Cablegate: S/Gwi Project Proposal - Chile: Empowering Women Through
DE RUEHSG #0232/01 0501508
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 191415Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0920
INFO RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
UNCLAS SANTIAGO 000232
STATE FOR S/GWI
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KWMN PREL KPAO AID CDC COM TRSY
SUBJECT: S/GWI Project Proposal - Chile: Empowering Women through
Business Management and Leadership Skills
REF: 09 STATE 132094
1. Mission Santiago enthusiastically nominates Fondo
Esperanza (FE), a Chilean NGO that specializes in microfinance, for
a grant in the amount of $99,069 from the Secretary's Office of
Global Women's Issues (S/GWI) (see REF). The project aims to: 1)
empower women and promote entrepreneurship through management and
leadership training in line with FE's village bank model and 2)
create a website that allows for continuous tracking and education
of members and provides a direct line of communication to and among
FE beneficiaries. Upon completion of the 18-month project, FE will
submit three reports to assess its impact: 1) an analysis of skills
taught and developed in the seminars; 2) results of seminar
attendance and satisfaction of participants; 3) evaluation of the
overall project from operational management reports, FE's annual
report, and audit of webpage visits. Post will partner with FE to
review the reports.
2. Although arguably Latin America's most developed country,
growth in Chile has not filtered down to many sectors of Chilean
society, particularly to women. In fact, Chile remains one of
Latin America's most unequal societies in terms of income
distribution, despite having an open economy and embracing
globalization. This is one reason that Chile belongs to the
Pathways to Prosperity Initiative. Mission Santiago looks forward
to facilitating a relationship between members of FE and Chilean
Pathways participants to share best practices, provide mentoring
opportunities, and lend general support. This relationship will
help ensure program sustainability.
3. Mission Santiago is confident in FE's ability to carry out
the following project. The Public Affairs Section accepts
responsibility for project and financial oversight and for project
monitoring and evaluation.
4. PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
This project builds upon a successful pilot program FE recently
completed and involves three main activities: training seminars for
village bank Education Delegates and Directors; accounting
notebooks for all village bank members; and a member webpage.
The program will last 18 months and reach upwards of 40,000
households. It will be implemented in 11 of Chile's 15 regions and
will utilize the skills of FE's team of integrated microfinance
coordinators. Each coordinator will facilitate seminars in his or
her area. Comunidad Mujer, a Chilean NGO dedicated to helping
women in the workplace, will assist in designing workshops and
training the seminar instructors.
The proposal's reach is significant: each village bank will
receive intensive training and each bank member will receive a
notebook to assist in accounting for loans and expenses. Because
FE works throughout Chile, the project's impact would be felt
across the country.
Emboffs were extremely impressed with the organization's
commitment, dedication, and its ability to carry out this project.
FE will complement any S/GWI grant with significant personnel and
other resources (see budget at end of cable).
5. ACTIVITY 1: Workshops on basic accounting skills
During the first seminar, participants will learn basic
accounting skills, including the importance of recording all income
and business expenses. They will also be trained in the use of a
specially-designed notebook as an accounting tool. To transfer
this information to the rest of the village bank, the Delegates
will be given a notebook for each of their colleagues (production
costs for 39,000 notebooks are included in the project budget).
They must then repeat the lessons learned and give a follow-up
report to FE.
If selected for the S/GWI Small Grants Initiative, FE will print
the State Department's seal on the front cover of the notebooks.
The notebook prototype was well executed and user-friendly. The
notebook will provide organization members with an easy means to
track expenses and profits, thereby advancing long-term
sustainability and success.
There will be two days of training, one per semester, in each FE
office. The seminars will cover business growth, the role of the
Education Delegate, and the importance of microenterprise as a
poverty reduction strategy. Comunidad Mujer will assist in
designing workshops that target these issues from a gendered
perspective. Each seminar will reach approximately 1,700 female
members. All of FE's 37,300 members will be reached when the
Education Delegates repeat the training at their respective village
6. ACTIVITY 2: Workshops on evaluating loan applications and
lowering default risks
To achieve more effective delivery services, FE will train
village bank executive committee members in finance and credit
assessment, giving them the ability to properly assess new members
and loan requests.
FE will hold a seminar for 800 village bank Directors on
evaluating credit. The seminar will cover three main themes: 1)
effective leadership skills; 2) financial education and the
components of a loan, understanding what a credit committee does,
the role of Education Delegates on the credit committee, and
financial tools to evaluate a loan, and 3) management and conflict
resolution. Participants will then incorporate the basic concepts
of financial education into their respective village banks by the
end of 2011.
A second seminar, also reaching 800 village bank Directors, will
cover monitoring and evaluation of credit and loans. The seminar
will address how to write and create a budget that justifies a
loan; monitoring and collection; tools to obtain repayment; dealing
with conflict; and effective negotiation techniques.
To complement and follow-up on the implementation of the skills
taught at the seminars, education sessions will be included for the
entire village bank. The sessions will be taught by the Executive
Committee so that each member of the village bank is aware of his
or her responsibility, and together with the Executive Committee,
is made accountable for the decisions of the credit committee.
7. ACTIVITY 3: Member Webpage
FE will train at least one member of each village bank in digital
literacy during 2010. The seminar will teach participants how to
use the internet, e-mail, and FE's members' webpage. (FE reports
that at least one member of each village bank has internet access
through a family member, friend, neighbor, or community
A members' webpage will improve village banks' ability to buy and
sell through virtual channels, keep accurate records, communicate
with FE staff, and take advantage of opportunities for training
The website also will allow for monitoring and follow-up to the
training process of members from past seminars.
This activity has three main objectives: 1) design a webpage that
allows FE members to create networks and communicate relevant
skills; 2) generate a tool that allows members to practice concepts
learned from digital literacy courses; 3) empower the Executive
Committee and the Education Delegates in their work, considering
them the main users of this space.
8. PROJECT BUDGET:
Education Materials: State Department Contribution: $8,788.
(Village Bank Notebook to track Repayments and Attendance: 800
Village Banks x 3 notebooks per year).
Production of a Financial Register Notebook: State Department
Contribution: $35,702. (39,000 units, one for each member of FE;
designed by FE).
Food and beverages for workshops: State Department Contribution:
$6,408. (4 seminars with 5,200 participants in total).
Design, development and maintenance of Website: State Department
Contribution: $1,483; FE Contribution: $2,405. (Server and
maintenance will be provided by FE).
Misc. materials for workshops: State Department Contribution:
$7,873. (Data, photocopies, notebooks, folders, pencils, etc.).
Salaries of workshop instructors: State Department Contribution:
$14,647; FE Contribution: $14,647. (5 instructors, 104 seminars).
Design of workshop contents and instructors' training: State
Department Contribution: $9,154.
Project monitoring and supervision costs: State Department
FE Contribution: $154,482. (Loan officers in field during 18
Transport of workshop instructors: State Department Contribution:
Workshop room rental: State Department Contribution: $9,521
Project Evaluation: State Department Contribution: $0; FE
Administrative Costs: State Department Contribution: $0; FE
(General management, operation management, administrative support,
and office materials).
Miscellaneous Expenses: State Department Contribution: $1,831.
Transport of management team to sites: State Department
FE Contribution: $549.
TOTAL STATE DEPARTMENT CONTRIBUTION: $99,069
*$1 US= $546.18 Chilean Pesos (02/05/2010)
9. BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT FONDO ESPERANZA (FE):
FE is well-established in Chile. With over 30,000 members
(clients/loan recipients) belonging to 1,600 village banks in 116
communities, FE works "to create development opportunities for the
continuous improvement of living standards in the poorest
communities of Chile through the efficient delivery of integral
microfinance services." While FE is not necessarily a women's
organization, almost 90% of its members are women and the program's
primary beneficiaries are women and female-headed households. In
addition, FE will work with Comunidad Mujer, a well respected NGO
dedicated to helping women in the workplace, on this project.
FE's micro-credit programs work: 91% of participants report
feeling more financially secure as a result of the program and
their household per capita income has risen, on average, by 40%
after two years. FE is considered a model in the region when it
comes to education and microfinance programs. The group recently
hosted Nuestras Huellas, an Argentine NGO, to share experiences and
improve Nuestras Huellas' operating capacity. Funding FE's project
will allow the group to build upon its institutional capacity and
serve as even more of a model for other countries in the region.