The economic inclusion project takes another step

USAID’s Jene Thomas. (Image source: WOCCU)

New data released Tuesday by WOCCU and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) showed that after nearly two years in the Economic Inclusion Project, more than 70,000 people living in Peru and Ecuador benefited from better access to savings, credit services and entrepreneurship opportunities.

The Economic Inclusion Project (EIC) began in June 2020 by WOCCU, with funding from USAID to provide economic opportunities for the Venezuelan migrant and refugee population who fled the country to Peru and Ecuador at the search for a better life.

World Vision, the aid organization, estimates that more than 6 million people have left Venezuela in recent years, due to ongoing violence, hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine.

According to data shared at a quarterly meeting on May 20, the PEI has been successful in generating opportunities for Venezuelan migrants and vulnerable local residents.

“We have found that without financial education and access to formal financial services for vulnerable populations, efforts to boost entrepreneurship, promote employability and prevent gender-based violence are not truly sustainable,” said Jene Thomas, Director of the USAID mission in Peru. “That is why, thanks to our 14 partners (financial institutions) in Peru and Ecuador, we have helped 71,272 beneficiaries to access savings and credit services and succeeded, for the first time, in providing citizens Venezuelans access to loans. »

According to a WOCCU press release, 5,624 Venezuelan, Peruvian and Ecuadorian entrepreneurs have benefited from programs aimed at consolidating their businesses in collaboration with EIP partners.

“For me, it is a great satisfaction to finish repaying my third loan and to be able to apply for another one for the fourth time, with a vision of a future greater than the one we had a year ago, showing that we can grow as businesses, that we can be recognized as a stable business and, above all, to develop our credit history so that many more doors open for us,” said Deisy Arbelay, a Venezuelan entrepreneur and beneficiary of financial services provided by MF Prisma Credit Union.

Data revealed that 65% of EIP participants are women, many of whom are in vulnerable situations, and the project is developing strategies to prevent gender-based violence. In total, EIP has trained more than 8,300 people through its financial education programs, according to a statement from WOCCU.

“To continue…I think that’s the biggest challenge. To continue this project that has definitely transformed the lives of so many people here in Lima, and I know it is the same in Ecuador, said Oscar Pérez, president of Unión Venezolana in Peru. “Pursuing in a planned way will allow more financial institutions to join what is already an unstoppable movement of institutions that believe Venezuelan migration can have a positive impact on host communities.”

The EIP is expected to continue until June 2023.

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