members are supporting Plan’s early childhood stimulation and food security projects. As volunteers, they participate in the Mita Roga (children’s house in Guarani language) in their community for pre-school children. They also help to create gardens in their kitchens and in schools, which are used to teach children recipes to improve their diets.
Meanwhile, the women’s husbands are getting involved by repairing the local schools with materials provided by Plan.
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