For any employee at Alalay sa Kaunlaran (ASKI) field partner, business and community development programs are seen as crucial in offering a holistic approach to serving the people of Luzon province in Northern Philippines. ASKI combines a variety of non-financial services with lending that is enhancing the technical, operational and strategic skills of clients – helping them to achieve financial and personal growth.

This three-pronged method to honing client skills has led to ASKI’s impressive client retention and portfolio quality statistics. From interviews with borrowers in the field, clients emphasized the importance of these non-financial services in maintaining their businesses. This in turn yields higher disposable income, further employment opportunities for others culminating in personal growth and increased self-confidence of the entrepreneur.

To train entrepreneurs on the technical aspects of their business, ASKI loan officers are often graduates in agriculture, engineering or finance, equipped to dispense advice on a range of business issues that clients face. Best practices on farming techniques, crop selection and land management methods through adverse weather are just some of the technical expertise loan officers avail to borrowers. Through education, experience and creativity in responding to changing conditions, borrowers are supplied with the technical tools to succeed in their businesses.

Operationally, ASKI encourages its clients to attend regular training events in financial management. Financial education seminars help clients manage their earnings, budget spending and plan for the future with regards to borrowing and allocating savings. These programs, organized by local government bodies and other private institutions facilitate networking between borrowers for knowledge sharing. Sunday bible-sharing sessions often accompanied by ASKI employees can act as regular discussion forums and nurture solidarity between group loan members.

For loyal clients of ASKI who have seen success in their business through numerous loans, strategic training has been made available to graduate them to medium size enterprises. With accumulated savings, professional experience and high entrepreneurial spirit from several years of reinvesting ASKI loans in their micro businesses, these seasoned clients seek different types of assistance. Proposal writing for negotiating with local authorities and industry-specific training help out clients at the more mature levels of the business cycle. Please follow the remarkable journey of Consuelo Valenzuela, an ASKI client who through business development services now employs over 100 workers.

With ASKI’s business development services, clients are reaping personal growth benefits as well as financial improvements through education, mentoring and networking. The success of these non-financial services has contributed towards ASKI’s excellent retention rates and high quality loan portfolio driving the potential for more branch openings, expanded products and services and crucially, lower interest rates. Please join me in lending to an ASKI borrower today! You loan will change lives!

For more information on all of ASKI’s business and community development services, please visit the ASKI Foundation website here

Vishnu Hariharan is a Kiva Fellow (KF10) working with ASKI in Cabanatuan City, Philippines. Please click the links for info on ASKI field partner page & how to join the lending team.


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