Newsletter articles

Transforming tea estates and impacting lives in northern India [part 1]

AMBO-IN-23.jpg06 July | 2017 Deep in the northern mountains of India, lies Darjeeling, a region known for producing the best designated teas. What makes that perfect cup of steaming Darjeeling possible, are the thousands of people working on tea estates. full story

Transforming tea estates and impacting lives in northern India [part 2]

AMBO-IN-15.jpg06 July | 2017 Oikocredit’s investment enabled Darjeeling Organic Tea Estates Private Limited (DOTEPL) to buy three tea estates in Darjeeling, northern India; among them are Rangaroon and Pandam. full story

Strengthening People and Planet [interview]

Kawien 1.JPG04 July | 2017 As Oikocredit publishes its Social & Environmental Performance Report for 2016, Kawien Ziedses des Plantes, deputy director of social performance and capacity building, explains some of the thinking behind the organization’s approach to social and environmental performance. full story

Kompanion Bank blends capital and business knowledge to create self-sustainable futures

KOMP-KG-39-cropped.jpg26 April | 2017 Kompanion Bank was established in 2004 to provide loans to small scale farmers, livestock herders and shepherds in Kyrgyzstan. It has been an Oikocredit partner since 2007. However, Kompanion is a bank with a difference because it not only provides micro loans to its clients but also offers them free business development training and technical assistance in order to promote sustainable agriculture and natural resource management. full story

Cooperatives, banking and development economics: Thos Gieskes’ path to Oikocredit

Thos Gieskes V2.jpg03 April | 2017 Today Thos Gieskes joins Oikocredit as our new managing director. With a background in development economics and over 30 years in leadership at a cooperative bank, Thos is excited about the new role with an organization he believes in. full story

Letter from our interim managing director

Ging cropped.PNG12 January | 2017 Dear friends, investors and colleagues, A new year has begun. We’ve taken stock of 2016 (our annual results will be announced in March) and turn our focus to what 2017 may bring. We look forward ... full story

Philippines: Lessons learned in disaster preparedness

CB Phillipines.JPG12 January | 2017 To help its partners achieve greater resilience to deal with natural disasters, Oikocredit has been running a Disaster Risk Reduction & Management (DRRM) training programme for nearly three years. This week, Oikocredit investors are visiting partners in the Philippines that have put the DRRM training programme into practice. full story

Supporting smallholder farmers during Ukraine’s turbulent times

20160630_Svitlana_137.jpg12 January | 2017 Getting access to loans has been a challenge for smallholder farmers in Ukraine for several decades. Since the agrarian reforms following the country’s independence from Russia in 1991, mainstream investors have favoured large-scale agricultural production. full story

The rebuilding and refinancing of Ecuador’s devastated cocoa producers

FORTA-EC-02.jpg19 December | 2016 Last April’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Ecuador particularly affected communities living in the coastal area where the fair-trade cocoa growers’ associations Fortaleza del Valle and FONMSOEAM operate. full story

Video featuring support for Rwanda's booming coffee sector

Rwanda coffee film.PNG01 December | 2016 Rusizi Specialty Coffee (RSC) is a coffee export company based in the district of Rusizi, in south-west Rwanda. Rusizi Speciality Coffee works with 2,000 smallholder farmers and three coffee cooperatives to produce high-quality coffee. full story

Improving the lives of people in rural areas through peanut farming

GREEN-KE-07.jpg01 December | 2016 Athanas Matheka, founder and CEO of Greenforest Foods Limited, a Kenyan company that produces honey and nuts, is using peanuts to improve the lives of families in Kenya’s rural areas and to reduce resource-centred conflict. Yes, Peanuts. full story

Desert Land Blooms Again

SEKEM-EG-42.jpg03 November | 2016 Forty years ago, the idea of bio-dynamic farming at the edge of the Egyptian desert within a socially responsible business model seemed an unlikely prospect. SEKEM, founded in 1977, has turned what was once a dream into reality. full story

Supporting local producers of honey and nuts

GREEN-KE-11.jpg03 November | 2016 “The recent expansion of Greenforest’s business in Kenya not only provides direct employment for the staff working in our production facilities, it creates indirect employment for the local farmers and suppliers from whom we source materials,” says Athanas Matheka, founder and CEO of Greenforest Foods Limited. He is in no doubt about the important role his company plays in improving the lives of Kenya’s rural farmers. full story

Financial access and opportunity in Ecuador

Daquilema 1.jpg01 August | 2016 In 1978 Oikocredit made its very first loan to a non-profit organization working with farmers in Ecuador. Since then, Oikocredit has grown its portfolio in Ecuador significantly, with loans and investments in the country currently standing at € 49 million to almost 30 partners. full story

CONCRECES: A sombrero business that supports its people

concreces.jpg08 July | 2016 In the Mexican state of Oaxaca, almost half the population works in the primary sector, with limited access to banks or financial institutions. Many small entrepreneurs struggle to obtain finance for their businesses. This is where Oikocredit partner, Unión de Crédito Concreces SA de CV (known as CONCRECES) plays a valuable role. CONCRECES is a well-established credit union supporting micro and small enterprises in Oaxaca and, to a smaller extent, in other states. full story

Interview with Oikocredit's country manager for Mexico

Carlos Rius.jpg04 July | 2016 Carlos Rius, Oikocredit’s country manager for Mexico, was interviewed about Oikocredit’s activities in Mexico and how working with credit unions has become a focal point for the country’s investment strategy. full story

Oikocredit invests in Honduran solar project

planta-solar-honduras2-(2).png29 March | 2016 In the first quarter of 2016, Oikocredit’s renewable energy team completed an investment of US$ 11 million in Compañía Hondureña de Energía Solar, SA de CV (COHESSA). COHESSA is a solar energy ... full story

Meeting the demand for sustainable fish

yalelo-news-item-01.jpg11 January | 2016 In September 2014, Oikocredit made its first equity investment of US$ 2.5 million in Yalelo Ltd, a sustainable aquaculture company in Zambia. Yalelo farms tilapia in Lake Kariba which is then sold... full story

Letter from our managing director

david-woods-Q42015-newsletter.png21 December | 2015 Dear valued stakeholders, With 2015 almost at a close, it’s a good time not only to reflect on the year’s achievements, but also look forward to what 2016 may bring. This year was one of steady ... full story

Building up Oikocredit’s equity portfolio

Bart van Eyk 267 x 107.jpg09 December | 2015 In August 2015, Oikocredit welcomed a new member to the management team, Bart van Eyk. As the equity and business development director, Bart is responsible for building-up and managing the equity ... full story

Tree plantings mark Oikocredit’s 40th anniversary

Tree planting Kenya hands 150 x 226 .jpg18 November | 2015 Last week trees were planted in the Netherlands, Kenya and India to mark Oikocredit’s 40th anniversary, in ceremonies that were attended by Oikocredit employees from around the globe. The tree ... full story

Impact study on agriculture partner, SEKEM

SEKEM report14 September | 2015 In September 2014, Oikocredit initiated an impact evaluation study on its Egyptian agricultural partner, SEKEM. The study was coordinated by Oikocredit International in close cooperation with ... full story

Preparing for disaster and the effects of climate change

drrm-relief-philippines-occci.jpg10 September | 2015 Natural disasters affect everybody; however low-income earners are generally the ones that suffer the most. The Philippines is the third highest country at risk for natural disasters next to ... full story

Meeting the demand for sustainable agri-business

1632-COAG-BR-23.jpg02 September | 2015 Around 75% of people living on less the US$ 2 a day reside in rural areas, depending on agriculture as their main source of income. A growing world population and the effects of climate change are... full story

Future bright for Manduvirá’s sugar refinery

manduvira-paraguay-02-470pixels.png26 August | 2015 Cooperativa de Producción Agroindustrial, Ahorro y Crédito Manduvirá Ltda (Manduvirá) is an Oikocredit partner and cooperative producing organic and fair trade sugar in Paraguay. It operates out ... full story

Coffee and Reconciliation in Rwanda

coffee-rwanda-02-470pixels.png19 August | 2015 By Ging Ledesma In the Rusizi district of south-west Rwanda, Jean Bosco Ngabonziza, a nurse fondly known as ‘Nurse Bosco’, is a well-known and well-respected member of his community. After the ... full story

Oikocredit and Central Lanera Uruguaya; a long-term partnership

clu-uruguay-news-article-q2-2015.png18 June | 2015 Since its humble beginnings in 1975, Oikocredit has funded 1,670 partner organizations, disbursing over € 2.1 billion in development financing. Of the many organizations that have partnered with ... full story

Wendy Plant: over 30 years of dedicated service

wendy-plant.jpg02 June | 2015 Wendy Plant has been with Oikocredit for over 30 years, making her Oikocredit’s longest standing employee. Initially joining as an administrative staffer after moving to the Netherlands from her ... full story

Oikocredit’s first partner in Latin America

fepp-historic-image-470pixels.jpg27 May | 2015 In Ecuador over 20% of the population live below the national poverty line*. Among the country’s rural population this proportion rises to over 50%**. Fondo Ecuatoriano Populorum Progressio ... full story

Letter from our managing director

vfc-cambodia-square.jpg24 March | 2015 Dear valued stakeholders, With 2015 well under way, it’s a good time to look back on our achievements in the year that’s passed, as well as look ahead to what this year will bring. At Oikocredit, ... full story

A balanced financial approach

irene-and-max-470-pixels.jpg23 March | 2015 For 40 years, Oikocredit has balanced its social and financials returns. For the full year 2014, Oikocredit recorded another set of solid financial results. In acknowledgment of Oikocredit’s ... full story

Oikocredit’s first ever loan in India

vellore-medical-college-2015.jpg17 March | 2015 In India, around 300 million of its 1.2 billion inhabitants live below the $1.25 a day poverty line. When Oikocredit began operations 40 years ago, the number was almost the same, with around 320 ... full story

Letter from our managing director

David Woods in the field22 December | 2014 Dear valued stakeholders, With 2014 almost at an end, it’s a good time not only to reflect on the year’s achievements, but also to look forward to what 2015 may bring for us. We’ve had a good year... full story

Combatting coffee leaf rust in Latin America

470px-capucas-1675-hn-02.jpg11 December | 2014 Part of Oikocredit’s triple bottom line is supporting partner organizations that not only provide social and financial impacts, but environmental ones as well. One partner that ticks all three ... full story

Investing in clean energy

david-ten-kroode.jpg09 December | 2014 In 2013, Oikocredit amended its investment guidelines to incorporate environmental criteria. In mid-2014 Oikocredit welcomed renewable energy financing expert, David ten Kroode, who will build-up and manage the renewable energy portfolio in conjunction with our regional offices. With a set strategy and a few deals now done, we spoke with David about how and where he will build-up the portfolio and why the renewable energy sector is a good fit for Oikocredit. full story

A people, planet, profit investment fund

470px-ecoenterprises-1765-cr-01.jpg26 November | 2014 As a social investor, Oikocredit invests directly in organizations as well as a small number of social or sustainable funds. One of Oikocredit’s sustainable investments is in EcoEnterprises Fund, ... full story

Advancing gender balance

Ylse and Irene-right-sidebar.jpg16 September | 2014 According to a recent study published by the Grant Thornton International Business Report, the proportion of women in senior roles worldwide has stagnated at 24%. At Oikocredit, the division of ... full story

A woman in a man’s world

coop-maimon-2.jpg13 August | 2014 Like many Latin American countries, the Dominican Republic has a strong, male-oriented culture. Although this culture is beginning to shift, for many women in the Dominican Republic, life is a daily battle between running a household and slaying the ‘macho dragon’. full story

Adding value to microfinance

elikanah-spm.jpg26 March | 2014 As part of its work as a social investor, Oikocredit has a capacity building unit as part of the social performance department that assists partners and the wider microfinance community in maintaining social practices. Oikocredit has dedicated social performance officers in every region that mentor and support existing and potential partners in both day-to-day operations and longer-term social goals. Elikanah Ng’ang’a is one of Oikocredit’s social performance officers and covers four countries in East Africa. We recently spoke with Elikanah about the role of social performance in his region. full story

Letter from our managing director

alide-small.jpg20 March | 2014 Dear valued stakeholders, With 2014 well under way, it’s a good time to look back on our achievements in the year that’s passed. Last year was my first full year with Oikocredit and it was a ... full story

Reaching rural areas in Africa

adama-thiaw.jpg12 March | 2014 In recent years, Oikocredit has focussed on Africa as one of its strategic investment areas. Oikocredit currently has over € 70 million invested in Africa across a range of sectors, with the plan for further expansion. Financing of both agricultural enterprises and microfinance institutions will remain a core part of the portfolio. Microfinance institutions (MFIs) across Africa play a key role in access to financial services, with many microborrowers located in rural areas without access to finance. full story

Caring for coffee in Latin America

capucas-small.jpg05 March | 2014 As part of Oikocredit’s focus on agriculture, it supports various agricultural value chains, in particular coffee in Latin America. Coffee contributes to approximately 36% of Oikocredit’s total agricultural portfolio in Latin America, making it a focus area for investment in many countries. Coffee has been farmed in Latin America for centuries. Recently, this important sector was struck by a fast spreading fungal disease that could devastate farmers and the entire industry. The fungus causes coffee leaf rust, infecting the coffee plant’s leaves, making them fall off and weaken (and in extreme cases, kill) the coffee tree. full story

Darjeeling’s environmental estates

ambootia.jpg09 October | 2013 Oikocredit has been working in India since 1978, investing in equity and providing loans to numerous social enterprises throughout the country. Its most recent equity investment is in Darjeeling Organic Tea Estates Private Ltd., known by its principal estate, Ambootia. The family owned company, led by Sanjay Bansal, is the second largest tea producer in the Darjeeling region and the largest producer of biodynamic Demeter certified tea in the world. It is renowned for its high social and environmental impacts. full story

Marketing Senegal’s mangoes

mangoes-saveurs-du-sud.jpg09 October | 2013 As part of Oikocredit’s strategic focus on agriculture, Oikocredit invests in several agricultural businesses in Africa, including Senegalese mango processing company, Les Saveurs du Sud SA. Although 75% of Senegal’s population works in the agricultural sector, much of the country’s rural areas remain underserviced in terms of electricity, drinkable water, agricultural equipment and irrigation. full story

A truly Divine partnership

Divine Chocolate09 October | 2013 Oikocredit partner, Divine Chocolate, is a company “owned by cocoa farmers, made for chocolate lovers™”. The chocolate company was started by the cocoa producing cooperative, Kuapa Kokoo, and became a partner of Oikocredit in 2006. Today, Divine Chocolate is the only Fairtrade chocolate company which is 45% owned by cocoa farmers. full story

Kuapa Kokoo launches radio programme

kuapa-kokoo-ghana.jpg26 March | 2013 How do you communicate to 65,000 members, some of whom live deep in the rainforest and can’t read or write? This has been a major challenge over recent years for Kuapa Kokoo, a fair trade partner of Oikocredit in Ghana. full story

Social impacts in Senegal

Senegalpic1.png26 March | 2013 Evaluating social returns can be, at times, less straightforward than assessing financial returns. For Oikocredit, seeing the social benefits of its partners’ work remains a top priority. full story

Keeping a sharp eye on social performance

andrea-dominguez.jpg26 March | 2013 For Oikocredit, social returns are as important as financial returns. To assist our partners and the wider microfinance community in maintaining social practices, Oikocredit has a social performance officer in every region. full story

Mentoring microfinance

Ugandapic2.png22 March | 2013 In 2011, Oikocredit developed a social performance mentoring programme to assist microfinance institutions embed social practices into daily operations. How has the mentoring programme fared and what were some outcomes? full story

Combating the grab for land

0647-dove-bg-09-thumbnail15 October | 2012 After increasing reports of land grabbing in many developing countries, Oikocredit is providing funds for cooperatives to buy their own land. Many cooperatives rent land and therefore are directly threatened by local or international companies and individuals buying significant areas to farm. full story