Microfinance Brigades at Emory University
Global Brigades is the world’s largest student-led health and sustainable development organization with varied membership that spans North American and European universities. Through Global Brigades, student and professional volunteers empower communities in developing countries with sustainable solutions that improve quality of life and environment, while respecting local culture. Since 2004, more than 30,000 volunteers from over 800 university clubs have traveled to provide health and economic development solutions to more than 600,000 beneficiaries in Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, and Ghana.
Volunteers on a Microfinance Brigade spend seven days in a rural Central America or Ghana providing financial literacy workshops and consultation to rural community banks. Throughout the brigade, volunteers divide into groups where they visit several families in their homes. During the community visits, volunteers develop an understanding of the families’ ways of life, aspirations, and financial literacy. Following the visits, volunteers discuss their recommendations to the Caja on how they can improve their operations based on the information that was collected during the house visits. Additionally, students hold educational workshops with community members about the Caja Rural focused on topics such as budgeting, savings incentives programs, and loans. At the end of week, students determine how they will allocate their project fund, whether it may be to an individual family or a lump sum donated to the Caja.
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