Oikocredit promotes global justice by empowering disadvantaged people with credit. And because women comprise the majority of the world’s poor, Oikocredit places a special emphasis on reaching them.
In the Photo: Vânia Lucia Pereira da Silva (44) is vice president of Oikocredit partner Coopfam, a member of Mobi and a coffee producer of Café Feminino. Café Feminino is sold at prices 10% more expensive than normal organic coffee. This 10% is paid directly to the Mobi group. “The women in Mobi want to do more than just take care of the children and the house; they want to play their part in production and have their voices heard around the world,” says Vânia.
The microfinance institutions and agricultural organizations in which Oikocredit invests have demonstrated a unique ability to reach poor women and to provide the kinds of services they need most.
The Multiplier Effect
For example, providing credit to women has a multiplier effect on society. Women who are able to generate their own income not only can support their families but also enhance their communities—providing housing, sanitary facilities, health and food services. When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man. (Source: “Women’s Rights Vital for Developing World,” The Girl Effect.)
An example of this multiplier effect in one community is Cocovico in Côte d’Ivoire. Cocovico is a cooperative of 200 women food crop vendors. In 2008, Cocovico built and opened a new marketplace that expanded the co-op’s reach and multiplied its benefits significantly. The marketplace includes a health center and access to food for almost 10,000 nearby families while attracting 5,000 traders.