Trash Talk

17 November 2010 at 08:00 5 comments

By Rachel Gittinger, KF13, Costa Rica

Every MFI offers credit in the form of micro-loans.  It is, after all, the point of their existence.  However, many institutions, including Fundación Mujer, offer an array of other services as well.  These “wraparound” services can include anything from doctor’s visits to funeral insurance.  At the Fundación, they take the form of several capacity building activities. Courses cover a variety of topics; cooking, jam making, giving haircuts and manicures, developing viable business plans and adequately pricing services, just to name a few.

With the Christmas season approaching, popular courses have become those of “manualidades” or crafts. Here at the Fundación there is a green twist.  The lobby serves as a recycling center for everything from papers to tin cans and glass bottles.  Through the recycling courses, cereal boxes become gift bags, tin cans and glass bottles beautiful Christmas arrangements, newspaper morphs into elaborately woven baskets and discarded plastic becomes a fashionable handbag.  After all, ‘tis the season to turn trash into profit.  The recycling classes have been a huge hit, and now it’s not unusual to see clients or employees picking up trash and stashing it in their purse for future artistic use.  The recycling course has awakened not only the creative nature of many of these women, but their social and environmental consciousness as well.

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The driving force behind these training sessions is Ana Iris, director of training at the Fundación Mujer.   An energetic perfectionist, she is always working to improve the courses offered.  She exudes warmth and commands attention.  Clients love her, and listen intently as she explains fixed vs. variable costs in their business plans.  Ana is passionate as explains the value of “wraparound” services such as these courses.  Not only do these courses offer tangible skills that can be converted into effective micro-businesses, but they are a place for women to congregate and learn from one another, speak honestly, and build supportive friendships.

In the end, it all comes down to this:   Loaning on is a mere $25, but seeing the impact of the financial and additional services offered by Kiva Field Partners is;  you guessed it,  priceless.



Entry filed under: blogsherpa, Costa Rica, Fundacion Mujer, KF13 (Kiva Fellows 13th Class). Tags: , , .

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  • 1. Fehmeen  |  3 January 2011 at 09:06

    I am certainly interested in knowing more about these courses! Will appreciate any contact information.

  • 2. Fehmeen  |  26 November 2010 at 09:28

    I think this project of recycling items can be implemented by non-microfinance programs as well. The items made here are amazing. I wonder if their technique may be shared so others around the world can do the same. Please let me know.

    • 3. Rachel G  |  3 January 2011 at 06:43

      The techniques used here are already being used by many others around the world. For example, at the local Ten Thousand Villages in my hometown, there are products made from rolled paper and plastic bags. It’s just a matter of spreading the word, as well as getting people excited about recycled goods. Let me know if you would like contact information for the instructor of this course.

  • 4. Jerry Harter  |  19 November 2010 at 20:05

    Hey Rachel – This is great. What a good use of trash. Nice slide show too!

  • 5. Antonia - Switzerland  |  17 November 2010 at 12:01

    Rachel – this is wonderful news – the creations are beautiful 🙂
    I’ll watch out for loans from Fundación Mujer in Costa Rica.
    Thanks for posting this.

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