Yasmila often takes her Miracle Pot (La Olla Milagrosa) and a chicken to the poorest barrios around Fundación, inviting each family to contribute something—corn, yuca, potatoes, carrots or whatever they can spare. A few hours later, their stomachs bear witness to the greater good achieved when they work together. In the interim, Yasmila listens to their stories and shares her wisdom. She knows many of them as customers at her Fundación market warehouse, and she’s always searching for ways to help them improve their businesses. She offers free training programs and, for the last three years, has provided TCP Global micro-loans. During the pandemic, the Miracle Pot is busier than ever serving over 1,200 meals in the first month, and these days Yasmila uses earnings from the loan program to pay for the food.
Jonathan in Guaimaro/Salamina has a similar approach, using food as an incentive to bring people to his informal talks where he teaches improved farming methods, financial literacy and other life skills.
TCP Global partners come in many forms, but they share one common trait—all have a history of working effectively to serve their communities. The typical TCP Global partner is referred by an RPCV or PCV who then serves as a mentor to ensure the loan program’s success through a relationship built on trust. Since 2007, the $65,000 sent to Colombia has supported more than1,600 loans valued at a total of $422,000 and earned $72,000 for the partners’ special projects like facilities for persons with disabilities, scholarships and programs likeYasmila’s and Jonathan’s. TCP Global added 14 sites within the last year, now supporting 30 loan programs in 12 countries, more than 50% of which are mentored by an RPCV with a personal connection.
Worldwide, the average TCP Global loan is $235, the repayment rate is over 98% and the typical borrower lives in a community with fewer than 15,000 residents—communities that are largely off the radar of most micro-finance institutions and precisely the communities where TCP Global works best. Five recent Colombia RPCVs joined the TCP Global team and are donating their considerable talents to upgrade loan tracking systems and materials for training and outreach. They volunteered to become TCP Global’s successors and committed to running the program as a volunteer effort so that 100% of donations will continue to be distributed as loans.
Thanks to a connection with the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), TCP Global received a sizable donation for micro-loans but is still in need of supplemental donations and funds to cover the NPCA administrative fee. For more information, or to bring TCP Global micro-loans to your Peace Corps community, contact email@example.com or visit tcpglobal.peacecorpsconnect.org.