Commitments to Innovative Solutions in Breaking the Cycle of Poverty
By Josh Cramer-Montes, Director of Communications
It’s been a busy but exciting week here in NYC as a cross-section of world leaders, CEOs, leading NGOs and foundations, and philanthropists came together for this year’s Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, the UN General Assembly meeting and a number of related activities.
At this year’s CGI Meeting, Pro Mujer made two major announcements. First, we completed our 2009-2013 CGI “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty” Commitment – one year ahead of schedule. Secondly, we launched a new commitment titled, “Pro Mujer: A Market-Based Solution to Tackle Chronic Diseases in Latin America” that will run through 2015.
In 2009, we committed to provide 350,000 clients with our holistic package of services: small loans, savings and insurance; business and empowerment training, preventive health education and high-quality, low-cost primary healthcare.
Pro Mujer President and Chief Executive Officer Rosario Pérez announces our Commitment at the 2009 CGI Annual Meeting
At the close of 2011, we surpassed this Commitment by cumulatively reaching 358,946 microentrepreneurs – one year ahead of schedule.
In completing this commitment, Pro Mujer:
- Disbursed half a billion dollars in small loans averaging US$369 to help microentrepreneurs start or grow their businesses;
- Taught educational and life skills workshops to 358,946 clients and reached their more than 1.4 million children and family members;
- Provided 272,806 medical consultations with a particular emphasis on chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, sexual and reproductive health issues, and breast and cervical cancers;
- Facilitated savings accounts, which grew from $18.1 million in 2010 to $20.8 million in 2011, providing clients with an essential financial safety net against life’s unforeseen emergencies;
- Opened 10 new Pro Mujer centers – safe and supportive environments designed for women and their communal bank groups that provide easy and convenient access to services
- Maintained a combined average loan repayment rate of 98.9% in all five countries of operation.
This year, with the financial support of GlaxoSmithKline and the Vitol Foundation, we launched our latest commitment, which begins in January 2013, to reach 470,000 women by expanding our geographic footprint in our five countries of operations, particularly in Mexico and Peru, by December of 2015.
In addition, we will continue to standardize and expand our new health pilot within and beyond Nicaragua, where it was first launched in 2010. The focus of this model is on screening for chronic diseases and providing primary health care. The emphasis on screening is particularly relevant to the countries where Pro Mujer currently operates, where chronic illnesses account for 47% to 75% of health-related loss of productivity.
In making the announcement, Pro Mujer’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Rosario Pérez said, “While we have completed our 2009 CGI commitment, we are far from finished. Pro Mujer remains dedicated to providing as many women as possible with the opportunities they need to be the leading protagonists of their own destinies. We look forward to continuing to make a positive impact in the lives of many more women and their families across Latin America.”
Pro Mujer client Janeth Villegas, a chocolatier from Bolivia, stands with her three young children. To watch Janeth tell her story, click here.
Special thanks go out to our 2009 CGI Commitment partners. Pro Mujer received technical support from Harvard Business School, Harvard School of Public Health, the Ministry of Education of Peru and PATH. In addition, Pro Mujer received generous financial support from: Anglo American Group Foundation; Calvert Investments; Citi Foundation; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Global Partnerships; Microsoft Unlimited Potential–Community Technology Skills Program; JPMorgan Chase Foundation; Oikocredit; Weberg Trust; and Whole Foods Market’s Whole Planet Foundation.