Our Partners: APRODEFA

In 2006, The Colombia Project approached Audes Jimenez, an Ashoka Fellow who had established APRODEFA, a community development and successful micro-credit loan program in Barranquilla targeted at marginalized, internal refugees. The Colombia Project board asked if she would enter a partnership to replicate that program in another city. She selected Cartagena and developed a team that quickly set up programs in two displaced settlements. APRODEFA had experience working with displaced people and with microcredit programs but they had not worked in Cartagena before. This was the first time that The Colombia Project partnered in a location that was new for TCP and for our partner. While this has presented challenges, the program is thriving. Loans are given to expand existing businesses, headed primarily by women. Completion of a training course is a pre-requisite for receiving a loan. An added feature of the APRODEFA-Cartagena program is a micro savings program that allows participants to save as well as borrow money in their local neighborhood.  This valuable service evolved solely from the initiative of the Colombian partner. Networking among The Colombia Project partners is encouraged as a means of sharing valuable program ideas such as community banking, much the same way that loan recipients network to share their small business ideas.