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News tagged as "post-conflict states"
March 14, 2013

Building trust: a basic asset to the community. A role to be played by NGO’s

Tags: microcredit, Angola, post-conflict states, trust | by Ana Fonseca- Habitafrica National Coordinator, Angola, Cristina Navarrete- Project Technician at Habitafrica and Jose Maria Malletan Perez- quality control and systems department at Habitafrica

The community, its basic habitat environment that feeds society, is its basic pillar and its main asset.

It is in these terms that we made a presentation at the Microcredit world Summit held in Valladolid in 2011. At that point in time, the Spanish risk premium was starting to be noticed and its consequences felt; this reality is much more present in countries were NGO's are working, in places that are affected by political instability, war conflicts, natural calamities and many more other situations that perpetuate them in being underdeveloped.

It is in this reality where the NGO's intervene, by promoting the training of men and women, improving the capacity of the youth, supporting the construction of infrastructure, developing community networks as well as supporting the economic and financial strengthening. In all our interventions we should start from a basic element: planning, the organisation of material and human resources in order to achieve objectives that will allow the communities own development.

Land use Management and Town Planning are our organisation main expertise. Nevertheless we also implement rotational funds actions, managed by the organisations that we collaborate with. We work together with regulated Microfinance Institutions organisations that manage and strengthen the funds to empower the community development. Therefore, our main aim is to build a basic environment from where the community can develop on its own.

In this work philosophy, the development of a microfinance environment is a key element to promote and finance the needed actions. On this line of work, firstly, our aim is to help communities to build trustful relationships within themselves  – in several cases affected either by war or displaced, as it happens in Angola or Mozambique; in other cases that have limited access to resources as Senegal, Mali or Niger; or, in other environments or societies that are more developed like in Morocco, but also affected by poverty.

After that trust is built, we aim for the creation, grow and strengthening of habits, know-how and knowledge – educating the society on how to handle financial tools, contemplating either credit and saving tools. Our goal in these places is not the construction of large volume portfolio micro-finance entities, nor looking at large economic efficiency ratios, but we aim to create a secure environment to live in, to work in, with its education, health, as well as with production and exchange of goods and services as basic livelihood elements.

In order to be able to continue with production and basic trade activities, financial support is needed, but in environments where they are at risk and in an unpredictable state, micro financing solutions do not seem to guarantee, initially, the implementation of a sustainable microfinance entity, but the establishment of rotational funds would have a guarantee, where the main guarantee is the community itself and its trust on it.

In this regard, the work and role that social agents play is crucial. The social agents should play the role of a “credit agent” in its initial status, with low number of clients, since the main efforts should be to promote and establish trust among community inhabitants. They should also train them in new saving and credit habits, as well as favour their social and personal growth, so that in this way it can enable the economic development of their family units, that would eventually in the future promote the development of their communities and cities. They would be the main engines of this development economies and later evolving into emerging and self-reliant economies.

We would like to highlight as a case study the Damba Maria Neighbourhood, in the city of Benguela, Angola. Habitafrica foundation has been working in this neighbourhood almost 10 years, since the civil war ended. In an environment with displaced people, we have promoted land use management, education and economic development services, through social agents that have implemented microcredit activities among economic entities in the neighbourhood, with a refund rate of more than 98%. At this point in time, it is being moved to the community perusing its economic sustainability.



Small trade stalls at a informal market in the Damba Maria Neighborhood- Benguela


This would be the reality that we would like to highlight, that working in small micro-economic sectors we can promote the creation of a basic asset in any type of economy, and the trust of their inhabitants, that would favour the inhabitants social development in developing countries and of the less favoured or excluded communities in more developed economic   sectors, with the aim of becoming self-reliant in every aspect, including the economic one.

Initiative financed by: Initiative financed by AECID
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