By Rebelander S. Basilan
Reposted from: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/comment/reply/156075#comment-form
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
A MICROFINANCE institution helps women earn while teaching them good values.
For 25 years, the Kabalikat Para sa Maunlad na Buhay Inc. (KMBI) has helped more than 256,000 women nationwide, said KMBI executive director Edgardo Mercedes.
Mercedes said the organization provides business capital for women who are below the poverty line.
Giving women an opportunity to earn, he said, will augment their family’s income and keep them away from vices like gambling.
“We teach our clients how to become responsible and God-fearing,” said Mercedes.
The KMBI is holding a three-day camp for its clients at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Lahug, Cebu City.
It also holds an exhibit displaying the various ecological projects done by its clients. These projects include planting of mangroves, coastal clean-ups, recycling and cleaning of canals and rivers.
Dubbed “Leadership Enhancement and Development Camp,” the activity provides participants with inputs on personal and family well-being, skills enhancement and current market trends.
The KMBI, which has 71 branches nationwide, upholds the values of respect, integrity, stewardship, commitment to the poor, discipline, innovation and excellence, said KMBI chairman and president Damiana Exiomo.
She pointed out that microfinance is one of the flagship programs of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Mercedes said they lend money to a group of women even without collateral, adding that they bank on “group accountability” in granting loans to women.
He said their clients undergo training to ensure they are able to properly use the loan granted to them.
Microfinance creates jobs needed to strengthen the economy, added Mercedes.
The informal sector of the economy, which includes market vendors and “sari-sari” stores, helps strengthen the country’s economy. This sector, also known as underground economy, comprises 44 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
The KMBI operates four branches in Cebu Province, serving almost 15,000 women micro-entrepreneurs.
In its 25 years of operations, the organization has had several success stories, Mercedes said.