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Microfinance Program in Ecuador

LA MAGDALENA/ SAN CLEMENTE, ECUADOR

(Note: Please excuse us for any grammar or spelling errors since some writings may be provided by our local coordinators in Ecuador and English is not their native language.)

The project is located outside Ibarra, in a small community called La Magdalena and not far away from San Clemente community. This is a place where the majority of the people are Indigenous living of the agriculture and what they produce in their land.

INTERNS ROLE

The project that is called Coperativa de Ahorro y Credito La Magdalena, which is not very big yet since they were founded in 2006. They have gathered about 206 members. Initially 25 people founded the cooperative due to the problems the community members had to get loans in regular banks and there are only two people working full time right now and they had been doing this as volunteers until recently.

To be able to get a credit in the cooperative, community members first need to be members before they can apply for the credit that ranges from $50 up to $5000.

For every credit application that they get, they need to do an evaluation of the applicant’s project. The evaluation consists of analyzing the business they want to start and the chance for it to be profitable with the market etc. It will be warranty for the cooperative that they will have the best chance to get their money back and keep growing.

Most of the credits in the Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito La Magdalena are connected to community agriculture like buying animals, seeds, open small stores, buy tools or to repair the infrastructure of their farms.

Volunteers are needed to help with the day to day tasks like evaluation of applicants but they also need help to build up their computer system to get a better overview of everything and to keep control over everything when they keep growing. If participants also can help looking for International organizations that would be interested to help and get involved in the cooperative with maybe finances, it would help them grow.

REQUIREMENTS

CV/RESUME in word and clear passport scan.
Interest in working with people.

Open-mindedness to work and live in a very different culture.

RECOMMENDED

Some experience or education within the financial field is recommended.
Intermediate Spanish is recommended.
6 to 8 weeks minimum is recommended.

WORKING HOURS

Normally from 14:00 to 18:00 , Monday to Friday.

WHAT TO BRING

Semiformal clothing in case of formal meetings.
A laptop to be able to work easier as the cooperative doesn’t have any extra computers to work on.
USB memory might be good to have if they need to take some documents to be printed out.

OFFICIAL HOLIDAYS 2013

New Year’s Day, 01 of January
Carnival, 10-12 of February
Good Friday, 29 of March
Easter Saturday, 30 of March
Easter Sunday, 31 of March
Labor Day, 01 of May
Battle of Pichincha, 24 of May
Ecuador’s Independence Day or Quito Independence Day, 10 of August
Guayaquil Independence Day, 11 of October (moved from 09 of October)
All Souls Day or Day of the Dead, 02 of November
Cuenca Independence Day, 03 of November
Christmas Eve, 24 of December
Christmas Day, 25 of December
New Year’s Eve, 31 of December

HOME STAY

Participants will stay with a family in San Clemente about 40 minutes away from the office. They have 3 meals with the family but sometimes participants have a hard time to get home for lunch if they for example are out in another community to work, so they might take a simple lunch box or eat wherever at their own expense.

Participants will have a single room with shared bathroom.

TO GET THERE

Participants have to arrive to Quito for at least the first day when we have the orientation. If they want Spanish classes they will of course stay for a while before heading to the location of their work.

When it’s time to leave Quito, they will take a cab service for about $10 to Ibarra from the host family that we help to arrange. On arrival to Ibarra after traveling for about 2.5 hours, the family will pick them up and take them to San Clemente and their home.

The host mother or father will then accompany the participant to the office to get them
introduced the first working day so they also know how to get there and back home.

They normally walk to the office but if they feel like they can walk half way and then take a bus for $0.25 one way. Also, calculate some money for transportation if working outside the office around in the communities.

THINK ABOUT

Spanish is definitely important as well as experience about finances and micro credits. For a university student this could be a challenging and good experience for their future studies and work within the field.

Life in the communities is also basic, so a person that is open to simple living and has similar traveling experience is the best.