Nestled in the northern city of Ibarra, a new Kiva partner, CACMU (Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito Mujeres Unidas), offers an impressive line of products to the community. The result of 3 organizations coming together 14 years ago, CACMU now offers financial services all over northern Ecuador.

I recently joined CACMU in Ibarra, and have witnessed firsthand their dedication to their social mission. To reach clients in impoverished, rural communities, they created a “servimovil” roving branch office, which visits a different town each day. For borrowers who have poor credit, they offer micro-loans designed to boost credit scores and teach saving habits.

Now, with Kiva funding, CACMU is extending its innovative work with vulnerable groups, offering additional loans with more favorable terms, to underserved communities. In an impressive new partnership, CACMU will work with the local judiciary (Consejo de la Judicatura) and women’s groups to offer victims of domestic violence small loans to get back on their feet and achieve financial independence.

"United to end violence against women"

CACMU’s new loans are available to entrepreneurial women referred by the local government and women’s groups. These loans will serve as a step toward financial self-sufficiency, complementing counseling and support services provided by local nonprofits specializing in domestic violence recovery.

In one of the highlights of my fellowship, I recently attended the official launch of this new product at a ceremony on the Day Against Gender Violence. The event, featuring speakers from CACMU and the municipal government, as well as music from local musicians, was a great success, and marks the beginning of CACMU’s direct support for victims of domestic violence.

If you'd like to support CACMU’s amazing work, consider joining their Kiva lending team and making a loan today!

"Members of CACMU and the audience gather for light refreshments after the presentation"
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Mark is originally from Phoenix, AZ, but his studies led him to stints in Boston and Madrid. After graduating from Tufts University, he began his career in global business, helping companies navigate unfamiliar markets and do business abroad. Working at the intersection of technology and foreign affairs, Mark served as a product manager, designing software to simplify international business operations in more than 40 countries. Recognizing the power of technology to connect individuals and solve problems at scale, Mark was drawn to Kiva’s microfinance model. Long interested in development issues, he is a believer in the power of markets and innovation to not only alleviate, but eliminate extreme poverty. As a Kiva Fellow, Mark is thrilled to tie together his professional experience and personal passions in support of that goal.