Many Bolivian women earn a simple wage working for local municipals, cleaning the streets and common land with their rakes, brooms and bare hands. That’s until FUNBODEM - a microfinance partner of Oikocredit - dedicated to the development of disadvantaged Bolivian women, encouraged some of these women in semi-urban areas to form themselves into four groups of between 30-50 people, mainly comprising friends and family.
For each of these groups and for each individual, FUNBODEM - with the help of funding from Oikocredit’s individual and organisation investors - provided wheelie-bins to make these women’s jobs easier, quicker and safer. FUNBODEM doesn’t just leave it there, however. They also provide these women with ongoing support; lending financial support in times of ill health and incapacity, and ideas for extending the use of their wheelie bins into other money-making areas such as transport of milk, sugar cane etc.
This is just one small example of how Socially Responsible Investment (SRI), derived from investments made by individuals and corporates in the West, can flow directly into responsible international organisations such as Oikocredit, and out to local partner intermediaries in developing countries - such as FUNBODEM in Bolivia. Here, on the ground, the investment capital is distributed to reach and serve the most disadvantaged groups.
In the case of Bolivia this invariably includes women on the periphery of society; who have no other way of gaining financial or other support, nor improving their financial situation and attaining economic self-reliance, and who are often abused and abandoned by the rest of society.
Keep following my updates here at the Oikocredit UK blog, or via www.twitter.com/OikocreditUK and consider investing yourself - in “people” instead of “big business” at http://www.oikocredit.org.uk/why-invest.
And in the meantime don’t forget the wildlife. Meet another exotic bird that I came across in Bolivia…