Cesmach is a first tier, fair trade cooperative located in the southern highlands of Chiapas, Mexico where biodiversity is at risk and over 70 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line. For thousands of small farmers living in the region, coffee is the principal agricultural activity and the only source of income. In turn Cesmach looks to improve the living conditions of member producers while caring for the environment. It does so by providing tailored credit and crop-focused technical assistance coupled with certification support, commercialization services and access to specialty markets.
As a member-owned cooperative Cesmach brings together individual producers and increases their access to fair trade and organic markets by providing training that helps farmers increase crop quality and maintain certification standards. In addition to technical assistance, Cesmach’s members have access to the cooperative’s cupping laboratory, processing mill, and storage facility. These commercialization services, coupled with contract negotiation, help producers obtain better prices for their coffee. In addition to highly integrated rural livelihoods services, Cesmach promotes the well being of members and their families who often lack access to health information and services. For the past five years Cesmach has worked alongside two other cooperatives and Grounds for Health to implement an innovative cervical cancer detection program that trains community “health promoters” to educate their neighbors and promote screening for early detection.
Conserva is a nonprofit microfinance institution (MFI) in Mexico that is committed to providing microentrepreneurs living in poverty with access to small working capital loans alongside basic health services. With a small average loan size and a group lending methodology, Conserva targets predominantly women living in rural, urban, and peri-urban areas.
Conserva’s health service offerings address three health conditions that are prevalent in their regions of operation: cervical cancer, breast cancer and vision impairment. By negotiating innovative alliances with third party health providers, Conserva is able to offer its clients deeply discounted rates on cervical and breast cancer screening as well as free optical exams and access to affordable eye glasses. If further care is required Conserva offers accompaniment, either referring eligible clients to government service providers or helping pay for private treatment.Visit Website
Pro Mujer is a development and microfinance institution (MFI) that is dedicated to providing Latin America’s low income women with the means to build their own livelihoods through the provision of microfinance, business training, and health services. Pro Mujer has several branches throughout the region; Global Partnerships is currently partners with Pro Mujer branches in Bolivia, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru.
Pro Mujer provides credit to its clients primarily through group-based, village bank loans, which promote solidarity, discourage delinquency and eliminate the need for borrowers to have collateral.
Pro Mujer has been a pioneer in leveraging the existing microfinance channel to deliver its nonfinancial services. For example, Pro Mujer capitalizes on cross-trained credit officers to deliver preventive health education during village bank meetings, thereby reaching more people while keeping costs low. Pro Mujer’s health services include health education, basic screening for chronic disease and access to primary healthcare consults. Topics covered during education sessions include breast and cervical cancer, diabetes, hypertension and depression. Screening services provided cover conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Notably, Pro Mujer in Nicaragua (PMN) is part of GP’s Health Services Fund, a technical assistance and grant-based fund that invests in the design, start-up and scale-up of market-sustained health services delivered by MFIs and cooperatives. Working together, GP and PMN have designed an integrated health services model, whose early success has influenced the strategic direction of Pro Mujer’s health services program throughout its network.
Vision Fund Mexico is a microfinance organization that works principally in rural and semi-urban areas, making village bank and solidarity group loans to poor women and agricultural producers. The organization is unique due to its affiliation with the World Vision network, which supports its commitment to providing high-quality, affordable services to the poor. Operating in Mexico, where both interest rates and client over indebtedness are high, the MFI has distinguished itself through sub-market interest rates and more recently an integrated approach.
As an affiliate of World Vision, Vision Fund Mexico was founded to provide financial services in the Program Development Areas (PDAs) where the organization runs various humanitarian projects. However, in recent years, Vision Fund Mexico has launched its own education program that aims to develop businesses, reduce poverty and improve living conditions for families and their communities.
The organization takes advantage of village banks’ monthly payment meetings to administer the curriculum, which is based on the Freedom from Hunger methodology. Topics include debt management, savings, and budgeting. In addition to basic financial literacy, the MFI offers more advanced training in microenterprise business that targets prospective clients. Finally as part of its on-going innovation efforts, Vision Fund Mexico has launched technical assistance and commercialization services that help clients strengthen their products and access markets. One such commercialization service is the online store that Vision Fund Mexico launched which features artisanal goods made by its clients.Visit Website