From organic agriculture that reclaims land in the Egyptian desert; to solar lamps that bring affordable lighting to remote Indian villages, Oikocredit has a 41-year track record as a leading worldwide social impact investor. We invest in over 800 social enterprises (our partners) in nearly 70 countries to support the most financially-excluded people in the world so that they can create their own paths out of poverty.
In 2015, over 46 million people worldwide have been offered financial and other support by our social enterprise partners to start their own businesses, educate their children and sustain their communities. Here are just a few of our recent stories:
Agriculture: Loans and technical support for small-holder farmers
¾ of the world’s poorest people live in rural areas relying on agricultural activities to meet their daily needs - including food security and fairer, more robust value chains. Over the past decade the effects of climate change and financial exclusion have exacerbated the hardships of these small-scale farmers, threatening their livelihoods. Oikocredit therefore invested € 113m in small-scale agricultural enterprises and cooperatives in 2015.
Oikocredit partner COOPECAN, for example, promotes the wellbeing and integral development of farmers raising South American camels. Prior to joining the co-operative, Nicomedes Cochama Yava was unable to sustain his family or educate his children. With its critical mass of alpaqueros, COOPECAN has the bargaining power to secure fairer prices in a market that is typically dominated by large companies. Fairer prices enable these remote communities to improve their standards of living – in particular, housing, health and education for their children.
Microfinance - small loans to give individuals a hand up
38% adults (2 billion people) still lack access to basic financial services - particularly women, remote and excluded communities. Oikocredit is therefore dedicated to reaching these groups via its microfinance partners around the world and invested € 735m during 2015 to this end.
José Laso Salazar, standing with his wife Maria Cecilia and children, starts to well up with tears as he talks about the loans from Oikocredit cooperative partner, Ambato, that helped him build his flower business. He has big dreams. Each week, he picks three hundred bunches of flowers, 25 stems in each. The wholesaler pays $2.50 (£1.75) a bunch and exports to the US, Brazil and Spain. Once José’s existing loan is paid off, he’d like to repair more polytunnels, harvest 1,000 bunches a week, and provide employment to 20 people. He wants his sons to have higher education: if one were to study agronomy, José wouldn’t have to pay outside experts. “I’m so proud of him, of his vision” Marisela Masabanda, the operational manager at the Ambato co-operative’s says.
Affordable Renewable Energy for the underserved communities
One fifth of the global population (1.2bn) has no access to electricity, four-fifths living in rural areas. Oikocredit therefore invests in enterprises that provide renewable energy in underserved communities in a way that is economically, socially and foremost environmentally sustainable. Living in rural Africa, for example, often means intermittent electricity supply or none at all. With the help of financing from Oikocredit, BBOXX, a London-based solar energy company, has designed and supplied 65,000 home solar energy units to 14 countries in the developing world, particularly Africa.