To continue to mentor and support existing micro-loan administration partners of The Colombia Project.
To provide pro bono assistance to organizations to replicate the success of The Colombia Project in marginalized communities in Colombia and around the world.
As of January, 2014, The Colombia Project transitioned to TCP Global, a pro bono consulting service to assist other organizations to implement micro-loan programs based on its successful model.
The ideal organization to implement Colombia Project micro-loans is one that is committed to serving an underserved/marginalized community where there are few resources and where there is an existing informal economy - a community largely beyond the reach of many services as well as regulations, where the people are too often on their own.
In 2012, TCP drafted a successful Rotary International Grant application to fund a micro-loan program administered by a Rotary Club in Barranquilla (CRBO), with the Coconut Grove Rotary Club as its international partner. TCP Global mentors and assists CRBO in the implementation and handles the grant reports. TCP Global is ready to do the same for other Rotary Clubs which would like to create micro-loan programs. Funds are handled differently for Rotary implementations, to conform to Rotary International grant policies which require that 100% of loan funds remain in the hands of the host Rotary club.
In addition to facilitating Rotary micro-loan programs, TCP Global is ready to assist groups such as Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Friends-Of groups and other entities dedicated to helping marginalized communities in the developing world.
Fourteen years of experience in raising funds, creating incentives for a results-oriented program, perfecting management tools, recruiting effective grassroots partners and developing a donor base have prepared the TCP Global committee to help other organizations to replicate its sustainable micro-loan model which is described in this website.
The Colombia Project Model
The mission of The Colombia Project is two-fold:
Help individuals affected by the violence in Colombia to get back on their feet economically.
Strengthen grassroots organizations that are working effectively to help marginalized populations.
The Colombia Project (now TCP Global) evolved significantly over the years as it gained experience and learned from its partners in Colombia and by 2007, the program hit its stride. From 2007 to 2013, TCP sent $55,000 to Colombia which was invested in 900 loans valued at $185,000. Excellent repayment rates in Colombia allowed each dollar to be invested more than three times. In addition, Colombian partners earned $40,000 – funds which they used to buy equipment, pay salaries, build a town’s first latrine for handicapped persons and other projects to benefit communities. Average loan size was $208.
In 2013, The Colombia Project had its best year ever, with its Colombian partners issuing over $57,000 in micro-loans, of which $49,000 was funded within Colombia from the permanent loan pools. As of 2014, TCP partners are projected to continue to issue a minimum of $50,000 in micro-loans each year.
As of January, 2014, TCP no longer has any affiliation with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida, Inc.
Follows development model used in Peace Corps training
The Colombia Project differs significantly from other micro-credit programs by following the development model used in Peace Corps training: “empowering people and strengthening organizations through asset-based approaches.”
The Colombia Project identifies grassroots organizations that are already working effectively in marginalized communities, then partners with them to strengthen their program. Funding for micro-loans enables local partners to economically empower their clients, adding a valuable tool to their development toolbox.
The Colombia Project provides incentives for successful implementation but allows local partners to define the structure that works best for them and their community. “The Peace Corps and many other development organizations have come to realize that organizational development results are greater and longer lasting when the individuals involved with the organization (stakeholders) become active participants in a positive change process.” (An NGO Training Guide for Peace Corps Volunteers - page 38, online at Peacecorps.gov).
This development-micro-loan model yields dual benefits by minimizing administrative costs and encouraging innovative local solutions to local challenges.
Builds a locally sustainable loan program
The 2nd key difference is that The Colombia Project builds a sustainable loan pool to serve the community in perpetuity. Repayments on loans remain in the local community rather than returning to the funding entity. 50% of repayments go to a revolving loan pool. The grassroots organizations keep up to 50% of repayments of principal on the initial round of loans to cover administrative costs. Once the loan pool is sufficient to meet the community’s microloan needs, no additional outside funds are needed. The grassroots organization then uses the loan interest to cover program costs and The Colombia Project moves on to assist other communities.
By incorporating loans funded by The Colombia Project loans into existing development programs, loan recipients gain access to the grassroots organizations’ broad range of support services for a multi-pronged attack on poverty. The MINICOL loan recipients in Genova, Villa Maria-Manizales, and Concordia receive literacy, nutrition, and job training support while many of their children receive academic scholarships. In Santa Marta, FUNDEHUMAC’s loan recipients participate in a variety of educational, job training, motivational, team-building and nutrition programs for youth and adults. APRODEFA-Cartagena provides intensive team-building and training before loans are disbursed, with a resultant 98% repayment rate for their loans.
Helping Colombians Rebuild Their Lives
Jorge and Alex are studying business at the university, thanks to scholarships provided by The Magdalena Foundation. With the help of a Colombia Project loan, they set up a small bike shop on the outskirts of Santa Marta where they are applying skills learned in the university and generating a small income to support themselves as well as Alex’s grandmother. The FUNDEHUMAC support network of lawyers, business experts and social workers helps them to overcome any obstacles they encounter to ensure that their studies and their business are successful.
Based on its successes with The Colombia Project, FUNDEHUMAC in Magdalena was awarded $14 million pesos ($6500 US) by the local government to set up a similar loan program specifically for women-heads of household. .
In an e-mail dated June 29,2006 Alba Lucia Moreno, head of FUNDEHUMAC, wrote:
...this model [The Colombia Project] is unique and thanks to you that were the pioneers and an example for the local government showing that women can rise out of misery giving dignity to their family unit and have a positive effect on others around them. Thank you for having faith in us. This is the best testimony of your great heart. You have left an imprint in the local administration of a city where everything gets stolen. Now the mayor says with pride, ‘finally we are demonstrating that with the help of an international community (The Colombia Project) and FUNDEHUMAC we can do things for our poor people".