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Brown University

Publication Date

Spring 2007

Program Name

Chile: Economic Development and Globalization

Abstract

Microcredit is not a 21st century phenomenon, but it has gained remarkable momentum recently, with the awarding of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize to the founder of the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. Fondo Esperanza saw a need for such facilitated access to small loans around Chile. Though Chile is often viewed as a model for Latin American macroeconomic success, it maintains one of the worst distributions of wealth in the world. Much of Chile’s disadvantaged people attempt to make a living through the operation of micro-businesses. In my research, I explored Fondo Esperanza’s operations in Temuco: its organizational structure and use of Communal Banking, as well as the beneficiaries’ motivations for joining and the institution’s impacts on their lives. I lived with a recipient in Padre Las Casas, a community of Temuco. I interviewed nine beneficiaries, as well as the boss of Fondo Esperanza, Temuco, and three “asesores.” I also spoke with two professors and the head of capacity building programs for the municipality’s Department of Local Urban Economic Development. Often, the impacts did not match up with their original motivations for joining, but the women that I interviewed have experienced an incredible number of economic and social changes as a result of Fondo Esperanza, including changes in their income security, personal empowerment and tolerance levels, and many other important transformations. Though there are potential improvements to be made in their workshop delivery and meeting organization, I found an extremely well organized and thoughtful institution, with passionate and dedicated workers.

Disciplines

Finance | Growth and Development

 

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